Live literature night Verbose – bringing words to the ‘burbs – is back after a summer break, but under new ownership, with Jo Howard and Zena Barrie at the helm. Continuing tradition, there will be three headliners plus open mic performers – but breaking with tradition, there will now be a theme at every monthly outing.
Jo and Zena have been writing together since they were teenagers, so the theme they’ve chosen for September’s Verbose is teenagers: think toe-curling scribbles from the days of yore alongside brand-new pieces about teenage life, including work by a full-female line-up: Lisa Harding, Alex Keelan and Valerie O’Riordan.
Playwright and award-winning short story writer Lisa Harding’s debut novel, Harvesting, about human trafficking in Dublin, was published in April to critical acclaim, with Roddy Doyle saying: ‘Harvesting is shocking – and shockingly good. It is thought-provoking, anger-provoking, guilt-provoking, and most importantly it’s a brilliantly written novel.’
You may have spotted Manchester-based writer and poet Alex Keelan’s work before – her play The Loves of Others won Best Comedy Award at the Greater Manchester Fringe 2017, while Angel of the House re-ran earlier this year at Hope Mill Theatre as part of the Wonder Women Festival and was described by Manchester Theatre Awards as ‘intelligent and engaging’.
Valerie O’Riordan is a short story writer, widely published in many journals, including Unthology, Fugue and Litro, and a Bristol Short Story Prize-winner. A former editor of The Manchester Review, she is now Senior Editor at The Forge Literary Magazine and a member of international writing collective The Fiction Forge.
Looks like Jo and Zena are starting as they mean to go on. Expect Good Things.