Non-Binary Lives is The Independent’s “Top Pick For Pride Month”

I’m thrilled to announce that my first book chapter has not only been published, but the groundbreaking book “Non-Binary Lives” which collects the stories of non-binary transgender people, has been picked by The Independent as their number one LGBTQ+ book for 2020.

This beautifully curated collection of essays is a welcome tonic in a cultural climate that seems hellbent on misunderstanding and misrepresenting those who do not fall into gender binaries. With a focus on intersections, this anthology specifically aims to examine the ways in which a person’s other identities – such as being a parent, having a faith, being black or having a disability – intersect with their non-binary identity.

Click here to read the full article!

Only in 2020 – on BBC Radio Devon

For the past 14 weeks I have produced a spoken word piece every 2 weeks for Sarah Gosling’s Arts show on BBC Radio Devon. After working with the title “Today’s Calls” for the first 6 pieces, last week I changed to “Only in 2020”, because this year is such a unique one. I think most people will think of their lives in years to come in terms of ‘pre-2020’ and ‘post-2020’. I’m keen to keep representing Devon’s experiences as this unusual and historic year goes on.

Catch the latest piece and interview here:

-Kimwei (he/him)


Pandemic Pieces

Wishing you all as well as you can be wishes in these times of Covid 19 and lockdown.

You’ll find me on BBC Radio Devon, every other Thursday on Sarah Gosling’s Arts show (Evenings on BBC Radio Devon) reading Pandemic inspired poems which honour some of the various varied experiences that we are all having in lockdown – from disconnection to connection, from beauty to loss to joy.

Tune in at BBC Radio Devon’s Listen Live page or listen afterwards from my bandcamp album Pandemic Pieces on BBC Radio Devon

I am currently in Lockdown in Exmouth, Devon, teaching BA and Masters students in Music through AMSonline which has been at the forefront of Higher Education in Music online since 2015. Check out their life-changing courses here


I’m also beginning to provide independent coaching for musicians, writers and creatives through Skype, or for those looking to teach online themselves. Email me to arrange a preliminary call if this interests you.

Watch out for updates on as spoken word events continue to grow and thrive online. Check out the Bard of Exeter What’s On page to find out how you can join in.

Warmest of wishes

-Kimwei (he/him), Grand Bard of Exeter

BBC Home Truths Devon Poem Video!

Each year BBC Local Radio teams up with specially chosen poets to create sparkling new poems for broadcast on National Poetry Day. This year, I was chosen to represent Devon, to write a poem that challenges stereotypes and celebrates the delights of the County.

Because You Invited Me (full version)

by Kimwei McCarthy

Home Truths poem for Devon


Invite me over to your favourite cafe

somewhere on the river Dart

where it trickles between our past and our future,

or invite me to your house

where it rests like a barnacle on a hilltop

near a stone circle

where we shall take tea together.


In ancient times you moved the earth

turning woodland to moorland,

clearing pastures for grazing

just so you could live together,

allowing the wildness of gorse and heather

to care for itself

whilst caring for you.


Then, you stopped being so careful

and began building cities,

cutting through this county,

cutting through each other with big ideas

until you were burning and hanging women,


Now you are sorry

and honour those killed

and welcome magic back

and remember who you were before that all started

with every moment that you invite me in.


Bring out your finest china

and tell me the story of an outcast wife

who won back her family

by returning from exile

with the secret of clotted cream –

tell me to remind me that this place is my home,

as you take up the butter-knife,

spread a cloud on a scone,

place it in my hand.

I hold it up to the window,

so it seems to twin a cloud in the sky

and I think how similar two things can be and how different

and yet how right they can look next to each other.

How startling it is when we can belong together

because you invited me.

Fund Kimwei to Protest for Climate Justice!

I’m Kimwei and I’m The Grand Bard of Exeter – I have taken an oath to the land and the people and I’m asking for your support to go to London this October, to protest to protect our home, the earth. If you believe in me and are willing to support me and the work I’m doing in protesting, please donate here!!!!!!!!!!

As a musician and poet, I can bring a lot to a protest. Leading drumming. Singing with a crowd. Performing music and words. If you offer me financial support, I can do more and more. Together we can make governments listen and act to save our future. We need to act now! Thank you for supporting me and for being a part of this journey.

Why Protest For Climate Justice?
I am totally sure that non-violent protest is now the only way to create the change needed. Although I am a Bard, not a scientist, until a few years ago I lived with one of Exeter Met Office’s Expert Climate Scientists, who also worked as Advisor to The Minister to Climate and through her I learned both that we are in a Climate Emergency, that Governments are not doing enough. Protest is the only way forward. Climatologists in my life, Extinction Rebellion, and my wonderful partner, the science communicator Dr. Emily Grossman, all continue to update me on the latest – the crisis is worse than ever.

Why Do I Need Money?
After performing, drumming and leading drumming in the Extinction Rebellion Spring (XR) demonstrations I discovered that food and tube fares alone can add up to hundreds, as well as other costs*.
I’d encourage anyone with the means to support Climate Justice to donate to XR itself here: … but if you’d specifically like to support ME and the work I’m doing in the protests, it would help me SO MUCH if you would put in some cash to help get me through the October Rebellion (7th-19th) – it would make a huge difference to me.
I’ve estimated a figure based on my costs from the Spring Rebellion, earlier this year, but the more you can donate the better equipped I’ll be and the better a job I can do. If the target is exceeded I can even provide a little for my band of drummers, where needed. Thank you for believing in me and trusting me.

I will post daily updates from London on facebook so you can follow my story.

Lots of love warm wishes (but not 1.5C too warm)
-Kimwei (he/him)

*other costs – breakdown of funds needed and predicted spending available on request.

Home Truths for BBC Devon

I’m thrilled to have been selected as BBC Devon’s Home Truths Poet for National Poetry day this year – Read more on the National Poetry Day Website. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day (October 3rd 2019) I will be writing and performing a poem that represents Devon. There are 13 poets in total and the project aims to give a voice to the true nature of each region. 

Sustainable Future Spoken Word Video, Filmed by XTV

The world is warming, and we are the cause. What can we do? Here are 7 pieces filmed and produced by Molly Clarke and Matthew Haddock for XTV, in which I invite your to explore how we could live to create a more sustainable future in the face of impending climate change.

Stay tuned for my next video – “When I Lived With A Climate Scientist”, to be released by XTV on Saturday June 23rd.

Kimwei is the new Grand Bard of Exeter!

New Bard of Exeter Melanie Crump and Kimwei in his new role as Grand Bard of Exeter
The annual competition for citizens of Exeter to elect their next Bard took place on Sunday 28th April at Exeter Phoenix. Wordsmiths of all kinds competed by delivering a performance of their own work and presenting their vision for the Bardship. Tim King, Peter Roe, Adam Skerrett, Richard Green, James Turner all presented enthralling offerings and the evening concluded with inspirational poet Melanie Crump being appointed as the new Bard. In her Manifesto, Melanie pointed to the underrepresentation of women in spoken word and over the next year she aims to support female artists, as well as putting energy into the existing poetry scene and running educational workshops. Exeter is one of only a small group of cities with the right to appoint a bard, in a tradition that dates back 200 years. The role is kept for one year and a day and the Bard is said to represent the land and the people of the territory.
Kimwei being sworn in as new Grand Bard of Exeter by outgoing Grand Bard Jackie Juno.
To conclude the evening, outgoing Bard Kimwei McCarthy was also awarded the role of Grand Bard by outgoing Grand Bard Jackie Juno. This role is 7 years and Jackie has notably organised the record breaking Grand Witches Tea Party at Rougemont each year under the role. The coming year will tell what Kimwei will do as Grand Bard.

Album Launch Dec 1st, Gallery 36, Exeter!

Songs, stories and verse! What more could you want? Award winning poet Fiona Benson, international storyteller David Healthfield and myself bring you a wondrous night out at Gallery 36. In case that isn’t enough, enjoy all of this whilst surrounded by Veronica Goslings energetic and unique artwork.
This is a Bardic event, showcasing the Bardic arts (songwriting, storytelling and poetry) whilst doubling as the launch of my long awaited album “Nothing’s Binary”. You can pre-order the album HERE
Since numbers are limited, please book through Gallery 36 to avoid disappointment :
Tel: 01392 256206
Tickets £7/6
If you do have to cancel, let us know asap so we can offer the space.
Look forward to seeing you there!
Love and light
Singer-songwriter Kimwei brings captivating songs that unravel and bring light to the darkest corners “as though he’s giving each member of the audience an individual hug” – Blue Walnut, Torquay. (Featured on Sky Arts, BBC Radio Devon)
Fiona Benson is an award winning poet who’s work is brave, searing and deeply powerful (Forward Prize 2018, Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize 2015, Radio 4). Watch her read, here: FIONA BENSON
David Heathfield tells stories from around the world transporting us to every country with his warm charm, showing us the joys and sorrows of the human heart.
Kimwei is the Bard of Exeter and presents the evening as part of his mission to bring together the Bardic Arts: Storytelling, Poetry and Song.

Nothing’s Binary Crowdfund COMPLETED!

One thousand pounds you say?! Plus £4 extra for sweets? My word! Thanks so much to my 53 backers for making this happen and to everyone who came forward during the campaign to contribute to the album itself.
I’m proud to announce that the launch will be on Dec 1st at Gallery 36 in Exeter. If you would like a launch to happen nearer you, then message me and invite me to you area for a living room gig!
Andy Howell – Photography and image
Liz Gill – Graphic Design
Martin Griffith – Drums
Billie Bottle – Keyboard and vocals
Fiona Benson – Poem
Greta Stoddart – Poem

If you missed the campaign the album can still be pre-ordered here: PRE-ORDER Nothing’s Binary