Adam Lowe, outside, as photographed by Drew Wilby
Place of birth
Place of residence
National identity
United Kingdom

Adam Lowe

Short biography
Adam Lowe (he/his, mostly) is a writer, performer and publisher from Leeds, UK, though he currently lives in Manchester. He is the UK's LGBT+ History Month Poet Laureate and was Yorkshire's Poet for 2012 . He writes poetry, plays and fiction, and he occasionally performs in drag as Beyonce Holes. He is of Kittitian, British and Irish descent. He graduated with both a BA and MA from the University of Leeds, and is currently researching for a PhD in creative writing at the University of Manchester.

Adam Lowe writes about disability, LGBT+ experiences, and the lives of mixed-race Black British communities. Carol Rumens of The Guardian describes him as a 'versatile and widely published young writer'.

With afshan d'souza lodhi, Adam founded and runs Young Enigma, a writer development project for young writers; is Editor-in-Chief of Vada Magazine and Dog Horn Publishing; and is Publicity Officer for Peepal Tree Press. He has performed around the world, at festivals and conferences, including the Black and Asian Writers Conference. He is an advocate for LGBT+ rights and sits on the management committee for Schools OUT UK, the charity that founded LGBT History Month in the UK. He is chair of Black Gold Arts, which supports artists who are queer, trans and intersex people of colour (QTIPOC) in Greater Manchester.

In 2013, he was announced as one of 10 Black and Asian 'advanced poets' for The Complete Works II (founded by Bernardine Evaristo) with Mona Arshi, Jay Bernard, Kayo Chingoni, Rishi Dastidar, Edward Doegar, Inua Ellams, Sarah Howe, Eileen Pun and Warsan Shire, which resulted in the anthology Ten: The New Wave, edited by Karen McCarthy-Woolf (Bloodaxe). He was mentored on the programme by Patience Agbabi. He also made the list of '20 under 40' writers in Leeds for the LS13 Awards, where Lowe was given as an example of 'the non-conformist and boundary-breaking approach to writing in Leeds'.

In 2022, Adam edited the anthology The World Reimagined, featuring 30 poets writing on the subject of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans. Poets in the anthology included Benjamin Zephaniah, Keisha Thompson, Malika Booker, Dorothea Smartt, Nick Makoha, Tanya Shirley, Khadijah Ibrahiim, Shivanee Ramlochan and Shara McCallum.

Adam is also an alumnus of the Obsidian Foundation, and has taught for The Poetry School, PEN, the University of Leeds and the University of Central Lancashire.

Author photo by Drew Wilby Photographics.

Author events

Adam will be at the agents and editors panel, and Polari Literary Salon, as part of Huddersfield Literature Festival on 25 March 2023.

You can also catch Adam in Trinidad at this year's NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Watch this space for Adam's Patterflash book tour from summer onwards.

Praise for Adam Lowe

‘Adam Lowe’s “Vada That” […] exuberantly resuscitates the now-defunct queer cryptolect Polari to offer a portrait of a “bimbo bit of hard” on the cruise for “trade”’ Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston, The TLS

‘Lowe’s figure [in “Vada That”] is timeless. Intrinsic to his identity is the sense of style as courage, and the language itself operates as a kind of hard, glittering shield. Its effect can be euphemistic, allowing reference to sexual acts which straight society might still consider shocking. But there’s a sassy physicality and comedy in phrases like “tipping the brandy” which the more explicit idioms fail to catch.’ Carol Rumens, The Guardian

'His verse is acrobatic and winking . . . Lowe celebrates acts of protest, whilst attending to the insidious pressures of living as a queer, mixed-race person within an authoritarian climate . . . In the face of it all, these poems rollick across the page, offering elation in their very being.' Annie Hayter, The Big Issue

‘Lowe leads us eloquently through back alleys, back rooms and beyond in this poetic proving of gossip's potential to convey the complexities of human experience. Unabashed and liberated of shame, they bare their joy, pain and desire in all its commingled glory. Playful, powerful, and always honest. A necessary voice that can’t help but be heard in its reading!’ Cheddar Gorgeous

‘Effervescent with verbal velocity, buzzing with innuendo and insight, often pithy, sometimes poignant, Patterflash is a lovesong to language. Adam Lowe switches brilliantly between registers, from Polari to Yorkshire vernacular to everything in between. The effect is thrilling. This unique debut demands a standing ovation. I loved it!’ Patience Agbabi

‘wicked and full of resistance . . . these poems are liberating’ Roy McFarlane

‘[Patterflash is a] collection of ecstatic queer hymns that walk us through Leeds, through Manchester, with the unique language of being young and queer in the north’ Andrew McMillan

‘The magnificence of this stilettoed, melt-on-you-like-molten-butter poem [“Traces of Invasion"] is its crystalline vagueness. It dances on points of suspension, smears fuck-you messages in lipstick on vanity mirrors, and asks you to fill in the blanks.’ Shivanee Ramlochan, Novel Niche

‘A formal rigour to the (generally 3 line verse) structure of these poems holds the ring as the poems sing & dance of nightclub life, protest demos, the fizz of new relationships, the seduction of the devil, a reworking of a Saphho poem; there is a touch of Anthony Burgess in the Polari* language of “Vada That”; these shimmering lines are a burst of bling, in a classical shell. For all that joy, there is a restlessness within the verse, a wrestling with borders and a lust for connection. Smart poems, they exult and glow.’ Peter Kalu, The Commonword Review

‘Adam Lowe also merges the then with the now, reworking Sappho, stories from the Bible and Babylon seamlessly, in subversive narratives, claiming them as personal and political points of protest.’ Sohini Basak, Sabotage Reviews

‘Kennaway’s métier is reinvented in Adam Lowe’s fine poem of restorative commemoration, “Bone Railroad”’ Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times

‘I am in awe of “Boy-Machine”, I was tipping towards the edge of my chair willing this brave soul’s flight to end in a more satisfying outcome than Icarus'. The storytelling is breathtaking, I could feel my bones consulting with my DNA to negotiate if I could grow wings for a brief moment. My bones settled for a re-reading.’ Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, Safiya in Wonderland