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Peter Kalu by Fereshteh Mozaffari

Poet, author and playwright

Born to a Danish mother and a Nigerian father in Manchester in the 1960s, Pete Kalu grew up in Manchester. In his teens he attended the weekly Piccadilly Radio-hosted New Century Hall’s under 18s disco and, after leaving school, joined a Manchester-based urban circus. While living in Hulme, Manchester, he practised kung fu at Hideaway Youth Centre (including with local legend, youth worker Hartley Hanley), joined the Anti-Apartheid movement and the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party and, in a continuation of his circus skills, busked regularly in the city centre. His short stories can be found in Seaside Special (Yorkshire: Bluemoose 2018), A Country to Call Home (London: Unbound 2018) and Closure (Leeds: Peepal 2015). Pete Kalu cites the following influences on this work: Commedia dell’arte, especially Scaramouche; Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot; Audre Lorde’s biomythography; Zami; Forced Entertainment’s strand of post-dramatic theatre; the theatre of Harold Pinter; crime writer and activist Barbara Neely; the absurdist surrealism of Ishmael Reed; Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay; Bertolt Brecht’s Mr Puntila and his Man Matti; and Samuel Shimon’s An Iraqi in Paris. He also admires the short stories of Leone Ross, Jacob Ross and Irenosen Okojie.