Victoria Adukwei Bulley


The Judges said:

Quiet impresses with its strength and power, its ingenious investigation of inner life, the tensions and surprises within. The book’s quiet balance shook us to the core.

Victoria Adukwei Bulley’s debut poetry collection circles around ideas of black interiority, intimacy and selfhood, playing at the the tensions between the impulse to guard one’s ‘inner life’ and the knowledge that, as Audre Lorde writes, ‘your silence will not protect you’.

Published by Faber & Faber

Buy here

Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a poet, writer and artist. An alumna of the Barbican Young Poets and recipient of an Eric Gregory award, Victoria has held residencies in the US, Brazil and the V&A Museum in London. Her debut pamphlet, Girl B, was published by the African Poetry Book Fund in 2017. She is the recipient of a Techne scholarship for doctoral research at Royal Holloway, University of London. Quiet is her debut collection and was also shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize.


Five Questions for Victoria Adukwei Bulley


At what age did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I didn’t really know that being a writer was an option, or what that looked like in reality, maybe because I didn’t know any writers or anybody who knew one – so I never decided upon being one. I’m still realising that it’s possible even now. Before I could write I would tell stories. I have a tape recording of myself (made by my mother and sister) making up stories at about the age of three.

What three books would you take to your Desert Island?

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, 1965-2010

The Bible, Qu’ran or another ancient text of similar length

What is your ‘if you don’t like this, you can’t be my friend’ book?

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Who or what have been your most important influences?

Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, Aracelis Girmay, Virginia Woolf, Radiohead, Mazzy Star.

Which of the other Rathbones Folio Prize shortlisted titles are you most excited to read?

Cane, Corn & Gully as I love the fluidity of what Safiya is doing with dance and poetry. I’ve loved reading Constructing A Nervous System, and I adore Zaffar Kunial’s work too. I have also been meaning to read work by both Sheila Heti and NoViolet Bulawayo for some time now.

Victoria Adukwei Bulley