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LiveWire Salon Poets with Salena Godden

Our ‘LIVEwire’ Salon is a proven hit at the festival, and this year we have no fewer than twelve renegade poets performing for you at some point over the weekend.


One of the UK’s foremost poets, Salena is also Byline’s Poet Laureate. After gracing global stages for 25 years, her rebellious livewire spirit unparalleled. Her ‘Pessimism Is For Lightweights’ pamphlet took UK poetry by storm last summer, and her ‘LIVEwire’ album was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award in 2016.

Connor Byrne is a poet and performer from Brighton, now living in London. Their work explores gender and the relationships we have with others and the world. They have performed nationally and internationally, at festivals, competed in slams and self published two pamphlets.

Sunnah Khan is a Scottish Pakistani poet living in London, Sunnah writes poems of belonging and displacement. When she’s not producing documentaries, she’s either standing on her head or performing with her poetry collective 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE.

Oakley - A writer and performer originally from the West Midlands, they’ve received playwright development from Birmingham REP and gained a place on Royal Court’s playwrights programme. Oakley has performed nationwide, has been published by #Queer in the US and has a forthcoming collection ‘The Rainbow as a Bleeding Sky’ on Verve.

Sheena Patel - A London-based poet, and part of the exciting and much spoken about collective 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE. Sheena’s writing is a surrealist interweaving of sex and myth, and she can be a little bit rude sometimes.

Repeat Beat Poet - A broadcaster and hip hop poet, PJ fuses traditional poetics with hip hop culture to capture and extend moments of time, thought, and feeling. He produces and hosts monthly poetry events Boomerang and Pen-Ting and his radio show #TheRepeatBeatBroadcast, and is a house emcee with hip hop label Imaginary Millions.

Oli Spleen - In 2018 as a tribute to his recently deceased father, Oli recorded his second solo album ‘Gaslight Illuminations’. It was also inspired by the emotional fallout of a toxic relationship. It’s been described as “a gloriously dark and haunting work” and “a mesmerising work from an artist who has embraced his maturity”.

Maria Ferguson - A multi award-winning theatre maker from Essex, Maria is also a highly acclaimed poet. Her début one-woman show ‘Fat Girls Don’t Dance’ won Best Spoken Word Show at the 2017 Saboteur Awards, and follow-up ‘Essex Girl’ won Show Of The Week at VAULT 2019. It tours from September to November.

Toria Garbutt - A rising star of the UK scene, Toria has been touring with Dr John Cooper Clarke since spring 2016, both at home and abroad. Her début album ‘Hot Plastic Moon’ was released by N&T, and her début collection ‘The Universe and Me’ has been hailed by The Guardian and Radio 4.

Joelle Taylor - An award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor who has recently completed a world tour with her latest collection ‘Songs My Enemy Taught Me’. Joelle is widely anthologised, the author of 3 full poetry collections and 3 plays and is currently completing her début book of short stories ‘The Night Alphabet’.

Michelle Fisher - A writer and performer from Glasgow, Michelle was a resident artist at Roundhouse from 2017-18 and has been commissioned by the likes of BBC and Huffington Post. Her work explores wider societal issues, including class and poverty, and how they impact on our daily lives.

Matt Abbott - A poet, educator and activist from Wakefield, Matt formed spoken word label Nymphs & Thugs in 2015 and fronts alternative act Skint & Demoralised. His ‘Two Little Ducks’ show explores the working-class Leave vote and the refugee crisis.

Earlier Event: August 25
Radio KWG
Later Event: August 26
Tim Burke memorial film