Saboteur Awards Festival 2020 – What’s all the fuss about?

If you follow Sabotage Reviews on any of our many social media channels, you have likely noticed that we had some sad news earlier this year. Unfortunately, our application for Arts Council England funding was rejected back in January and we promptly turned to our generous and kind supporters to help us through that blow.

Off the back of receiving the rejection letter, we quickly established a Crowdfunding page and people have been exceptionally generous in donating their hard-earned pounds to try to help us make the Saboteur Awards Festival 2020 come back to Birmingham for another round of celebrations. Alongside this, we’ve also submitted a second funding application that we’ll likely hear the results for before the end of March. We’ve tried to be as pro-active as possible and we’re feeling positive that the awards will live on for another year, whatever happens!

However, it occurred to me (Charley) recently that it might help our cause if people were more certain of what they’re supporting. For the sake of suspense I can’t share details of the entire Saboteur Awards Festival programme, but a taster surely can’t hurt.

We intend to bring back to usual voting procedures with the first round being entirely open, to allow people to nominate artists of their choice for any number of categories. This will lead into the shortlisted voting round, followed by the awards themselves.

For the daytime event, we’re looking to bring an excellent variety of talent, topics and discussion prompts, including the likes of:

  • ‘Poetry as Exploration of the Past’, a panel discussion led by three leading female poets who are borrowing from history in order to craft their poetic writings. This panel looks to interrogate historical fact and how this benefits contemporary poetry and writing.
  • ‘Dry Season’ is a performance poetry show brought by Kat Lyons, a prize-winning poet who is currently based in Bristol. ‘Dry Season’ is a frank and open exploration of early menopause and the lack of accessible narratives that exist around this occurrence. Lyons uses a blend of poetry, found literature and personal experience to bring this show to life.
  • ‘New Poets’ Collective’ is a collective comprised of the winners of the New Poets Prize 2019, as selected by Mary Jean Chan. This is a 40-minute performance, followed by a brief question and answer session, during which time each prize winner will perform their first ever feature-length set ahead of their debut publications being released in June 2020.

These are just three of the events that we have taking place during the daytime, with another panel discussion due to take place and additional performances dealing with topics such as living with a disability, being a 20-something in today’s British culture, and navigating homophobia and transphobia (sometimes inflicted by the ones closest to us). The performances and panels this year were deliberately selected to be as varied and as topical as we could find, and we were delighted by the applications we received.

This year we have also secured an additional room for the daytime event and this space will given over to a small amount of independent publishers. They will be available to discuss their publications from the last twelve months and, of course, sell a few books during the process.

We have done our utmost to up the variety and representation from the 2019 festival, and we hope that is reflected in the events listed here.

If you see something here that you’d like to support, then our Crowdfunding page will be live and waiting for a few weeks longer yet. There are also reward incentives listed on the page for anyone who would like something in return; we’re more than happy to exchange poetry, stories and space on the website for anyone who can afford to donate to the cause.

Thanks so much for reading, sharing and putting up with our constant social media spam relating to this process. As soon as the verdict comes in at the end of March, you’ll be the first to know!

Warm wishes,

Charley and the Sabotage Reviews Team x