Ysra Daley-Ward was born to a Jamaican mother and Nigerian father in Chorley in Northern England, where she grew up with her grandparents, who were devout Seventh-day Adventists. In her late teens and early 20s she was a model, "struggling to pay her rent in London, working for brands such as Apple, Topshop, Estée Lauder and Nike." In search of better opportunities, she found the money for a ticket to South Africa, where she eventually lived for three years, and has said: "The thing that attracted me to South Africa was that the models look like me and there's so much more diversity". In her mid-20s, Daley-Ward began to perform and get recognized for her poetry in Cape Town, South Africa, while also working as a model. Not long after returning to London in 2012, she was invited back to South Africa to work alongside the British Council headlining two poetry festivals in Johannesburg. She was then listed as one of the top five writers to watch for by Company Magazine. Daley-Ward is known for her short poems on topics such as identity, race, mental health, and femininity. Her debut book, Bone, has been described by Hanif Abdurraqib in The Atlantic as an "impressive debut" that "honestly excavates a writer’s life, not simply presenting pain, but also showing an individual working through it." While she is now better known for her poetry, both written and spoken, before releasing Bone in 2014, she released a book of short stories entitled On Snakes and Other Stories in 2013. In 2018 she will release her new book The Terrible. Daley-Ward also made an appearance in a TEDx Talk conference with her talk Your Stories and You.