Word Central onlineSarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Central Library may not be fully open yet (current hours are Monday to Thursday and Saturday 10am-4pm), but its regular spoken word night Word Central is alive and kicking in its new home online, with the latest special guest poet just announced for Thursday 7 October: Attila The Stockbroker.
Hosted by Tony Curry, and presented in association with Manchester Libraries and Flapjack Press (who’ve been entertaining us recently with their Evenings In; more here), you can find Word Central Open Mic Poetry and Spoken Word live streaming every other Thursday from 8pm, each time with a guest performer. The link will be posted on Flapjack Press’s website and Facebook Group Page, and Word Central’s Facebook Group and Event Pages on the day. Room open from 7.45pm.
There’s a sign-up-in-advance open mic, but you need to be quick – the three-minute slots are bookable from noon a week before via email and have been filled by 1.30pm that same day for the first couple of events (performance slots are allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis and if none are left you will be offered a space on the reserve list).
You can find Word Central Open Mic Poetry and Spoken Word livestreaming every other Thursday from 8pm, each time with a guest performer […] In June, it was Henry Normal, whose most recent collection published by Flapjack Press, The Beauty Within Shadow, has just been launched.
The second Word Central Online guest poet (the first was Gordon Zola) was Shirley May, the unstoppable founder and director of Young Identity (check out their performance as part of Our City Speaks), which supports many of Manchester’s young poets. Shirley has recently performed at the Calabash Literary Festival in Jamaica, Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York, the FIND Festival at Berlin’s Schaubühne and The Tate Gallery. Her debut collection, She Wrote Her Own Eulogy, came out on Wrecking Ball in 2018, and you can hear her perform her poem I Can’t Breathe on YouTube.
The guest poets since have been Pete Ramskill, Michael Wilson and Emma Decent. In June, it was Henry Normal, whose most recent collection published by Flapjack Press, The Beauty Within Shadow, has just been launched. Described by Time Out as “distinctly funny” and by The Scotsman as “The Alan Bennett of poetry”, Henry Normal is a writer and performer, TV and film producer, founder of the Manchester Poetry Festival (now the Manchester Literature Festival) and co-founder of the Nottingham Poetry Festival. He has a special BAFTA for services to television, having co-written the multi-award-winning Mrs Merton Show and series one of The Royle Family, collaborated with Steve Coogan on shows including Alan Partridge and films, and founded Baby Cow Productions Ltd (Philomena, Gavin and Stacey, The Mighty Boosh, Red Dwarf, Nighty Night and more).