Launched into public consciousness by legendary Radio One DJ John Peel in 1982/83, Attila the Stockbroker has toured the world performing his sharp-tongued, radical social surrealist poetry and songs for 36 years, doing over 3400 gigs in 24 countries and releasing over 40 CDs/LPs/singles, 8 books of poetry and, in 2015 his autobiography ‘Arguments Yard’. At his gigs all over Europe you’ll hear his humourous and hard-hitting take on the momentous events of recent times - and a whole lot more besides, for Attila has developed a deeply personal side to his work alongside the political satire for which he is best known, writing movingly about his family and his recent cancer diagnosis. He’ll be performing poems from his new collection ’Undaunted’– the title says it all – as well as extracts from his recent autobiography ‘Arguments Yard’ (Cherry Red Books). And there will be a few of his songs as well...
Ann Atkins is a poet with a down to earth, relatable take on life, who speaks to the audience with a generous sprinkling of humour. Just into her second year of performing at local open mics such as Pure & Good & Right in Kenilworth, ScriptStuff Leamington and Fire & Dust in Coventry, she will be a featured Poet at Positive Fargo. Ann is appearing at Poetry in The Park.
John Bernard is a Spoken Word Artist based in Coventry whose work examines issues of social commentary, youth empowerment, faith and purpose. The content and delivery of his work is authentically raw and potent. The mission behind his artistry is to provoke positive change through the medium of poetry and instigate dialogue in the matters concerning young people. John will be featuring at the festival with a slot at Poetry in the Park.
In 2016 Russ was a writer in residence for the Concealment and Deception exhibition at Leamington Art Gallery, and winner of the Oriel Davies Gallery prize for best nature poem. The following year he travelled to Ireland as one of two poets selected to represent his home city in a Coventry/Cork Twin Cities exchange project. One of his recent poems is currently being studied in local secondary schools for a reconciliation project on knife crime. Russ has performed at many open mic events and festivals across Coventry and Warwickshire, and further afield at Words and Ears in Bradford-on-Avon, Nantwich Words & Music, Much Wenlock Poetry Festival and A Lovely Word in Liverpool. Russ is appearing at the festival as part of Cov Poets: The Best of Fire & Dust
Matt Black was Derbyshire Poet Laureate, 2011-2013. Recent collections are Spoon Rebellion (Smith Doorstop, 2017) and Tales from the Leaking Boot (Iron Press, 2018).
His play The Storm Officer tours in 2019-2. He has performed in 50 venues in 5 hours on a tandem bicycle, invented the world’s first Poetry Jukebox and created (with Jonny White, sculptor) the Fanti-Elastical ZingZong Poetry Imagination Machine
Raef Boylan mostly writes with a focus on social realism. Born and matured (sort of) in Coventry, he organises the city’s Fire & Dust poetry nights, and is lead editor of Here Comes Everyone magazine. He won both the Frederick Holland Poetry Collection and CU Short Story awards in 2014 (and still sneaks this fact into writer bios!). Last year, Raef headlined at Pure Good&Right and Positive Images Festival, and his spoken word was commissioned for Theatre Absolute’s ‘Sphere’ project. Raef is appearing at the festival as the host of Cov Poets: The Best of Fire & Dust
A former Birmingham Poet Laureate, City of Birmingham Slam Champion and Poet in Residence at THSH Birmingham for ten years (2005-2015) Julie Boden writes poetry for the page, film and stage. After a 4 year break from public performance in recent months she has been filming for the BBC and has been recorded by STAMP (Sante Theatre and Media Productions) but appearing at the Leamington Poetry Festival will be her first poetry performance back on a live stage. Julie loves working with other artists and was fortunate to be nominated for a BAFTA for her work with Chris Randall (Second Home Studios) on the film animation ‘Mechanical Musical Marvel’. A film documentary of the play, ‘Cracked’ (written by Julie (poetry script) and Mike Kenny) produced by STAMP, was nominated for a RTS award.
From Market Bosworth, Andrew Button has had poems published in various magazines including Orbis, Staple, The Interpreter’s House, Iota and Ink, Sweat and Tears. His pamphlet, Dry Days in Wet Towns, was published in 2016 and a first full collection, Melted Cheese on the Cosmic Pizza in 2017 by erbacce Press. Andrew has worked in the Leamington area for many years and can be heard reading at the festival at Scriptstuff Poetry in the Park Open Mic
Heather Bryson-Banks cheekily pushes boundaries and defies definition. Stand-up comedy meets extreme spoken word with rhyming rudeness aplenty. Feel good naughtiness and harmless fun..which will leave you feeling elated, embarrassed or both. Fearless and sassy ..this ballsy blonde bombsell speaks the words few spoken word speakers dare to speak. .and then some! If you're easily offended or feel uncomfortable hearing a woman talk candidly you probably shouldn't come...or should you? "Heather is real firecracker of a lady and a very promising comedian with an enormous personality that makes her impossible to ignore" Dorian Wainright, Comedian. "Very Confident. Completely unafraid. Pretty full on material and I don't mean the cherries on her dress" Stand Up For Cider, 2019
Daron Carey, slam winning poet, is dynamic, vibrant and insightful. He crafts and performs poems featuring flawed characters with whom he is proud to claim kinship. Drawing upon an extended residency in the parlour of hedonism and excess, he emerged with poems reeking of realism whilst others are served up soaked in surrealism and rich in imagery. Daron is competing in Slam Leamington! as part of the Leamington Poetry Festival.
Gary Carr is a Staffordshire-based writer with around sixty poems published in magazines and anthologies, most recently Voices of 1919, You Are Here and 84. His work was selected for the Polesworth Poetry trail, has been used in schools and commissioned for community events. Gary has run Spoken Worlds open mic for almost ten years, Runaway Writers’ group for fifteen and has been a national festival organiser for Writelink and NAWG. In 2018 he completed an MA in Creative Writing at Keele University; most recently Gary has become an independent Writing Mentor.
Scott Healy (Dangermouse#) is a Coventry-based poet stepping into his second year of performing, typically writing about observations and love, with a dash of surrealism. He’s been cutting his teeth at local open mics, such as Pure & Good & Right in Kenilworth, ScriptStuff Leamington and Fire & Dust in Coventry. Scott is appearing at the festival as part of Cov Poets: The Best of Fire & Dust. He is also competing in "Slam! Leamington".
Aysar lives in Coventry, enjoys writing poems and reading them to unsuspecting people. His poems have been published in journals including Magma, Strix, Under the Radar, Washington Square Review and The Scores, and in anthologies like Diversifly (Fair Acre Press). Aysar was shortlisted in the 2018 Leeds Peace Poetry Competition and has recently been a poet in residence at The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Herbert Gallery & Museum, Coventry. Aysar is appearing at the festival as part of Cov Poets: The Best of Fire & Dust
Sit back and don't relax. Jemima is a Birmingham based performance poet who will drag you through the mindfield of the Unorthodox. Her work covers topics such as sexual violence, mental illness and suicide. Not for the faint hearted, but definitely from the heart. Jemima will be competing in "Slam! Leamington"
Nigel Hutchinson trained in Fine Art, but often used words, until one day there were just words. He has an abiding interest in collage and assemblage, techniques he often uses. He has produced work for the Laurence Sterne Trust and recently for the exhibition "Journeys With 'The Waste Land' " at the Herbert in Coventry. His work has appeared in magazines and anthologies.His first collection "The Humble Family Interviews" was published by Cinnamon Press in 2017
Failed novelist and accidental poet Emma Ireland was born and brought up in Derby in the East Midlands. Despite escaping for a year in Jamaica and a decade in Italy, she now finds herself full circle. She has been writing in one form or another all her life but mostly laboured under the illusion that she disliked poetry until a few years ago when she first discovered Warsan Shire and realised all the rules she’d never understood anyway didn’t necessarily have to apply. Emma is a relatively new face on the spoken word scene but has performed sets in Derby, Nottingham and Lincoln over the past 18 months. She writes mostly about politics and sadness and has had several poems published, including one in the runner-up for Best Anthology at the 2018 Saboteur Awards, ‘Please Hear What I’m Not Saying’, a collection dedicated to raising funds for the Mind mental health charity.
Chloë Jacquet is a multi-slam winning, multicultural, multifaceted spoken word artist.
With a preference for straight talking, rhymes and opinions, her poetry is entertaining and meaningful. She deals with a variety of subjects, from discrimination and mental health, to the pressures placed on men, via her relationship with a biscuit. Chloë will be competing in "Slam! Leamington".
Emma lives in Coventry, and is a regular at Fire & Dust. She loves language, nature and people, and the way poetry makes it possible to express the inexpressible. Her poem 'Phoenix', an encouragement/challenge addressed to the city of Coventry, won the 2018 Theatre Absolute Pillar Poetry competition. Emma is dismayed by the fact that seventy percent of human thoughts are negative, and writes as a way of bringing hope and beauty out of negativity and despair. Emma is appearing at the festival as part of Cov Poets: The Best of Fire & Dust
Tasnim Khanum is a poet who has lived in Coventry her whole life. She has been performing spoken word poetry since the age of sixteen, and since completing a Masters in Creative Writing, she has been dabbling in screenwriting too. Using poetry, she navigates her mental health as well as her identity as a second generation British Bangladeshi woman. Tasnim is currently working on a collection of poetry workbooks for teenagers, which explore themes such as mental health, identity, and relationships. She also likes to write very sarcastic pieces about the poor public transport services in Coventry. Tasnim is appearing at the festival as part of Cov Poets: The Best of Fire & Dust
A regular performer, Emilie has headlined Fire & Dust (Coventry), Word Wise (Derby) and The Story Telling Cafe (Leamington). She has most recently been published by Here Comes Everyone Magazine, I am not a silent poet, Channillo and Chatterbox Magazine. She is also one of thirty poets commisioned as part of the #HumansOfCov project with City of Culture. Emilie runs regular writing workshops for Positive Images Festival and The Writing West Midlands Spark Writers Scheme. In 2018, she completed an MA in Creative Writing at The University of Birmingham. Emilie is at the festival to run a workshop and is appearing as part of Cov Poets: The Best of Fire & Dust
Nick Lovell is a part time greyhound commentator and occasional poet. When not shouting commentaries as dogs race for the finish line, he shouts poetry as audiences race for the exits... Nick will be competing in "Slam! Leamington"
Andrea is a Coventry born wall painting, margin doodling, verse and prose writing community connector. Her first collection of poems and prose 'The Africa in my House' was published by Silhouette Press and her work has appeared in the Diversifly anthology for Fairacre Press, Paper and Ink and Under the Radar.
Roy McFarlane was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage and spent most of his years living in Wolverhampton and the surrounding Black Country, a former Birmingham Poet Laureate.
Jazzed to the bone a world wandering wordsmith his previous publications includes Celebrate Wha? and Beginning With Your Last Breath. Roy’s latest collection The Healing Next Time is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Winter 2018 and was chosen by The Guardian as one of the best poetry titles of 2018. In a former life Roy was a qualified Community, Youth and Play worker applying his trade through the 90's as a Detached Youth Worker and Project Manager in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. This led him to the forefront of anti-racism work during the 00's delivering and developing anti-racism training across Birmingham, working for Birmingham Partnership against Racial Harassment and for the Birmingham City Council.
A.J. Ó Laochdha lives in Warwick and has roots in Tipperary. He was raised in a Working Class family in Leamington Spa. Aged 15 A.J left school with no formal qualifications to join the Merchant Navy where he fulfilled an ambition to travel the world. He is an author of Memoir, Poetry and Local History but describes himself as a ‘Creative’. A.J has had work included in Anthologies, Fine Art and Photographic exhibitions. As a Musician he has penned over 30 Songs. In 2018 A.J published his first Anthology of Poems, the culmination of twenty years work. A.J. will be attending the Festival Book Fair where his works will be available for purchase
Antony Owen is a writer from Coventry with six volumes of poetry published since 2010. He is widely known for his focus on progressive peace poetry focusing on human suffering attributed from modern conflicts and intervention. His work has received widespread acclaim and in 2017 Owen was shortlisted for 2018 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and also a category winner of The British Army's first ever poetry competition. He lives in Warwickshire with his wife and in November 2019 has a new collection out with Knives, Forks & Spoons Press titled The Unknown Civilian
Hannah Owens was selected as Warwickshire Young Poet Laureate in January 2019. The Poet Laureate takes part in events and activities across the county under the mentorship of a professional poet. Hannah was selected from a shortlist of high-calibre candidates during a finals day where each candidate was interviewed and performed to an audience at Rugby Library.
Barry Patterson is a writer & performer living in Coventry. Originally a science teacher, he has worked as a guide in museums & nature reserves & these days his alter ego, the Wild Man of the Woods, is Britain's widest travelled & longest running green man performance. He is also a well-known figure on Coventry's poetry scene & his first collection, Nature Mystic was published by Heaven Tree Press in 2008. In 2012 his poem 'Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad at Pooley' was mounted as public monument at Pooley Pit Head near Polesworth in N. Warwickshire. He is currently the Poet Laureate of Wroth Silver, one of the oldest continuously recorded public ceremonies in Britain. His most recent publication, Land Mandala, describes journeys through sacred landscapes in England, Tibet, Scotland & Bhutan. Barry is appearing at the festival as part of Cov Poets: The Best of Fire & Dust
Michael Pike, aka Spike, is a former soldier. After leaving the military he found it very difficult to readjust to civilian life. His life descended into a downward spiral of alcohol, drugs and violence. After over two decades of madness and a suspended prison sentence, poetry came to the rescue. Now in his 50’s he is now a member of Veterans for Peace U.K. a peace activist, a published and performance poet. His poetry challenges the war mongering establishment, he also writes spiritual, (a reflection of his own journey), and has a stab at humour. A mixed bag. In his own words . . . “ I’m at peace now “
Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire, England. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her work has been published by Aesthetica, The Moth and The Poetry Business. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and became one of the BBC’s New Voices last year. Her first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas. She received The Mother’s Milk Writing Prize and a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.
Naomi Beth is a songwriter and poet with a passion for Mental Health and Empowerment.
She is from Leamington Spa, and trained at the Institute of the Arts in Barcelona for three years studying dance, music and acting.
Naomi’s work is inspired from Love, lessons and travels. She explores her own mental health journey whilst growing up and allows us to ask ourselves questions through her work. Many of her pieces consider the concept of healing, trauma and attachment. Her recent sets of work are collections inspired by her time setting up a school at Malakasa Refugee camp in Greece. This work explores self created borders, compassion and politics. Naomi-Beth can be heard reading at the festival at Scriptstuff Poetry in the Park Open Mic
Tina Sederholm has travelled a curious career path from International event rider to performance poet, raconteur and author. An intermittent idealist, reluctant feminist and recovering workaholic, this veteran of the Edinburgh Fringe has written and performed four critically acclaimed solo shows, The Good Delusion, Evie and the Perfect Cupcake, Till Debt Us Do Part and Everything Wrong With You is Beautiful and won more than 20 poetry slams. Author of three non-fiction books and three poetry collections, her latest, also called Everything Wrong With You is Beautiful, was published by Burning Eye in 2017. She is also an excellent dogsitter, script editor and AirBnB host. ‘Stunning…A beautifully humbling and thoughtful storytelling experience dripping with hope, acceptance, and grounding self-mockery.’ ***** Three Weeks ‘Completely spellbinding.’ ***** EdFringe Review ‘A poet and performer of exceptional prowess.’ Daily Info
Carmina Masoliver is founder of She Grrrowls, editor of its anthology, and poet on page and stage.
Jennifer Juan is a writer, a musician, a producer, a film maker and a podcast host.
Ibizo Lami is a brutally honest and raw artist who uses multiple mediums to celebrate her experiences and identity.
She Grrrowls is a feminist arts night, currently based at London’s Poetry Café, featuring women and non-binary people. Since 2013 it has been featuring poetry, comedy, music, and everything in between. It has been taken to Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of the PBH Free Fringe and featured as part of Jem’s Jam at Women of the World Festival, and at Goldsmith University’s The Place for Poetry conference. In 2017, She Grrrowls: The Anthology was published by Burning Eye Books. In this anthology, Carmina Masoliver – founder, poet, and feminist – has selected and commissioned new work from ten poets who have featured at the event over the years. It was listed in the top 100 poetry books of 2017 by Poetry School, and toured England in autumn 2018 thanks to ACE Lottery funding.
“She Grrrowls is a ravishing, fierce and funny showcase of some of the best mouths in town.” – Amber Tamblyn, actress and poet.
“There was a feeling of ‘yes-I-want-to-change-the-world’ in the air and it’s hard to imagine anyone left feeling angry or depressed about social injustice, since the performers conveyed their social agenda with just the right amount of optimism and hopefulness” – Irina Jauhianinen, Sabotage Reviews.
Tom is the son of Irish immigrants and was brought up in Birmingham. He performed his poetry for the first time in January 2019 after a chance meeting with fellow poet (Don Barber) who was looking for his glasses (they were under his hat!) Tom then began performing at various poetry events across the Midlands. An energetic performer, Tom likes to write about social, economic and political injustice. Tom will be competing in "Slam! Leamington"
Jason N Smith has performed at Roundhouse, National Theatre, Tate Modern, Stoke Football Stadium, London’s Literature Festival and is a multi-slam champion. He recently release a poetry collection titled ‘Beyond Words’ and will feature later this year at Shrewsbury Literature Festival. Jason’s poetry addresses topical issues of today. Jason will be competing in "Slam! Leamington"
Sophie Sparham is a writer and spoken word artist from Derby. Her debut poetry collection ‘Please Mind the Gap’ was released last year and features a foreword from Benjamin Zephaniah. Sophie has written poetry commissions for Writing East Midlands, BBC Radio 4 and The People’s History Museum. Last year Sophie gave a Ted X Talk at the University of Kent about how spoken word can improve our cultural awareness. She has recently written a pop-up show, featuring three actors for the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A. She lectures Writing for Radio at the University of Derby and runs a six week poetry course at QUAD in Derby. Sophie's work focuses on issues such as feminism, mental health and LGBT+ rights. However, she's also prone to writing about her obsession with double denim, how bad she is at playing sport and her undying love of Napalm Death.
Spoz (Giovanni Esposito), has been a freelance poet and performer since 2005. Before that, he just did it for fun. Spoz was Birmingham’s Poet Laureate in 2006 / 7 which was nice. He works a lot with young people in schools, though likes to rough it a little with adults too. Spoz has performed at Glastonbury, Shambala, Cheltenham Lit Fest, Larmer Tree and other festivals, as well as in front of his mom. Spoz has had two poetry collections published. “The Day the Earth Grew Hair” and “Spoz’s Shorts … and the Occasional Long One” are for a younger reader. “Ten Letters” is a bit more grown up and will be released on Verve Poetry Press in the Autumn of 2019.
Jamie Thrasivoulou is an award-winning writer, poet, lyricist and workshop facilitator. His first collection The Best Of A Bad Situation was released in May 2017 through Silhouette Press and he has been published by Not-So-Popular, Burning House Press, Hand-Job-Zine, The Arsonist, Glove, Rzur Cuts, Low-Light Magazine, Crown House Publications, Here Comes Everyone, Independent Thinking Press, Paper & Ink Zine, and Bluecoat Press amongst others. In 2018 his musical project Bloque Capitals were joint winners of The Culture Matters: Bread & Roses award for spoken word and musical collaboration. He is also the official poet of Derby County Football Club. In January 2019 he was part of the UNISLAM 2019 winning team with The University of Birmingham.
Jamie will be the Chair of the Judges at the Leamington Poetry Festival "Slam Leamington!" poetry championship.
Mike Took is a multi-optioned screenplay writer, playwright, slam-winning poet, performer and founder of Scriptstuff Poetry. His published books include a visitor's guide to the Cannes Film Festival and an Elizabethan stageplay written entirely in rhyming couplets. He performed his spoken word show "Overpriced Zeitgeist" at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 and was described by EdFringeReview.com as "a real writing talent, a charismatic, energetic performer".
He devises and hosts several popular poetry events in the Midlands region including the Leamington Poetry Festival and Scriptstuff Poetry Open Mic Nights, he delivers workshops and performs his poetry at various events around the country
Katie is a short, disabled, angry poet with a soul full of stories that can't be contained. She was a winner of the SLAMbassadors National Youth Slam in 2014, and has stuck to the stage ever since. She has competed in the prestigious Roundhouse Poetry Slam, and performed at both Greenbelt and Shambala festivals. She writes complicated metaphors about serious things like sickness, loss, and love. Katie is competing in Slam Leamington! at the festival.
Mel Wardle Woodend is a keen reader, writer and bodyboarder. Her family, animals, interactions with the people she encounters on her journey, and the natural world, inspire her work. Mel’s most recent poetry collection Just a Thought is a thought-provoking dyslexia-friendly publication, focusing on mental health awareness. Mel will be competing in "Slam! Leamington"
Dan Webber is a poet and comedian based in Derby. He has appeared at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, YNOT Festival, Leicester Comedy Festival, Queer As Jokes, London and Incite at The Phoenix Artists Club, London. His first collection ‘Genre Fluid’, a study into labels in everyday life, in the arts and in the LGBT+ community, was published by Big White Shed in June 2019. "Webber's set quickly enters an easy-going, natural flow, with sentimental musings on self, mental health, masculinity, appearance, and place, all delivered with a playful and occasionally giddy appeal." LeftLion Magazine, August 2018. “A roller coaster of laughs and heart breaks" Impact Magazine, August 2018.
I've been writing Poetry since I learned how to, but only discovered Slam and Performance Poetry when I started university: which I soon found a love for! I enjoy writing and performing Poetry on mental health issues, self-image, and the idea of the journey- in whatever form it takes. Lauren will be competing in "Slam! Leamington"