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Poetry and Prose

The Guiness Toucan

We are a group of poets, authors and lovers of poetry and prose who meet on the first Tuesday of every month in the conservatory at the rear of the Exhibition Hotel in Bootham, York.

Everyone has a slot of about 5 minutes each to read, either their own work, or a favorite piece that they wish to share. We also enjoy an occasional song or short instrumental.

After a suitable break for refreshments we usually offer an opportunity for everyone to have another short read, either to riposte a poem they heard earlier or read something that complements the theme of the evening.

Themed Events

The Spoken Word organises themed events, usually in conjunction with local festivals. For several years now the March event has been focussed on International Women’s Week and run in conjunction with the York Literature Festival. In 2010, we put on a very popular Erotic Poetry Night which was so successful that it was repeated for the Malton Festival in October. We also ran a railway event as part of the 50+ festival at the end of September.

In 2011 we are explore 100 years of International Women’s Day and the Shirtwaist fire.


In conjunction with Stairwell Books we also publish anthologies of our authors’ work. Such books include The Exhibitionists, The Green Man Awakes, Along the Iron Veins and frisson, the latter in conjunction with the Erotic Poetry Night.

We are proud to have published short comic novels by York author, N.E. David; and the Fosdyke stories written by John Gilham. The latter in conjunction with Fighting Cock Press. Our most recent authors are Tim Ellis with Gringo on the Chickenbus, John Walford Running with Butterflies and Pauline Kirk as one half of PJ Quinn and their 1950’s detective novel Foul Play.