Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809, the son of poverty-stricken actors. His father died from consumption; soon afterwards, his English mother, who in her time had played Juliet, Ophelia and a range of Shakespearian leading roles, died and left Edgar orphaned before he was three years old. He was taken into the family of John Allan, a tobacco importer, and spent part of his schooldays, which were mostly troubled, in England.
Toni Stuart was born in Cape Town in 1983, and grew up in the city. Her poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Looking Back, Going Forward: Young Voices on Freedom (British Council, STE Publishers, 2004), and In the Heat of Shadows, South African Poetry 1996-2013 (Deep South Publishing). She has been performing her work, both solo and in collaboration with other poets and musicians, since 2003. She was part of the And the Word Was Woman poetry ensemble between 2004 and 2007.