Saboteur Awards 2017: Spotlight on the Best Collaborative Work Shortlist

This category ignited voters’ passions, with a multitude of excellent comments to choose from. Check out these multimedia collaborations that explore the UK and Ireland in innovative ways. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite here.

#AwakenYourSoul; #WeAreAlive & #LiveInsideOurDream by Kevin Bateman

I am honored to be nominated for a Saboteur award but the award is not about me it is about the unique and interesting artists that performed at my events. -Kevin Bateman

Kevin Bateman is a surrealist poet from Galway who started creating events, last year, in spiritual places people have forgotten.

So far the events have been held in the north and south of Ireland and Scotland and have included performances by some of the most talented artists there. Each event has been broadcast live on Periscope to thousands of people around the world.

Why voters think they should win:

  • The ‘we are alive’ events are democratic, inclusive and happen in amazingly beautiful locations which seems to add to the experience of the poetry being read and performed.
  • This is a genuine writer with real core collaborative and facilitating principles at work, engaging in inventive and sometimes inhospitable locations.
  • A truly creative & collaborative approach with great range & variety of performers in unusual, historic outdoor settings that also make use of the most cutting edge tech.

Disappear Here – 27 films and poems on Coventry Ring Road (Silhouette Press)

I am delighted on behalf of the 18 artists collaborating on this project to be nominated for a Saboteur Award! For a small poetry project from Coventry we are in distinguished and thriving company! -Adam Steiner

18 Artists – 27 poetry films exploring the Modernist Brutalist superstructure of Coventry ringroad!

Disappear Here started out back in 2015 with an experiment in poetry-film making – three guys, a camera and a poet – shooting on the rooftop car park of Coventry market.

We have worked with 18 writers and artists from all over the UK, criss-crossing collaboration to explore the love/hate relationship between a monolithic concrete new city wall and the citizens who live next to/move through, beneath and along it every day.

Why voters think they should win:

  • United many artists and celebrated a long dismissed and ignored city. They have taken what’s the best in the urban landscape and involved the community to prove that things can be done well when everyone is involved.
  • This is a very innovative project that has quite rightly garnered a lot of attention in local and national media
  • An emotive collection of artistic contributions that focuses on a local amenity that everyone knows, accepts but overlooks to recognise – the Coventry Ring Road. Great work by Silhouette Press to bring it all together, and to bring to everyone’s attention as Coventry strives to be nominated as a future City of Culture.

“Finders Keepers” by Harry Man and Sophie Gainsley (Sidekick Books)

The Sabotage Awards are unique in publicly championing British poetry scene in a way that is both inclusive and plural. We’re incredibly delighted that Finders Keepers has been shortlisted. Thank you to everyone who nominated the book and that voted for us.

Finders Keepers is a collaborative project between the artist Sophie Gainsley and the poet Harry Man aimed at memorialising the lost and nearly lost flora and fauna of Britain. It’s the culmination of two years spent running through the fens with a microphone talking to conservationists about the important and unsung work they do throughout the country.

Why voters think they should win:

  • Superb artistic and poetic collaboration that highlights the dire situation of some of our most engangered native species
  • Beautiful illustrations and timely reminders to appreciate wildlife as we are all endangered species!
  • glorious combination of extreme relevance and artistic innovation – have not seen a work like this come out of uk for years

Poetry on the Picket Line

Poetry on the Picket Line are a squad of like-minded poets who turn up on picket lines (rallies, strike benefits and the like) to read poems in the spirit of solidarity. Putting poetry into politics and politics into poetry. -Grim Chip

Poetry on the Picket Line started during the National Gallery dispute in 2015. That strike lasted over 100 days, and those writers who happened to be involved found that making the same speeches got a bit old, so started reading a few poems instead. That led to a proper poetry reading on the picket line, then on to pulling the same stunt on other picket lines during other strikes (including the Junior Doctors, Transport Museum cleaners, PictureHouse strikers, LSE cleaners and various other events and good causes). If we can, we take a collection that goes to the appropriate strike fund.

Why voters think they should win:

  • No gigs have a better love/hate ratio.
  • Whatever the weather or the cause they are there to show their support for the oppressed workers. A great bunch of people!!
  • Their work takes poetry to audiences outside arts contexts and engages with themes related to lives often unrepresented in art
  • Poets on the Picket Line bring the spirit of the picket line to poetry and vice versa. They do the important job of showing solidarity with a number of causes, whilst spreading poetry to those who may not have otherwise heard it.

WomenXBorders – Women Aloud 2017 & Irish Writers Centre

Both Women Aloud NI and The Irish Writers Centre are thrilled that WomenXBorders, a collaboration  celebrating the work of women writers from across the island of Ireland, has made it to the #Saboteur17 -Jane Talbot [Founder and Project Manager of Women Aloud NI]

Women Aloud NI [volunteer-run organisation, working to raise the profile of the women’s writing scene in Northern Ireland] and the Irish Writers Centre [ROI-based resource centre for Irish literature, aiming to support and promote writers at all stages of their development] collaborated to run #WomenXBorders, a day-long programme of literary events in Dublin. 50 female writers from Northern Ireland joined 50 female writers from the Republic of Ireland on 11 March for:

  • A day-long readathon
  • A mass reading [writers reading simultaneously] Video
  • A range of panel discussions

#WomenXBorders was supported by Arts Council NI, National Lottery and Words Ireland.

Why voters think they should win:

  • Big breakthrough in collaboration between north and south of Ireland. An innovative, daring and inspiring initiative.
  • Because of their all inclusive bringing together of female voices from the North and South of Ireland published, self published, yet-to-be published… everyone feels supported.
  • Inclusive. Daring. Wild and wonderful. We need this.
  • Superb cross border initiative bringing groups and individuals together in a shared experience in a positive, exciting and potentially healing environment.



Saboteur Awards 2017 – The Shortlist and Longlist

Nearly 2,200 people nominated in this year’s Saboteur Awards, and once again we are in awe at the variety of work selected. The four most nominated works in each category have made it into the shortlist, as well as a work selected by one of our editors (spot the * by their name). Voting is now open until 30th April to determine the winners. The results will be announced on 13th May at a special evening event at Vout-O-Reenees. Find out more here.

Vote here

By popular demand, we’re also sharing once again a longlist in each category, 8 works or people that narrowly missed out on the shortlist. We drew the line at 8 to give you a sample of the work that has been exciting people this year – do explore them too!

Over the next 30 days we will put the spotlight on each category so that you can get to know each shortlisted work or person – we encourage you to explore the categories you don’t normally dabble with.

We will be contacting everyone shortlisted over the next few days, but not everyone’s contact details are easily available, so if you spot yourself here and haven’t heard from us by tomorrow, do drop a line to Anna Jamieson at prize [at]

A note on the editor’s choice: this is our first year of trialing this approach, a response to feedback we’ve received. The idea is for each of our editors to put the spotlight on a work that would be unlikely to make the shortlist otherwise but which they believe deserves some attention. We hope this shakes things up positively and adds to the variety of the shortlist! Richard T. Watson picked the Best Novella and Short Story Collection categories, Karen Goodwin picked the Best Magazine, Rebecca Varley-Winter picked the Best Poetry Pamphlet and Best Reviewer, Sally Jack picked Best Spoken Word Show and Regular Spoken Word Night, James Webster picked Best Collaboration and Spoken Word Performer, and Claire Trévien picked Best Wildcard, Most Innovative Publisher, and Anthology. You can identify the works that were the Editor’s choice by the * next to their names.


Best Collaborative Work Shortlist


  • The Book of Hours by Lucy English
  • Handfast by Ruth Aylett and Beth McDonough
  • Lustful Feminist Killjoys by Anna Percy and Rebecca Audra Smith
  • Marcas Mac an Tuairneir and Mary Ann Kennedy
  • A Place Free of Judgement by Blast Theory & Tony White
  • Poetic interviews by Aaron Kent
  • To Have To Follow by Julie Maclean & Terry Quinn
  • Town Below the Steps – a poetry play by Matthew Hedley Stoppard and Otley Poets

Best Regular Spoken Word Night Shortlist


  • Bad Language (Manchester)
  • Find the Right Words (Leicester)
  • Freeway Poets (Bournemouth)
  • Loud Poets (Edinburgh)
  • Poets Against Humanity (Edinburgh)
  • Speak Easy (Carlisle)
  • Stablemates (London)
  • Staccato (Dublin)

Best Magazine Shortlist


  • 404 ink
  • Banshee Literary Magazine
  • Bare Fiction
  • Envoi
  • Hand Job Zine
  • Ink, Sweat and Tears
  • The North
  • Paper and Ink Zine

Best Short Story Collection Shortlist


  • Dazzling the Gods by Tom Vowler (Unbound)
  • The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down by Meg Pokrass (Etruscan Press)
  • Cry Baby by MW Leeming
  • The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • The Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie Victoire (Salt)
  • When Black Dogs Sing by Tanya Farrelly (Arlen House)
  • When You Lived Inside the Walls by Krishan Coupland (Stone Wood Press)
  • Writing on Water by Maggie Harris (Seren)

Best Wildcard Shortlist – this category is supported by Literature Wales, as part of International Dylan Thomas Day 


  • AdHoc Fiction
  • Cinammon Press Mentoring Scheme
  • Jo Bell
  • Kevin Bateman
  • Report of the Iraq Enquiry by Amy Evans
  • Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
  • Paperchain Podcast
  • Town Below the Steps – a poetry play by Matthew Hedley Stoppard and Otley Poets

Best Novella Shortlist


  • Cove by Cynan Jones (Granta)
  • Equivocator by Stevie Davies (Parthian)
  • First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta)
  • High flight and flames by Kate Coe (Grimbold Books)
  • Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Reception by Robert Garnham (Soulsoaker)
  • The Sea Wave by Rolli (Guernica)
  • This is the place to be by Lara Pawson(CB Editions)

Best Spoken Word Show Shortlist


  • An evening with an immigrant by Inua Ellams
  • California Scheming by Claire Ferguson Walker
  • Jumble Soul by Jackie Hagan
  • Lus na Tuise by Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
  • Made to measure by Sara Hirsch and Ben Fagan
  • Rainbows and Razorblades by Chelley McLear
  • Swear School by Thick Richard
  • The Venus Papers by Lydia Towsey

Best Poetry Pamphlet


  • Bad Luck Woman by Alex Bell (Eyewear)
  • Glass as Broken Glass by Martha Sprackland (Rack)
  • Kaleidescope by Mick Yates (Indigo Dreams)
  • Like A Fish Out Of Batter by Catherine Graham (Indigo Dreams)
  • Scare Stories by David Clarke (V. Press)
  • Knots and Branches by Stewart Carswell (Eyewear)
  • Unstable Tales by Ana Prundaru (Dancing Girl Press)
  • Victor Mature’s Corset by Molly Parkin

Best Reviewer Shortlist


  • Afric McGlinchey
  • Charlie Baylis
  • Charles Whalley
  • Emma Lee
  • Jen Campbell
  • Nathan Hassal
  • Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
  • Thom Cuell

Best Spoken Word Performer


  • Andrew Blair
  • Fat Roland
  • Kieren King
  • Laura Potts
  • Luke Wright
  • Robert Garnham
  • Sophia Walker
  • Susan Evans

Most Innovative Publisher


  • 404 Ink
  • Cinnamon Press
  • Comma Press
  • Doire Press
  • East London Press
  • The Emma Press
  • Mother’s Milk Books
  • Nine Arches

Best Anthology Shortlist


  • All that’s ever happened (Poetry School)
  • A Poetry of Elephants (Valerie Morton)
  • Currently & Emotion: Translations (Test Centre)
  • Driftfish (Zoomorphic)
  • Haiku to f*ck to (Spark The Words)
  • Cold Fire: Poetry Inspired by David Bowie (The Rialto)
  • Iraq + 100: Stories from Another Iraq (Comma Press)
  • New Boots and Pantisocracies (Smokestack Books)