LONDON poet, rapper, playwright and performance artist Kate Tempest will perform her poetry at Pocklington Arts Centre on October 21, buoyed by her nomination for the 2014 Barclays Mercury Music Prize for her hip-hop album Everybody Down and her naming as one of the next generation poets by the Poetry Book Society.

Tempest's Pocklington debut coincides with this month's publication of her new poetry collection, Hold Your Own, by Picador. It comes on the back of her becoming the first writer aged under 40 to win the Ted Hughes Award for innovation in poetry last year for her epic narrative poem Brand New Ancients, a story of the lives and loves of two families, underpinned by myths from the classical world.

"I'll be on tour for about a month reading from the new collection and it'll be the first time I've done a comprehensive poetry tour," says Kate, who visited Yorkshire in February to perform her "everyday epic", Brand New Ancients, in a combination of storytelling, poetry and rapping, accompanied by a live orchestra at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.

"That show was a story that I performed with a score for a cello, tuba, violins and drums, presented as a theatrical piece where I'd talk to the audience and then it would go into the Brand New Ancients' tales, interspersed with music. The new show will be much more low-key; no set, no lighting, no musical score, just me, but hopefully that's enough."

Kate, 28, was born in South-East London, where she still lives, and she started out as a rapper on the London battles scene, then toured the spoken-word circuit and began writing for theatre in 2012.

Her past work includes Balance, an album recorded with her band Sound Of Rum; Everything Speaks In Its Own Way, a collection of poems published on her own imprint Zingaro; GlassHouse, a forum theatre piece for Cardboard Citizens; and the plays Wasted and Hopelessly Devoted for Paines Plough.

She has written poems for Barnardo’s, the BBC, Amnesty International and the Royal Shakespeare Company; toured with punk poet John Cooper Clarke and Barking troubadour Billy Bragg; and she has twice won the poetry slam at the Nu-Yorican poetry café in New York.

Add to that list her debut solo album, Everybody Down, released in May with its hip-hop story of three characters facing up to loneliness in the big city, and the picture emerges of a diverse, fluid writer and performer, who is spreading her wings anew by doing her poetry-reading tour.

"I'm just trying to grow as an artist , and performing is a really important part of what I do," says Kate. "I've always been ready to explore the different aspects of my creative personality.

"Brand New Ancients was challenging and quite a strain as I'd never been trained in theatre performance. It was the prospect of knowing that I had a 75-minute tale that I could not diverge from; and there was pressure I felt like I'd never felt elsewhere, when normally in other performances I have the ability to go anywhere."

She can do that in Pocklington gig.

"Doing a conventional poetry reading is not conventional for me, but I hope it will be a new and fresh experience for audiences who are used to going to a poetry show and for a new audience going to one for the first time," says Kate.

"The performance poetry scene that I came out of is very different to this one, which is usually targetting a different audience, so I'm really excited about how these two worlds will interact with each other."

Whatever the performance, be it a theatre piece, a concert with her band, or a poetry reading, Kate "relishes language".

"I really enjoy hearing words. When I'm recording myself, reading out a sentence, I look for the the full weight of the words," she says.

"We can express ourselves in the most beautiful ways and we resort to such language for our most heightened emotions. I often think that until you read out a poem, you miss things as it's a sung language."

Kate revels in wordplay, too.

"I don't limit myself to enjoying certain schools of writing; I come to all texts on my own terms," she says. "William Blake cuts me to the core, and it's the same with James Joyce; I couldn't believe how he wrote. It was the same when listening to Wu-Tang Clan at 14; I'd never heard language like that in storytelling."

Storytelling is at the heart of Kate's work. "When I began writing, I was just talking about my own experiences, but then I realised, through getting into writing for theatre, there was such power in narrative language, and storytelling is the most powerful way we put language together," she says. "Everyone loves stories, so I want to keep telling stories. The old singers, like Bill Withers, they can take you there with a story."

Kate has so much more she wants to express, "though I don't have the skills yet". "Hopefully this will be the beginning of a long journey," she says. "None of it has been planned..."

Kate Tempest, Pocklington Arts Centre, October 21, 7.30pm. Tickets: £14 or £12.50 on 01759 301547 or at