Kieren King is a Salford based spoken word artist. He is best known as the co-creator and host of popular Manchester spoken word nights, Evidently (Shortlisted for Best Regular Spoken Word Night – Saboteur Awards 2015 & 2016) and the Word War Slams, and formerly as a host of Bang Said The Gun: Manchester. He was recently hand-picked by Guy Garvey of Elbow to curate a Spoken Word event as part of the 2016 Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre.
An experienced performer in his own right, Kieren has been writing and performing his work since 2008 and has featured at various festivals and a number of spoken word nights throughout the UK, including several performances for Amnesty International and Musicians Without Borders. A multiple slam champion, Kieren was also part of the guest Manchester slam team at the 2016 Hammer & Tongue grand final.
He has appeared on several local radio and television shows and was featured on ITV News coverage of Billy Bragg’s “Welcome To Manchester” gig during the 2015 Tory Party Conference. In 2016 he was commissioned to write and perform a poem for a TV spot by SKY for their new channel Blaze.
Aware that poetry isn’t a proper job, Rowan McCabe decided to create his own profession and became the world’s first and only Door-to-Door Poet. Knocking on strangers, he asks them what is important to them; he then goes away and writes a poem about this, bringing it back and performing it on their doorstep. He’s trying to prove absolutely anyone can enjoy poetry and that strangers really aren’t as scary as they seem. He keeps a blog about everything that’s happened to him at http://www.doortodoorpoetry.com.
Dismissed by other poets as impossible, Rowan began the project in October 2015, starting in his home town of Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne. Despite the advice of a local police officer, he then visited the Byker Wall, an area synonymous with crime and violence. After blogging about this positive and life-changing experience, he was invited to Glastonbury Festival, where he wrote a poem for Michael Eavis’ granddaughter and was featured in the Guardian’s book section.
Rowan also performs on stages as well as doorsteps and he’s appeared all over the country, from the Edinburgh Fringe to the Royal Albert Hall. He was the winner of the 2015 Great Northern Slam and his work has been featured on Radio 4, Radio 5 live and BBC Breakfast.
“Toria’s words are silk javelins. Frank explorations of self, outpourings of a joyfully pained mind. She means it. Cos she’s lived it. I love that girl” Mike Garry
Toria Garbutt is a spoken word artist from Knottingley – a former mining town in West Yorkshire. From as young as 9 she kept a diary, and wrote poetry in parallel by way of navigating an alternative path through the world. Her resulting début album ‘Hot Plastic Moon’ is an incredibly visceral and engaging collection of confessional, observational and character based punk poetry. With a punk heritage, a staccato heartbeat and a unique flair for storytelling, her work is brutally honest yet breathtakingly beautiful.
In 2017, Toria has established herself as a regular support act for Dr John Cooper Clarke on his ongoing UK tour dates.
Emily Hammond is a 19 year old poet and spoken word artist born and raised in Nottingham and studying a History degree at the University of Leeds. Since beginning writing at the start of 2016 Emily has performed on stages and in slams across the country. Emily represented her University at the annual UniSlam competition, where her team reached the semi-finals, and has performed at The Royal Albert Hall. She was the Glastonbury Festival Poetry Slam winner for 2016.
Anna Freeman is a novelist, a multiple poetry slam champion, a creative writing lecturer at Bath Spa University and a producer for Bristol Old Vic. Her work is funny, slightly twisted and explores personal and social neuroses. It’s about the messy, ridiculous, glorious state of being human and the need to laugh at ourselves, often.
Anna’s first novel, The Fair Fight, is a pulsating historical adventure set within the world of female prize-fighters and their patrons in 18th century Bristol. The Fair Fight won The Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize 2013, is published by W&N in the UK and by Riverhead in the USA, and has been optioned for TV drama by the BBC. Her second novel is due out in early 2018.
Her first poetry collection, Gingering the World from the Inside, is published by Burning Eye Books.
Laurie Bolger is a poet and presenter who style is consistently down to earth and accessible. Laurie currently hosts BANG Said the Gun, London’s leading stand up poetry night and is lead facilitator for BBC 1Xtra’s Words First and The Poetry Takeaway. Laurie’s debut collection Box Rooms was released last year, showing that poetry can be your friend. “A tell it like it is poet, with down to earth, intelligent and hilarious charm” - Poems in Pubs
Born and bred in North West London and ‘works well with others’, according to her school reports. Koko is a multidisciplinary artist, who blends theatre with spoken word while incorporating vocal looping throughout. She creates work focusing on race, mental health, gender, and identity.
Koko will be premiering her first solo show ‘WHITE’ at the Roundhouse, where she is a Resident Artist, on 4th June. Then at Ovalhouse theatre, where she is an Associate Artist, from 20th July. She’d love to see you there. Connect with her via heykoko.com or on all social media – @TheKokoBrown
Paula Varjack is a writer, filmmaker and theatre maker. Her work explores identity, the unsaid, and making the invisible visible. She makes work across disciplines; performance, theatre, documentary and spoken word. Her debut prose & poetry publication Letters I Never Sent to You published by Burning Eye Books explores the sometimes slippery nature of the word “home”, and how love and heartbreak can be felt just as strongly for a place as for a person. Her most recent show “ Show Me The Money” – explores the reality of making a living as an artist in the U.K. based on interviews with artists across the country. In addition to performing, she facilitates workshops with a wide range of age groups, using writing prompts and drama games to unblock creativity. Born in Washington D.C. to a Ghanaian mother and a British father, out of they many places she has lived she considers east London to be “home”.
Quick-witted and charismatic, Rosy Carrick has got a PhD in Russian literature and a WTF in 80s beefcake movie obsession. Co-curator of the poetry stage at Port Eliot festival, she also co-hosts the Latitude poetry stage and has been at the helm of the Brighton spoken word scene for the last decade. 2017 brings her back to the happy fields of Glastonbury to [wo]manhandle you through yet another spectacular Poetry & Words line-up, so come out, sit down and shut up, cos this is one charming motherf**ker not to be missed! www.rosycarrick.com