Waterstones Birmingham, the city’s biggest bookshop and home to a vibrant programme of literature events is readying itself to host VERVE, the city’s first festival of poetry and spoken word. The festival launching in February 2017 and spanning four days, will see events running over all six floors of the store and in a specially constructed indoor poetry marquee.
Its stellar line-up features established as well as up and coming poets, internationally acclaimed talent and undiscovered local artists, writing workshops, spoken word masterclasses, poetry slams and lively children’s poetry and storytelling events – all under one roof. Confirmed poets include 2016 Costa Book shortlisted Melissa Lee Houghton, PBS New Generation poet Daljit Nagra and Mona Arshi, winner of the 2015 Forward prize for Best first collection.
There is a strong family strand too with all of the children’s events free to attend. The Little Tyke Open Mic event encourages 6-16 year olds to try their hand at performing poetry. For those who want to write a poem there is a workshop themed around Myths and Monsters.
Emma Wright of The Emma Press, curator of the children’s festival says:
Poetry should be a part of every child’s life. I’m delighted that VERVE is supporting the children’s strand of the festival and I’m excited about all the great authors we’ll be showcasing across the weekend. I hope we will inspire some young people to read and write poetry themselves.
There are poetry workshops on offer for adults too. Clive Birnie of Burning Eye Books discusses how your smart-phone can unlock creativity while Jane Commane of Nine Arches Press presents some tips on compiling and editing your poems before submitting to a publisher.
The UK’s thriving spoken word scene is represented in a dazzling series of events, featuring slams and showcases including Out-Spoken Press – the publisher behind ‘the best spoken word night in London.’
Lead programmer and manager of Waterstones, Stuart Bartholomew, says:
I want VERVE to reflect Birmingham itself: Urban, confident, diverse and full of energy. Verve’s programme represents the very best poetry currently being performed and written in the UK. We’re incredibly excited about it and want as many people as possible to enjoy it.
Ticket prices are offered at an affordable level with individual events priced at £6/£4, festival passes at £35/£25 and workshops at £15/£10.
Verve Festival of Poetry and Spoken Word runs 16th-19th February 2017
Waterstones 24-26 High Street, Birmingham B4 7SL
Tickets available via the website: www.vervepoetryfestival.com