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Poetry and Prose

In the Black Swann


The Spoken Word Open Mic. runs on the first Tuesday of every month. Open mic supporters are involved in a range of events organised in conjunction with, or with the assistance of, The Spoken Word hosts.

For further information about any of our events please Email yorkspokenword@yahoo.co.uk

Open Mic  Workshops  Rose & Alan Feature
International Women’s Week  Book Launches
Themed Events Poetry Slam 50+Festival

The Spoken Word - Open Mic.

The First Tuesday of every month at the conservatory at the Exhibition Hotel in Bootham. we start at 7.30 pm: the next few scheduled dates are:


YIWF logo croppedYork International Women’s Festival


Some People have Too Many Legs

Fri Mar 4th 20:00 - 22:30  - The Basement, Coney St, York, York YO1 9QL, UK map

In 2013, after a mystery illness, Jackie lost her leg. This darkly humorous show is about falling in love in awkward circumstances; how, sometimes, loss is not always completely bad; and how to be optimistic and glittery without disposing of your wit or intellect.

Plus Kate Peters Duo & guest poets!

Your Words, Your Voice, Your Performance

Sat Mar 12th 13:00 - 18:00  - Dusk, 8 New Street

Linzi Linklater, workshop leader, York University Creative Writing Fellowship, will help you find those words, the ones hiding in your heart. Rose Drew, not-so-silent poet , will encourage you to say those words out loud, with a performance workshop teaching tone, pitch, how to use a mic.
Afterwards, call in your partners for an 'open mic'! Light refreshments provided.

Cost: 40.00

'Cos that's the way it was- Two Views of Wartime Barrow

Sun Mar 13th 14:00 - 16:00  - The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, Coney St, York, York YO1 9QL, UK map

Most WWII stories focus on the boys and men who served. Lilian tells stories from a Lancashire shipbuilding town: the many ordinary mothers, sisters and daughters left to cope. Lilian has two books, one from the viewpoint of herself, a daughter evacuated to safety age 5, the other from the perspective of her mother.

Cost: 3.00

For all the above more information is available on 07914 271871


 Sessions for Crafting Your Poem, AfterCraft and Approaching Your Poem can be scheduled at any time if there is sufficient demand. Places are 10 per session. Contact Alan on argillott@gmail.com or 01904 733767 to book a place; for Performing Your Poem, contact Rose on rose@stairwellbooks.com or 01904 733767.

York World Book Night North

York Spoken Word & Stairwell Books are hosting a World Book Night event following the World Book Night readings at York Explore!

    • 7.30-9.30
      Thursday, 23 April, Shakespeare's Birthday
      The Exhibition Hotel
      (Home of York Spoken Word for over 9 years)

York Explore starts at 5pm, ends by 8pm - we will be going until half past 9.

      And WE have the FREE BOOKS!!

The free books for York were sent to the York Spoken word so collect your book by coming to the Exhibition hotel after stopping by York Explore to hear Don Walls at 5.15 - 6 pm, and prose authors from 6 until 7.30 pm, or the Poetry By Heart poetry winners.

THEN COME TO US for a pint, a soft drink, a free book and to read something if you want to.

York Explore is on the southern margin of Exhibition Square (entrance: Museum Street). We're on the northern edge of Exhibition Square (entrance in Bootham). So everyone can all enjoy a World Book Night  Crawl between the Exhibition and York Explore across the Square

    Book swap
    New books for WBN
    and come read out some poetry or prose

Feel free to go to York Explore and come back here, repeatedly.

Rose and Alan Features


Book Launches


Theme Nights

From time to time we put on special theme nights, just for fun, or to support a new book or venture. Our erotic poetry nights have been very popular; and the Railway Theme night launched Stairwell Books’ Along the Iron Veins Anthology of Poetry and Prose and similarly a Spoooken Word Ghosts and Ghoulies theme night supported the launch of Pressed by Unseen Feet took place at the York Hotel du Vin at the August Blue Moon.. Every year, the March Open Mic. celebrates International Women’s Day.

 Erotic Poetry Night

We have now run two Erotic Poetry theme nights, one during the 2010 York Literature Festival and one for the First Malton Literature Festival. Both were resounding successes. We are very happy to arrange another event: please contact us for more information.

 York Poetry Slam York Poetry Slam

Yes, Slam Poetry has come to York! This historic event took place at the City Screen Basement Bar. With guest judge Ash Dickenson ably assisted by Jem Henderson, Alan Gillott and Andy Humphrey. The 2011 Slam was won by Tim Ellis by the tiniest of hairs. We look forward to next year’s repeat event.

The York Poetry Slam is organized jointly by The Spoken Word, Speaker’s Corner and Poems, Prose and Pints



 International Women’s Week

This York festival is organised annually by a group of concerned York women to span the internationally recognised International Women’s Day. Established in 1911, the day celebrates the achievements of Women throughout the world. Every year, in support of this effort, Spoken Word participants take part in, or put on, events to support the York International Women’s Week. We also dedicate our March Open Mic atLooking for Githa, Githa Sowerby, Patricia RileyNew Writing North the Exhibition Hotel to this festival.

This year, 2011, is the Hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day, the first of which was celebrated on the 19th March, 1911. Within a week, on the 25th March, in New York City’s Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, more than 140 women, working in sweat shop conditions, were burned to death. These were two key events in women’s struggle for equality and dignity.

In 2011 Patricia Riley, the author of the seminal Looking for Githa, gave two illustrated talks, Against All Tradition, about the playwright Githa Sowerby, hailed in 1912 as the ‘Talent to compare with Ibsen’ by West End critics, completely unaware that KG Sowerby was a woman. Copies of Looking for Githa are available from the New Writing North bookshop.

On 13th of March 2014 we hosted Hollie McNish at the City Screen Basement Bar as one of a series of Nationally acclaimed poets brought to York in 2014.

2013_09_16_HOLLY  444 CroppedHollie, who was supported by local poets and musicians, demonstrated why she won the 2009 UK Poetry Slam and was third in the world at the Poetry Slam finals held in Paris. She is described as MTVs chick of the week, and an Internet Sensation by Best Daily, has performed at Glastonbury, The Albert Hall and has been widely featured on mainstream radio and television including Radio 4, Channel  4, MTV and BBC 2.

Hollie McNish         

50 + Festival

   An Evening of Poetry and Prose

The Spoken Word sponsors an evening of Poetry and prose to celebrate growing older. This event is open to all of any age. Readers under 50 are asked to focus on older mentors, teachers, parents and grandparents. If you are interested in next year’s programme please contact Rose on rose@stairwellbooks.com.

The event  takes place at All Saints Pavement near Coppergate. Entry is free but a donation of 2 is requested toward the cost of Wine and Cheese, or indeed, a donation of wine and cheese.

Guest Poetry Series


    HollieMcNish                          March (International Women’s Week)
    David Lee Morgan
    Richard Tyrone Jones          Tour de France Grand Depart