Arji Manuelpillai is a poet, performer and creative facilitator based in London. He was the Jerwood/Arvon Mentee mentored by Hannah Lowe. His poetry has been published in magazines including Poetry Review, The Rialto and Bath Magg. He has also been shortlisted for many prizes including The National Poetry Prize 2021, The Out-Spoken Prize and The Winchester Prize 2021. Arji’s debut pamphlet Mutton Rolls was published with Out-Spoken Press in 2020 and his newest book Improvised Explosive Device was released in the Autumn of 2022 with Penned in the Margins. This highly acclaimed book was noted in The Telegraph’s Top 20 poetry books of the year, as well as in The Guardian’s best recent poetry section. It was also the Winter PBS selection.
For over 15 years Arji has worked with community arts projects nationally and internationally. This has given him the privilege of working with some of the world’s most interesting people. In everywhere from prisons and Immigration Removal centres to schools and youth clubs, Arji has continued to push creativity and self-expression.
In recent years he has worked for organisations including The Young Vic, The Southbank Centre, The Barbican and The Roundhouse. Arji’s strengths lie in his ability to connect with people from all walks of life, to empathise and build lasting bonds.
Arji prides himself on his ability to inspire and encourage self-expression using an array of games and exercises built up over years working with Drama, Storytelling, Music and Creative writing.