Spoken word and live literary events in Scotland
An overview of live literary events including Inky Fingers, Unbound and Neu! Reekie!
This article is from 2012.
Where once the poetry slam was the Scots wordsmith’s destination of choice for public verbosity, there are now a growing number of spoken word readings at everything from book festivals to DIY venues. Aspiring writers are quickly catching on to a growing accepted truth of the publishing industry: it isn’t enough just to write the words, you can make people care about them quickly by speaking them aloud.
In Edinburgh, one of the more popular events is Inky Fingers, which runs once a month and welcomes ‘poems, rants, ballads, short stories, diaries and experimental texts’, while the punk-spirited Neu! Reekie! describes itself as ‘a monthly headfuck of poetry, animation and music’. One of the newer venues for spoken word events in Edinburgh is the excellent bookshop Pulp Fiction, deep in the area that hosts the annual West Port Book Festival.
Scotland hosts dozens of book festivals and many of these include participatory events. The most renowned of these is the daily ‘literary cabaret’ Unbound at the Edinburgh International Book Festival every August. In Glasgow, high-profile events include Seeds of Thought, a semi-regular African-themed event showcasing poetry and music, the monthly Reading the Leaves at Tchai Ovna House of Tea, experimental writers group the Word Factory’s monthly Word Play at the Tron, Monosyllabic at the Old Hairdresser’s, the semi-regular poetry night St Mungo’s Mirrorball and the Rio Café’s Last Monday at Rio.
Outside of the Central Belt, events include Poetry Aberdeen and Scotch Corner at the Kay Park Tavern in Kilmarnock. Storytelling groups around the country also hold sessions in Scots and Gaelic, a list of which is found on the website of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, which hosts many similar events itself.