George the Poet: ‘Who would play me in the film of my life? Me’

Born George Mpanga in London, George the Poet, 30, studied politics, psychology and sociology at the University of Cambridge. He hosts Have You Heard George’s Podcast? and has created a sonnet entitled Natural Poetry, for Samsung KX’s Wild Writing campaign. He is engaged and lives in London.

What is your greatest fear?
That I will run out of time to do whatever I was put here for.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Jay-Z, because he is a poet like me, and he taught me and millions of others how to take your life story, with all its warts and flaws, and convert it into something beautiful.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I can be obsessive.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I don’t like self-centredness.

What is your most treasured possession?
My journal.

What would your superpower be?
The power of persuasion.

What makes you unhappy?
When I see people living lives that they didn’t want for themselves.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
No one could do a better job than me.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Over-explaining myself because it sounds as if I think I am smarter than everyone else sometimes.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
A YouTube reality show called Blue Therapy. It’s about dysfunctional couples; there was something so infuriating about some of the characters, I just had to keep going back.

What is your favourite word?
Gratitude.

Which book changed your life?
The Harry Potter series. It’s embedded so deep that whenever I am trying to express wonderment and unbridled imagination, I angle towards what I experienced when I first read it in childhood.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A recording artist.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
When I was applying to university, I was told: “You’re punching above your weight.”

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Selling club tickets in Leicester Square: I was useless.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To the Buganda kingdom circa 1860. My parents were born in Uganda and got here in the 80s. The earliest account of Ugandan society was through the eyes of a western explorer in the 1870s, and I just wonder what I would have observed without that lens.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time when I was a teenager in my area in London.

How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who helped people unlock their potential.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Everything happens for a reason.

Where would you most like to be right now?
I would like to be outside; it’s a beautiful day.

Tell us a secret
I feel like an impostor a lot of the time.