Bad Language with Maz Hedgehog

Announcement: Hey! Open mic spots for this night are now available! Read the roolz by clicking here, then get in touch asap.

British fantasy poet Maz Hedgehog will headline Bad Language on March 27th, as she releases a new book inspired by John Keats and Neil Gaiman.

Maz is a spoken word poet and performer whose debut collection of original poems, Vivat Regina, takes on conquest and duty and freedom and flowers and fairies. The book, released on Superbia Books, evokes the English epic poem The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, while also asserting the place of black queer perspectives and viewpoints within British cultural identity.

Expect magical beasts and beings – and a wonderful set of performers to join Maz on March 27th. On Sunday March 10th, we will release ten open mic spots for this event, with at least five spots reserved for those who haven’t read with us before. Look out for the announcement, and be quick to email when it appears!

“I haven’t read poetry in over a decade. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read this collection. Maz’s language and imagery skills are phenomenal. They carried me away into misty, faerie realms with the entire range of human emotions.” Online customer review

Wednesday 27 March 2019, 7.30pm at Gullivers (opposite The Castle), Oldham Street, Manchester. Admission: pay what you feel – donate to this event in advance here. Venue details here. Join our Facebook event here.


Bad Language with Ralph Dartford: Recovery Songs

Ralph Dartford presents a brand-new spoken word story about England, people trafficking, addiction, the causes of addiction, and the recovery from its destructive forces.

Written and performed by A Firm of Poets founder, Ralph Dartford, and based on his own true experience of addiction. An unflinching, sometimes funny confessional that might change your mind about everything you thought you knew about addiction.

Ralph’s work has appeared in the Guardian, Pulp Faction, Stirring (US), Word Life and London Territories amongst many other publications. His first volume of poetry, ‘Cigarettes, Beer and Love’ received wide acclaim, and his second, ‘Recovery Songs will be published in autumn 2019.

Support for this gig comes from the wonderful Lewis Harlock, Bad Language regular, an imminent star of the Greater Manchester Fringe, and “an artist who is daring and deserves to be listened to” (Louder than War).

Book your ticket here.

‘Praise for Recovery Songs:~
A brilliantly written piece most writers push themselves to imagine but delivered with the grinding wide eyed sincerity of genuine first-hand experience.’ Thick Richard
‘Great support.’ Kate Tempest
‘This is proper, visceral stuff about real life. Poetry for the rest of us.’ Luke Wright

Thursday 23 May 2019,7.30pm. The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester. Advance ticket donation: £5. Venue details here.  Join the Facebook event here.

Bad Language with Ciarán Hodgers

2019 january hodgers

Bad Language is back with a wellie full of wordsmithery at the Northern Quarter’s top tavern of tomfoolery Gullivers. Join us on Wednesday January 30th for our first event of 2019.

Our headliner will be multi-award winning Irish spoken word poet Ciarán Hodgers. He won Manchester’s influential Word War slam in 2017. He also scooped the Sean Dunne Young Writers Award and the International Pangaea Poetry Slam, and was billed as one of Lingo’s 2016 ‘Powerhouse Poets at the top of their game’.

Not satisfied with performing at The Royal Albert Hall and playing Guy Garvey’s Meltdown Festival, and being shortlisted for the 2018 OutSpoken Prize for Performance, Ciarán is now blazing a trail with his debut poetry collection Cosmocartography, described as “a love letter to celebration, survival, love and resistance.”

“Passionate, lyrical and honest.” Joelle Taylor
“Ciarán’s poetry feels like a home made of words.” Dominic Berry

Open mic list this month:
Georgia Cranstone! Hannah Clark! Jack Greeney! Meron Berhanu! Miles Hadfield! Robert Steventon! Rory Dickinson! Scarlett Ash! Siobhan Hoy! Tom Ainsworth!

For 2019, we have brand new hosts! We’re delighted to welcome rising stars Fat Roland and Joe Daly as comperes– wait, that’s the same old hosts. They’re rubbish. I’m not coming if they’re going to be there. Pfffrt.

Let’s do live literature Bad Language style, and let’s keep doing it until we run out of words to–

Wednesday 30 January 2019,7.30pm at Gullivers (opposite The Castle), Oldham Street, Manchester. Admission: pay what you feel. Venue details hereHere’s the Facebook event.

Bad Language with Shirley May

Shirley May box

We are hugely excited to announce SHIRLEY MAY as our final headliner of 2018.

Shirley is the director of Young Identity writing collective, which does amazing work with teens and young adults. She has performed nationally and internationally, including the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York and the Calabash writing festival in Jamaica.

Her debut collection SHE WROTE HER OWN EULOGY (Wrecking Ball Press) is largely inspired by her family’s history and is a deeply emotional and often lyrical collection.

It might still be worth seeing if there are open mic spots available for this month: email Our open mic line-up will be announced soon.


More about the book (details here):

Shirley May’s She Wrote Her Own Eulogy takes the reader on a journey, the landscape of Kent and Manchester brought to vibrancy via Jamaica. It is a twisting road, the displaced lives making new communities on strange soil, the stories kept and told and shared. It is wisdom, it is memory, and it is future and hope.

“Blazing with emotion, challenging all the senses, this life-affirming collection demands to be read. Charting a journey from Jamaica, these beautifully crafted poems offer a fresh, detailed insight into the experience of migration.”
– Sue Roberts, BBC Producer

Wednesday 28 November 2018, 7.30pm at Gullivers (opposite The Castle), Oldham Street, Manchester. Admission: pay what you feel. Venue details here. Here’s the Facebook event.

Bad Language at Halloween – with Beth Underdown

Beth Underdown box

Our headliner for October 2018 is Beth Underdown, a Rochdale writer whose debut novel The Witchfinder’s Sister is based on the witch-hunts orchestrated by Matthew Hopkins in seventeenth century Essex. She now lives and works in the Peak District, and teaches others how to write. She recently teamed up with the National Trust archive to produce Love makes as many, ghost stories capturing the voices of women at Quarry Bank Mill. We can’t think of a better Halloween headliner.

Spread the word to your ghoul-friends and aaaargh-quaintances that we have ten brilliant open mic readers at Bad Language in Manchester on October 31st. You’re noticing a theme, right? Five of those open mic spaces are reserved for people who have never performed with us before. Line-up announced shortly.

Wednesday 31 October 2018, 7.30pm at Gullivers (opposite The Castle), Oldham Street, Manchester. Admission: pay what you feel. Venue details here. Here’s the Facebook event.

Jess Green – Book Tour

Jess Green live in Manchester
We are delighted to bring Jess Green to Manchester for her book tour of the acclaimed A Self Help Guide To Being In Love With Jeremy Corbyn.

Jess Green

Jess Green is BBC Poetry Slam Champion 2018, and her poem Dear Mr Gove has clocked up a third of a million views on YouTube.

Her first collection Burning Books was taken from her spoken word show set in an inner city secondary school suffering the cuts and blows of the Coalition government.

Her second collection A Self Help Guide To Being In Love With Jeremy Corbyn (Burning Eye Books) sees her falling head over heels in love with Jeremy Corbyn and his “raw Communist sex appeal”.

A Self Help Guide To Being In Love With Jeremy CorbynWe’re holding this at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Let’s give Jess a brilliant Manchester audience. Advance tickets are £7 and are on sale here.

‘Somehow Jess manages to be hard hitting in a way that’s so subtle you don’t realise until the bruises comes up’ – Scroobius Pip

With support from Jackie Hagan, a Bad Language favourite, and award-winning working-class, queer, disabled, poet, performer, theatre-maker and Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow.

Sunday 28 October 2018, 7pm at International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester. Tickets: £7 in advance. Venue details here. Here’s the Facebook event.

Bad Language in September: bumper open mic

Bad Language is back with a bumper open mic sesh at Gullivers on Wednesday September 26th.

Bad Language is a great place for established and up-and-coming names to try out poetry or fiction. Our audience is super friendly and our performers are super varied. Page poet? Shy novelist? Oulipo unicyclist? Come and read your stuff. (Small print: maybe leave the one-wheeled bike at home.)

Here’s how it works:
> Everyone gets four minutes
> Everyone applauds loads
> Your hosts Joe Daly and Fat Roland will be the most shambolic thing on the night, so our performers look great
> We reserve half our places for those new to Bad Language 

No headliner this month. Just an amazing open mic on one of the nicest stages in Manchester. Come see!

Wednesday 26 September 2018, 7.30pm at Gullivers (opposite The Castle), Oldham Street, Manchester. Admission: pay what you feel. Venue details here. Here’s the Facebook event.