Place of residence
National identity
United Kingdom

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Short biography
Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a Ghanaian-British writer and editor who has won acclaim as a children's author, poet, broadcaster and novelist. Winner of multiple international awards including the ACRAG award, his novel Tail of the Blue Bird won France's two major prizes for translated fiction – Prix Baudelaire and Prix Laure Bataillon – in 2014. Nii Ayikwei is the founder of flipped eye publishing, a leading small press, serves on the boards of World Literature Today and the AKO Caine Prize, and was chair of judges for the 2020 Commonwealth Prize. Currently Producer of Literature and Talks at Brighton Festival, he is the author of two collections of poetry The Makings of You (2010) and The Geez (2020), both published by Peepal Tree Press.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes is an author and performance poet who has performed on major stages across the world, including at The Royal Festival Hall and at a reading for the London Mayor’s vigil on July 14, 2005 (in response to the London bombings).

He is the author of the poetry chapbooks: eyes of a boy, lips of a man (1999), M is for Madrigal (2004), a selection of seven jazz poems and Ballast (2009), an imagination of the slave trade by balloon. His poem, Tin Roof, was selected for the 'Poems on the Underground' initiative in 2007 and his novel, Tail of the Blue Bird (Jonathan Cape, 2009) has been hailed by the Financial Times as 'a beautifully written fable... simple in form, but grappling with urgent issues.' Nii is the Senior Editor at flipped eye publishing, a contributing editor to The Liberal, a former poet in residence at The Poetry Café, a 2005 associate writer in residence on BBC Radio 3, and has held visiting positions at the University of Southampton and California State University. 

As a socio-cultural commentator and advocate for African writing, Nii has led forums internationally, has sat on discussion panels for BBC Radio with literary heavyweights such as Booker winners, Margaret Atwood and A.S. Byatt, and he runs the African Writers’ Evening series, at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden.

In 2007 he was awarded Ghana’s National ACRAG award for poetry and literary advocacy.