Saboteur Awards Shortlist 2018: Spotlight on the Best Wildcard Category

Last but not least, our final spotlight focuses on the Best Wildcard category! Remember, you have until 9th May to vote here.

Afflecks Creative Space

Afflecks Creative Space

Joy France, Spoken Word Artist, is Creative-in-Residence at Afflecks (Palace) in Manchester. She set up and runs a unique Creative Space that records, celebrates, encourages and promotes creativity in all its forms.

Based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Afflecks is renowned for being “an Emporium of Eclecticism – a Totem of Indie Commerce” and the Creative Space has become its gem.

That’s the official practical description but what has happened in the the Creative Space is truly magical…..

It’s not funded. Joy is not paid. No money is involved, yet it has been open 6 days a week for over 2 years with the only rule being “Be Nice”. Everything has been donated by shoppers (chairs, paint, guitars, typewriters etc) and anyone can call in and use it. Nothing gets stolen or destroyed even though it isn’t “staffed”

It has become the “must go to” place for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities across the region and way beyond. People are encouraged to put on events, run workshops and shape the way the space operates.

Joy says: This may sound like a bold claim but not only is it the weirdest place in Afflecks (itself the home of the gloriously weird since 1982) but I believe it to be unique in the country. It is now in its 3rd year and flourishing. People of all ages, backgrounds come together and connect on a real level. It is rare to see anyone using a mobile phone.
There is no catch. Simply always free to use & always open.
It is a proud example of “Manchester, we do it differently here”

100s of people have reconnected with or discovered the power of creativity. Literally 100s have changed their lives dramatically after using the space (lots have escaped abusive relationships, come off drugs, found ways out of homelessness, found the courage to get into university, get dream jobs, embraced their gender identity, escaped loneliness etc)

….  it’s all happened organically and you really have to go there to understand it.

Find out more about Afflecks Creative Space here, and follow it on Twitter here.

Why voters think it should win:

Joy’s name is very apt. She has literally spread Joy to everyone who has been lucky enough to enter the Creative Space at Afflecks. The Space, and Joy, are one of a kind.

This place is so important for young and old people. It has introduced peopel to creativity & encouraged development & confidence. This is a model that should be fully funded and repeated in every town and city inn the UK.

I am not a silent poet

Reuben Woolley at Newcastle Stanza

Reuben Woolley is the editor and founder of I am Not a Silent Poet, the online magazine for poetry of protest against abuse of all kinds, and its associated Facebook page.

Follow Reuben Woolley on Twitter here.

Why voters think it should win:

Poetry needs to be contemporary and IANASP is the most contemporary UK webzine today. In these troubled times we need editors like Reuben Woolley to reflect these times with poems published quickly giving art that immediacy that shows poetry is present not absent

Reuben has made this a vibrant, warm and compassionate site, filled with great, relevant poetry. It’s really something special.

Poetry Prescribed

Welcome to Poetry Prescribed- where we do just that, prescribe you poetry! We deliver therapeutic workshops promoting poetry as a self healing tool; and an effective way to manage mental health and wellbeing.

Poetry has the ability to inspire thought, expression and creativity. Our founder Esi Yankey began writing poetry as a child, and carried her love of writing into adulthood. Upon learning more about the therapeutic benefits of poetry and creative writing, she realised that she had been unknowingly using poetry as a therapy tool for many, many years.

Combining her love of poetry, with her knowledge of holistic therapy, and passion for mental health awareness; Esi founded Poetry Prescribed in 2017, with the primary aim of improving people’s mental health and well being using poetry.

The only requirements for attending our workshops are an open mind, and a willingness to explore your own creativity.

Please visit to find out more.

We look forward to prescribing you poetry!

Why voters think they should win:

Poetry Prescribed really is a very much needed uplifting and inspirational experience. It’s a safe space that brings people together and makes you aware that you are not alone.

Poetry Prescribed – Exactly what the Dr should order!  Supportive, cathartic, inspiring, and fun. Poetry Prescribed is a much needed advocate that highlights and addresses the need to support Mental Health and Wellbeing within our communities.  How refreshing and encouraging!  Just what Mental Health services and those that are supported by them needs!  Healing through creativity.May they go from strength to strength.

#WomenAloud NI 2018

Women Aloud NI 2018

Women Aloud NI 2018 was a one-day celebration of the women’s writing scene in Northern Ireland. On International Women’s Day 2018, 8 March, 11 literary events took place across Northern Ireland. The events were organised by women writers and showcased the work of traditionally published, self-published and yet-to-be-publisher writers: poets, novelists, short-story writers, genre writers and non-fiction writers all took part.

Women Aloud NI is a volunteer-run organisation, run by women writers for women writers. The core aim of the organisation is to raise the profile of the women’s writing scene in NI.

Follow them on Twitter! Find out more here.

Why voters think they should win:

Incredible organisation bringing NI women writers together and fearlessly supporting and promoting all they do!

A dynamic group of women writers in Northern Ireland. Their numbers are growing and the writing just gets better and better.

Yours Faithfully, Edna Welthorpe: a tribute to Joe Orton

Joe Orton

In 2017, Dr Emma Parker (University of Leicester) partnered with filmmaker Chris Shepherd to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of the legendary 1960s playwright Joe Orton.

As well as being a playwright, Orton was a prankster and a provocateur. Adopting the pseudonym ‘Edna Welthorpe’, he liked to send spoof letters of complaint mocking snobbery and sexual inequality (Orton was working class and gay when homosexuality was still illegal).

To honour Orton’s subversive spirit, Parker and Shepherd commissioned new Edna Welthrope letters from top comedy writers including David Quantick (The Fast Show, Veep), Arthur Mathews (Father Ted, Toast of London), Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, The Thick of It) and Caroline Moran (Raised by Wolves). Emmy Award winning actor and satirist Alec Baldwin – a huge fan of Orton’s work – also contributed an Edna letter. Their letters, which mock social conservatism in Britain today, were read by Frances Barber at The Little Theatre, Leicester, on 9 August 2017 (the 50th anniversary of Orton’s death).

In addition, Shepherd and Parker ran a national Edna Welthorpe writing competition of post-16 students and made a 5 min animation inspired by Orton’s original Edna Welthorpe letters.

The letters and film are available on this website along with information about Joe Orton: 

This project was funded by the University of Leicester and Arts Council England.

Follow the project on Twitter here.

Why voters think they should win:

Great way to celebrate the work and legacy of a working class gay writer.

Love this website – it got me into creative writing again. Had fun using the worksheet to write my own Edna letter.