The international spoken word and poetry scene is bigger and more popular than ever. As Babble On returns to the Book Festival for the fifth year, it takes you one step closer to the raw talent and gives you the chance to get to know some of the most exhilarating and talented poets writing today a lot better. With poets performing solo or as part of a dynamic duo, each event cuts to the heart of the shiny multi-faceted jewel that is poetry and spoken word in performance. Let the poets and the poetry speak for themselves. Babble On is programmed and produced by Luke Wright and Becky Fincham.
POWERFUL, PLAYFUL VERSE
Thursday 16 August 18:30 - 20:00
Prize-winning poet and Neu! Reekie! co-founder, Michael Pedersen pays homage to a dear friend and Scottish hero recently lost: Frightened Rabbit frontman and artist Scott Hutchison. Pedersen and Hutchison launched the poet’s second collection Oyster, which Scott deftly illustrated, at the Book Festival last year following a sell-out UK and South Africa launch tour. Today’s event was planned with them both but has been reworked due to the sad loss of the talented Hutchison. Join Michael Pedersen and some of his and Hutchison's close friends: Hollie McNish, Withered Hand and E A Hanks as they perform their own work, share Scott shaped stories and raise an Oyster in the great one’s name.
Matt Abbott & Joelle Taylor
EXPLOSIVE POLITICAL POETRY
Friday 17 August 18:00 - 19:00
All the snarl and spit of spoken word in one explosive show. Joelle Taylor is an award-winning slam poet, playwright and spoken word artist. Her collection Songs My Enemy Taught Me, inspired by her workshops with vulnerable women, powerfully evokes their struggles. Matt Abbott, a poet and activist from Wakefield, returned to a teenage love for punk poetry after fronting indie band Skint & Demoralised. His current one-man show Two Little Ducks earned him 5* reviews.
Claire Askew & Zaffar Kunial
POETRY’S NEW GUARD
Friday 17 August 19:30 - 20:30
The received world is challenged and presented afresh, as Zaffar Kunial and Claire Askew present their affecting poetry collections. A star of the Faber New Poets scheme, Kunial reads from his hypnotic and much-anticipated first collection Us. Well-known figure in Scotland’s poetry and spoken word scene, Askew performs from This Changes Things, her debut collection shortlisted for multiple awards including the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Two unmissable talents. Chaired by Sasha de Buyl.
80S INDIE VERSE PLAY
Saturday 18 August 13:45 - 14:45
We all want something to believe in. It’s 1987 and Frankie Vah gorges on love, radical politics and indie stardom. But can he keep it all down? Following the multi award-winning What I Learned From Johnny Bevan, Luke Wright’s second verse play deals with love, loss and belief, against a backdrop of skuzzy indie venues and 80s politics. Expect frenetic guitars, visceral verse and a Morrissey-sized measure of heartache.
Use Your Voice: Spoken Word Workshop
Saturday 18 August 15:30 - 16:30
Spoken word is everywhere - from TV adverts to Spotify to Youtube. Two of the UK's leading spoken word stars, Salena Godden and Molly Naylor, host a fun and energetic workshop that will give you everything you need to start writing and performing like a pro. What thoughts do you want to share with the world?
Salena Godden & Molly Naylor
FRANK, FUNNY AND FULL OF DARK JOY
Saturday 18 August 18:45 - 19:45
Meet two of the sharpest, wittiest voices from the spoken word scene. Famed for her electrifying live performances, poet, memoirist and broadcaster Salena Godden’s spoken word album LIVEWire was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award 2017. Poet, scriptwriter and theatre-maker Molly Naylor’s first collection Badminton — part confession, part manifesto — is filled with poems that speak frankly and boldly about learning how to live.
Vanessa Kisuule & Hannah Jane Walker
RISING STARS OF SPOKEN WORD
Saturday 18 August 20:00 - 21:00
Wowing audiences with exhilarating performances is second nature to Vanessa Kisuule and Hannah Jane Walker. Writer, performer, burlesque artist and ten-time slam champion Kisuule performs work from her collection A Recipe For Sorcery; a recipe book for personhood that changes with the seasons and the political climate. Fringe First winner Hannah Jane Walker writes poems that are unexpectedly funny, sharp and conversational; we’ll be getting a sneak preview of brand new work from her upcoming collection Shark!.
Mike Garry & Deanna Rodger
BEAUTIFUL, EXPANSIVE SPOKEN WORD
Sunday 19 August 12:00 - 13:00
Meet two big-hearted poets who take you from the city gutters right up to the stars. Mike Garry supports John Cooper Clarke on tour and has collaborated with New Order, Iggy Pop and Philip Glass. Deanna Rodger is one of the most celebrated young poets in Britain today, a star of London's spoken word scene and featured in the BBC’s Women Who Spit series. I Did It Too contains powerful poems of the political and personal.
Elvis McGonagall & Murray Lachlan Young
FLAMBOYANT SATIRICAL VERSE
Sunday 19 August 15:30 - 16:30
Distinctive wordsmith Murray Lachlan Young, BBC 6 Music's poet-in-residence, offers flamboyant punchy wit and brooding subtext in this stunning live show drawing on his acclaimed How Freakin’ Zeitgeist Are You? Stand-up poet, armchair revolutionary and recumbent rocker Elvis McGonagall is the sole resident of The Graceland Caravan Park somewhere in the middle of nowhere. He gives us Elvis McGonagall Takes a Look on the Bright Side, recently broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
EPIC POETIC TALENT
Sunday 19 August 17:45 - 18:45
A captivating hour with award-winning playwright and poet Inua Ellams as he performs selections from his 2017 Ted Hughes Award shortlisted work #Afterhours. His residency at the Southbank Poetry Library took him on a voyage through time and place to the heart of the library’s archive and through his own life story, selecting and responding to poems published during each of the first 18 years of his life.
Rosy Carrick & Michael Pedersen
DISTINCT POETIC VOICES
Sunday 19 August 20:00 - 21:00
Quick-witted and charismatic, Rosy Carrick’s eccentric style, dense rhyme structures and forceful imagery have won her international acclaim. Today, she reads from her debut collection Chokey. Joining her is co-founder of Neu! Reekie! Michael Pedersen, whose wit and verve have brought plaudits from names as diverse as Irvine Welsh and Stephen Fry. He gives us his recent collection Oyster, illustrated by Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison.
While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Babble On - Spoken Word are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.
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