Spotlight on the Best Regular Spoken Word Night Shortlist

It’s hard to resist taking on a sports’ commentator’s persona when putting the spotlight on these nights:

What a list! It features two previous winners, Bad Language (’15) and Liars’ League (’14), and a previously shortlisted night, Evidently (’14), but will the two newcomers to the shortlist, Loud Poets or Stanzas, pipe them to the post?

Anyway, go forth and get a feel for these nights, particularly by reading what voters had to say about them. If you happen to live near them, why not make the most of it and attend one of their nights and see for yourself why so many people thought they were special.

Finally, don’t forget to vote! You have until 24th May!

Bad Language (Manchester)

We are staggered to be on the shortlist again. Every month, it’s standing room only at Bad Language because the enthusiasm and talent of the Manchester spoken word scene is insatiable. We’re here because every open mic performer and every headliner has brought something incredible to our stage. Oh and don’t tell anyone, but Fats is definitely bribing the judges: he makes excellent fudge.

BadLanguage Twitterprofile

Bad Language puts on a long-running literary open mic night in the centre of Manchester, with half the slots reserved for newcomers. Recent headliners include Nikesh Shukla, Tania Hershman and Jo Bell. With the regular night as the hub, Bad Language also take to larger stages (Royal Exchange, Kendal Calling) to give newer voices the challenge and reward of a wider audience. Bad Language have also promoted the likes of Kate Tempest, Literary Death Match and Hollie McNish, and are the current defenders of the Saboteur award for Best Regular Spoken Word Night.

Why voters think they should win:

A highly welcoming night with consistently high standard guests I’d pay to see. Wonderful warm compering.

A stalwart feature in the abundant North West literature scene, the foundation rock on which we lash our wordly ropes, a grand beacon of persistent excellence

The most extraordinary night for combining prestigious acts with a warm and supportive forum for emerging talent. They’ve always been brilliant, but they’ve really branched out this year into a variety of events and spaces previously unexplored The other’s on the SL are fabulous, so I don’t say this lightly. How many nights draw in established talent whilst making new talent feel welcome and valued? Wonderful!

Evidently (Salford)

We are over the moon to be shortlisted again, thank you to everyone who nominated us! Ironically for a spoken word night, words aren’t enough!


Evidently is a spoken-word night bursting with talent, encouragement and enthusiasm. Since our launch in October 2013, we have had a diverse crowd through our doors, from first timers to poetry and performing to well-known and established acts – it’s a fun and engaging night for all! We have been lucky enough to attract guests from both around the UK and from across the Atlantic and are proud to be a part of the great spoken-word scene!

Why voters think they should win:

Because they’re ‘evidently’ the best: best open mics I’ve ever witnessed, best support and encouragement for performers, best energy and passion and general loveliness.

Salford seems like a cultural vacuum to outsiders apart from the Media City and Lowry input. Actually Salford has roots going back of political and artistic genius. This is an outlet that continues that tradition.

Because Evidently are helping to bring poetry to the people. The headline guests that they have are always fantastic, and the quality of the open mic is also incredible. Kieren and Ella are also incredibly gracious and generous hosts, and you always leave feeling with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. This is a nice accompaniment to the buzz of inspiration that is swarming in your head following the poetry!

Liars’ League (London)

“Two years ago we were thrilled to be shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards, and then gobsmacked to actually win in the Best Spoken Word Event category. This year we’ve campaigned shamelessly to get nominated, as well as working our arses off on our biggest-ever show for the one hundredth event, which was in April. Winning another Saboteur Award will help us take Liars’ League from strength to strength and keep putting the fun in live fiction. Plus we love the little trophies.” – Katy & Liam, Director & Host of Liars’ League.

Lionel reading

Writers write. Actors read. Audience listens. Everybody wins. Liars’ League is a long-running, globe-spanning, award-winning, Radio-4-broadcast monthly live fiction night where professional actors read brand new short stories. In 2016 our ever-changing, always challenging themes range from Clean & Dirty to Genius & Madness, via Work & Play and Flesh & Bone (for Hallowe’en) … We’re on at The Phoenix every second Tuesday of the month, supplying fantastic fiction, a fiendish interval book quiz & sweeties, all for £5 on the door. You can also check out our work at and follow us on Twitter at @liarsleague.

Why voters think they should win:

Consistently high standard of varied stories each month read by superb actors. The themes are wide-ranging and there’s something for everyone on each bill. I take my 86 year old aunt each month and she is as fascinated as the trendy young things who nip along too.

Enduringly excellent. Great combination of compelling stories, captivating acting, and friendly atmosphere.

Still original, still vibrant, still refreshingly free from angry authors ranting at the audience after nine years

Loud Poets (Edinburgh)

We couldn’t be more delighted to make the shortlist for the Saboteur Awards this year! We’re a relatively new night – we’ve been running for just over two years – so it means a lot for our community to nominate us. One of our biggest objectives is to provide a platform for new writers and performers from across Scotland to perform their work, and to foster collaboration between poets and other artists. There’s such a vibrant, growing spoken word scene in Scotland, and we’re delighted to represent some of that scene at the Saboteur Awards. Loud Poets is a collective endeavour built by passionate volunteers, so we owe huge credit not only to our organisers but also to the huge team of poets, musicians, and kickass audience members who make our shows great month after month.

Loud Poets Logo

Loud Poets is a collective of poets, musicians, and artists who organise monthly nights in Edinburgh and Glasgow and tour internationally. Our nights pair spoken word artists with live musicians to create fist­-thumping, pint-drinking, side-­tickling, heart­-wrenching art. This is poetry for the masses, aimed at encouraging people from every walk of life to watch, read, and enjoy poetry. Loud Poets showcases the best of Scotland and beyond, from new voices to seasoned performers, in lively, memorable and revolutionary nights.

Why voters think they should win:

Their nights are always entertaining, funny, insightful and clever. I love the electricity in the air when good words are said well, without any of the pretentiousness for which poetry usually gets a bad press.

They’ve changed the poetry scene in Scotland! Inspired so many more people to start writing (including me), and most of their performers ended up competing at Nationals in Glasgow. Some of them also represented Edinburgh Uni at CUPSI in Texas (the first non-American uni to participate!)

Refreshing attitude, an incredibly dedicated team, and inspiring poetry. I have never known anyone to go to a Loud Poets night and not be instantly converted

Stanzas: An Evening of Words (Limerick)

We are amazed and excited to see our followers plumping up and nominating us for this brilliant award. Getting the shortlist is beyond what we imagined! Onwords and Upwords!


Stanzas is an evening of words, with a core focus on emerging writers. We like to give people a chance in a safe, non-judgemental environment where you are free to have a go at doing a bitta poetry (or prose, or theatre or whatever, really, we are just enamored by words!) We try to curate interesting themes for each month, bring down top calibre guests, and publish a monthly book of New Irish Writing – although lately that’s getting more and more international. Check us out, and feel free to come along anytime, or enter the monthly book!

Why voters think they should win:

energetic and always innovative the team of Stanzas work tirelessly with a passion that is reflected in the event- Stanzas is like an organic lifeform that has a personality and prescence of its own and the participants are its host . Great stuff .

Stanzas is an incredible gift to the poetry scene in Limerick, it’s a wonderful space for young poets and artists. Every night something amazing and different happens and Jared Shane Caleb and Dan have created something so wonderful that it blows me away every time

It is a rock concert for poetry, everyone is invited to take part and all ages are welcome, but what makes it special in this crazy world is that it is a Haven for young people and new poets who are encouraged in a most enthusiastic and energetic way. You come away inspired and counting down the days until the next poetry concert.