Word Central online

Part of our Online events guide

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Shirley May.

Word Central, online, Until 20 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

Central Library may not be open yet (FYI, Manchester Libraries are working towards a partial re-opening as part of Phase 3 of lockdown loosening from Monday 6 July), but its regular spoken word night is alive and kicking in its new fortnightly home online, with the next three guest poets just announced: Shirley May on Thursday 11 June, Henry Normal on Thursday 25 June and Michael Wilson on Thursday 9 July.

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. 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

The second Word Central Online guest poet (the first was Gordon Zola) is Shirley May, the unstoppable founder and director of Young Identity, 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 last guest poet in June is Henry Normal, a writer, 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). Since retiring, Henry has written and performed six acclaimed BBC Radio 4 shows, and he has eight poetry collections published by Flapjack Press; the most recent, The Escape Plan, was published in March.

On 9 July, Word Central welcomes multi-national poetry slam finalist and winner Michael Wilson back to Manchester (he lives in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, where he recently won the Belfast Book Festival slam). He tours extensively and has performed on BBC Radio regionally and nationally, and his collection Bedlam’s Best and Finest (Eyewear, 2018) is an experimental poetic exposé of mental illness and health, a balance of light and shade, and his show and book gained a five-star review during a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Word Central, online

Reoccurring dates
Free entry