Saboteur Awards 2018: Spotlight on the Best Regular Spoken Word Night

Caffe Del Nino’s Spoken Word Night, Cannock

Scarlett Ward

I am Scarlett Ward, host of the Caffe Del Nino poetry evenings, and 25 year old poet. My work has featured in anthologies such as The Verve Press- Wild Dreams & Louder voices, Diverse Verse, and Within Darkness & Light. I started hosting poetry evenings at my family’s small town Caffe Del Nino in Cannock since 2016 because there was nowhere for young poets to share their work apart from an hour’s drive to the nearest city of Birmingham. Over the years it has grown so that each month the place is teaming with local performers and spectators, often running on past curfew and into the night!

Find out more about the night here.

Why voters think it should win:

Because it brings a wonderful and different culture to a small town and is a beautiful and friendly venue

They have promoted a diverse and non judgemental platform for fresh new talent and ordinary people to have a voice.

Find the Right Words, Leicester

Jess Green set up Find The Right Words up in 2013 because she felt there wasn’t another regular high quality performance poetry night in Leicester which both brought nationally and internationally renowned performers to the city and provided a platform for emerging local talent. Since then the night has gone from strength to strength and has hosted acts such as Hollie Mcnish, Elvis McGonagall and Buddy Wakefield. Find The Right Words is a warm, supportive and fun monthly event which is reflected by the funding it receives from Apples and Snakes and the regular audience members who come back month after month.

Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Why voters think it should win:

Energetic, fun, welcoming,  professional: a credit to the sometimes amateur staging of spoken word events.

Excellent host great atmosphere welcoming crowd high standard of  headliners support for open micers, many regulars,  brilliant little theatre venue

Fire and Dust, Coventry

Photo by Maria Omena

Fire & Dust is a monthly poetry open mic night in Coventry city. Set up several years ago by Silhouette Press, it is now run by Here Comes Everyone lit magazine. Our venue is The Big Comfy Bookshop. Our main aims are:

  • to be accessible to as many people as possible (the event is free, funded by ourselves/audience donations)
  • to encourage and be supportive of all poets, whether it’s their first-time or they’ve been writing for decades
  • to have a diverse range of voices and poetic styles represented at every event

Fire & Dust is trying to secure funding, so we can treat our audiences to some performances from professional poets around the UK, alongside our talented regulars.

Keep track of them on their website, Facebook page or Twitter!

Why voters think they should win:

Exciting, friendly, diverse, ego free mc, refreshing refreshments and always high quality !

Because it’s inviting, exciting, innovate and invigorating to go and watch. Everyone there is fantastic, from the regulars to the newbies. The venue is horrendously comfy (it is in the name) and those that run it are the most friendly people you could meet. It’s always pushing boundaries, offering spaces for budding new voices and it’s free! What more could you ask for!?

Mind Over Matter, London

Mind Over Matter was founded in June 2017 by Spoken Word Artist and Rapper, Fisky. It is an independent project which aims to break down stigma attached to mental health and widen the conversation by discussing it through Spoken Word Poetry and Hip Hop.

We host spirited, powerful events showcasing the best of up and coming talent as well as established artists from the worlds of Spoken Word and Hip Hop, for us to come together and discuss the difficult realities of mental health, in a safe environment.

Follow them on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Why voters think they should win:

I have been privileged to have attend a mind over matter event and I was absolutely blown away by the talented poets who participated. It was a breath of fresh air and very inspiring.

Allows people to express, opens up a space for all of us who have experienced mental health issues  – transformative

Verbose, Manchester

Photo by Guille Ibanez

Verbose is a spoken word night on the 4th Monday of each month at Fallow Cafe in Manchester. Each night has a theme with three headliners and around 15 open mic-ers. It’s a very friendly, supportive night, hosted by Zena Barrie and Jo Howard. We welcome a huge range of published writers from big names such as DJ Dave Haslam, to rising stars like Lisa Harding and Sophie Mackintosh as well as plenty of local talent such as Maz Hedgehog and Melanie Rees. We are proud that our night attracts such a variety of individual voices, sharing poetry, fiction, theatre and creative non fiction all held together by our monthly theme. It’s definitely a fun and sometimes an emotional experience. We are establishing a writing community; encouraging new writers to share their work and seasoned writers to write and share new material. Our headliners are inspiring and our open mic-ers no less so! There are always surprises, laughs and usually a few tears as well. Come and join the ride! Here’s a link to our promo:

Follow them on Twitter or Facebook!

Why voters think they should win:

this night stopped me hating spoken word nights – now i love them!

Love Verbose! It’s such a fun night, some really talented writers and they always have ace headliners. It’s my favourite night. You never know what you’re going to get and Zena and Jo manage it all really well. They are very warm and funny. Top night!