Saboteur Spotlight: Best Spoken Word Performer 2021, Luke Wright!

Congratulations on your recent win at the Saboteur Awards Festival 2021! How did you feel when you found out that you’d been shortlisted this year?

Surprised! I had been avoiding the online world and had completely forgotten they were coming up, so it was especially nice to know people had put my name forward even though I hadn’t asked them to!

Do you feel the pandemic has impacted your work at all; made it harder, or perhaps even easier, to reach people and to promote what you’re doing?

It’s been very tough not gigging. It’s a huge part of who I am. I had hoped I’d double my writing output now I wasn’t on the road a few nights a week, but turns out I didn’t have double the number of ideas, nor the necessary motivation. There have been upsides: seeing more of my kids, enjoying my house, actually have weekends to see friends. I think I might try and do fewer gigs in the future, but for now I’m really looking forward to hitting the road again and gulping England down in great lungfuls.

Are you working on anything at the moment that you might be able to tell us a little about?

I’m off on tour with The Ballad Seller – a show of narrative poems which I’ve rewritten from their original street ballad form. The talks are big and bawdy and loads of fun. They start on 28th May and have about 30 dates through to December.

I’m also putting together a new show of poems based on my new collection – The Feel-Good Movie of the Year. The show is called Come! Come On! Meet Me! and it’ll be the most personal thing I’ve done to date, full of hearts being used as the venues for squat parties and grief and big, bounding unboundaried love.

And during lockdown I’ve made two albums worth of tunes with multi-instrumentalist/producer, Cobbler. So we’ve formed a band called The People Who Run The Country and we’ll be doing festivals and punishing our ageing bodies this time next year. Watch this space.

Of course, one of the real shortfalls of not being able to run a live awards show is that people miss out on the opportunity to share an acceptance speech. While you’ve got the platform to, is there anything you’d like to share with readers about your win?

Just that I’m delighted to have won. There are a bunch of people who regularly support my work who I’d like to thank as well: Pasco-Q Kevlin at the mighty Norwich Arts Centre, my publicist Steve Forster, my go-to guy for lights, tech and films Mark Hannant, my pal John Osborne who inspires me and reads my work, and my family who put up with the itinerant lifestyle and the mumbling of lines of poetry under my breath at the dinner table. And thanks to the team at the Saboteur Awards who put this whole thing together. It’s nice to know live poetry is being taken seriously.

You can keep up with Luke and his work through both Twitter – @lukewrightpoet – and Instagram – @mrlukerwright – where he’ll be sharing information about his upcoming works. For now, though, we’d like to say a huge congratulations to Luke again for being the Best Spoken Word Performer for 2021!

Stay tuned for our next spotlight, due to be released on Wednesday, June 2nd.