Bad Language in January: Rosie Garland


Our first headliner in 2017 will be the incomparable Rosie Garland.

Tagged ‘literary hero’ by The Skinny, Rosie’s passion for language was nurtured by libraries. Her debut novel ‘The Palace of Curiosities’ won the 2012 Mslexia Novel Competition & was nominated for both The Desmond Elliott and Polari First Book Prize. ‘Vixen’ was a Green Carnation Prize nominee. Third novel ‘The Night Brother’ is due June 2017.

Her latest poetry collection, ‘As in Judy’ (Flapjack Press) has just been published. She sings with post-punk band The March Violets, & is currently developing a new musical project, Time-Travelling Suffragettes.

Join our Facebook event now.  On our open mic this month is: Drew Lawson, Jackie Hagan, Jasmine Chatfield, Jimmy the Angry, Joe Darlington, Joy Wassell-Timms, Lily Luty, Miles Hadfield, Trisha Starbrook, With Clarity.

Wednesday 25 January 2017 7.30pm at The Castle pub, Oldham Street, Manchester. Free admission.

Bad Language in November: Deborah Andrews



After a brief holiday over the road, we’re BACK where we belong, in the cosy back room of The Castle, for our final event of 2016! Come celebrate a year that has seen a raft of great headliners, wonderful new headliners, our first capital city show, and an award here or there. Everyone keeps going on about how 2016 was a great year that nothing bad happened in, right?

Deborah AndrewsTo help us celebrate we have the wonderful DEBORAH ANDREWS.

Deborah is an award-winning theatre practitioner turned novelist. Her knowledge of the theatre world inspired her debut novel Walking the Lights, which she’ll be reading from tonight. Walking the Lights has recently finished runner-up in the Guardian’s Not the Booker prize. She has an MLitt (Distinction) and an AHRC-funded PhD in creative writing from Glasgow University. She now lives in Lancaster where she teaches creative writing. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies and she is currently writing her second novel. For more info. please visit:

As always, our open mic is ready and waiting – email and grab a slot. Remember, if you’re new, we hold half our slots for people who have never performed for us before.

Wednesday 30 November 2016 7.30pm at The Castle pub, Oldham Street, Manchester. Free admission. Join the Facebook event now.

Bad Language in October: Mark Pajak

Mark PajakWe’re having a fun time right now. We’ve just sold out at Manchester Literature Festival, had an amazing night at the Portico Library, returned to a great reception at the Royal Exchange, and later this month we’re making our London debut at Mirrors festival.

One of our Manchester Literature Festival stars will be our headliner at this month’s special one-off Bigger Bad Language on October 26th at Gullivers.

Mark Pajak’s hot-off-the-press first collection Spitting Distance is the poetry winner of the 2016 Bridport Prize. We’re delighted to welcome him to the Bad Language stage just days after his Bridport win.

Other credits include being a Laureate’s Choice poet, getting commended in Buzzwords Cheltenham poetry prize and The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition, and winning a 2016 Northern Writers Award. He is this year’s Apprentice Poet in Residence at Ilkley Literature Festival.

gullivers-oldham-street-manchester-458x304His collection is full of “insight and imaginative,” says Carol Ann Duffy. “Fresh, urgent, alive, awake, with such a strong visceral impact… There is a fierce intelligence at play here,” says Patience Agbabi.

Alongside Mark on our Gullivers stage, we will have our ten open mic stars. This time, most of them never have performed for us before. Those names are:

Barbara Robinson, Barry Evans, Bryce Main, Charles Eades, Emily Stuart, Johnny Rodgers, Phil Olsen, Ros Ballinger, Stephanie Lonsdale

Join our Facebook event now.

Wednesday 26 October 2016 7.30pm upstairs at Gullivers, Oldham Street, Manchester. Free admission.

Bad Language at Mirrors Festival

mirrorsposterBad Language is off to London. We’re running the literature stage at Mirrors Festival in Hackney.

It’s our first London event and Eddie Argos of Art Brut will be our special guest alongside a stack of other great performers. We last hosted Eddie on a spoken word tour of the UK. His memoir I Formed A Band has a foreword by Black Francis. It’s a delight to welcome Eddie back to a Bad Language stage.

Mirrors Festival, which takes place on October 29, also features Bat For Lashes, Fucked Up, Bill Ryder-Jones and loads more. Latest line-up information here.

Saturday 29 October 2016 7pm to 11pm at Paper Dress Vintage, Mare Street, Hackney Central. Mirrors tickets available here.

Bad Language at the Royal Exchange


We’re back at the Royal Exchange, presenting an hour of inspiring spoken word for their Special FX series.

Fridays in the theatre’s Great Hall feature happy hour drinks and free entertainment, spanning comedy, music and poetry. Bad Language’s Special FX starts at 6pm on Friday September 23 with Happy Hour at the bar running from 5.45pm to 7pm.

We four brilliant writers to the Royal Exchange: Birmingham / Manchester performance poet Ella Otomewo who was featured on 1Xtra’s Words First; writer Jasmine Chatfield who hosts Flim Nite and is part of the Stirred feminist collective; Lily Beck who features in the Centre for New Writing’s Manchester Anthology 2016, and Jake Kraweckyj, a man once called “the perfect mix between Alan Bennett and Alan Partridge”.

And to top it all, entry is completely free.

Friday 23 September 2016 6pm at The Royal Exchange, Cross Street, Manchester. Free admission.

Bad Language in September: Neil Campbell

Our open mic names this month are: Anna Percy, Chris Bainbridge, Dan Parr, Fionna Allen, Gloria Dawson, Harry Jelly, Lewi Martin, Lisa Luxx, Mark G & Naomi Sumner.

campbell_neil_mediumThis month’s headliner is Manchester writer Neil Campbell. He has written short story collections (Broken Doll, Pictures From Hopper), poetry collections (Bird, Bugsworth Diary), a short fiction chapbook (Ekphrasis) and a Nightjar book (Jackdaws). If that’s not enough, he has also appeared in Unthology (Bad Language headliners at the start of this year), Stockholm Review and Best British Short Stories.

For his debut appearance at Bad Language, we’ll be celebrating Neil’s first novel Sky Hooks (Salt). It’s not published until later in October, but we will have exclusive copies for sale on the night.

Praise for Neil’s previous work: “A vital writer, in touch with people and the natural and constructed worlds around us,” says Nicholas Royle. “The dialogue is note perfect and has a studied, savage banality,” says Paul Magrs. “Stories… as eerie and lonely as any Hopper painting,” says Nuala Ní Chonchúir.

Wednesday 28 September 2016 7.30pm at The Castle pub, Oldham Street, Manchester. Free admission. Join the Facebook event now.

Manchester Literature Festival: Henry Normal, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Mark Pajak & Genevieve L Walsh


We’re back at the MANCHESTER LITERATURE FESTIVAL with an exciting evening of new poetry featuring poet, screenwriter and Manchester Poetry Festival founder HENRY NORMAL.

Henry returns to poetry after a glittering career in television comedy bringing us the likes of The Royle Family and The Mighty Boosh; his seventh collection, Staring Directly at the Eclipse, offers poems about death, human frailty and other classic conversation stoppers. The Scotsman called him ‘the Alan Bennett of poetry.’

He will be joined by three other poets: MELISSA LEE-HOUGHTON won a 2016 Northern Writers’ Award, was shortlisted for a 2016 Forward Prize and named a Next Generation Poet in 2014 by the Poetry Book Society; she has published two collections. MARK PAJAK’s poetry won a 2016 Northern Writers’ Award and was shortlisted for a Bridport Prize; his pamphlet Spitting Distance will be published in late 2016. GENEVIEVE WALSH is a fixture of the Yorkshire spoken word scene, and a member of the poetry performance group A Firm of Poets.

Saturday 8 October 2016 7.30pm at International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Cambridge Street, Manchester. Details on the MLF site here. Direct ticket link here.