Poetry with a Punch: Stand Up and Spit – Wednesday 25 May

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Bradford Literature Festival welcomes Stand Up and Spit

A poetry revue with a finely honed political edge. Our lineup is multi-talented, featuring musician, songwriter and comedian John Hegley, author and magician Nick Toczek, artist and spoken word performer Asma Elbadawi, writer and artist Jay Bernard, young poet laureate for London Selina Nwulu, journalist Atif Tauqeer and host (and co-founder of A Firm of Poets) Ralph Dartford. All master poets, all with their own distinctive voices and preoccupations, but with one thing in common: a keen awareness of what’s going on out in the world and a fierce desire to call it out.

It’s poetry with a punch, not a caress, so expect to be confronted with punk spirit, passionate verse and lyrical dexterity across a night of diverse performances as these unique poets take on the big political issues and themes that will challenge, entertain and jolt you upright in your seat.


Venue: Stein Bierkeller Bradford, Morley Street, Bradford BD7 1AQ
Date: Wednesday 25th May
Time: 7pm


Jay Bernard Asma Elbadawi John Hegley Selina Nwulu Nick Toczek - Ofi Mag Ralph Dartford Atif Tauqeer
Jay Bernard is the recipient of a Foyle Young Poet award (2005). She was the inaugural 2012 writer-in-residence at the Arts House and National University of Singapore and 2013 City Read young writer-in-residence at London Metropolitan Archives. Her second book, ‘English Breakfast’, appeared in 2013. In her own words: ‘I am interested in graphic/public art, film, literature, technology, cyber-feminism, queerness and impending doom(s).’

Asma Elbadawi was born in Sudan and moved to Bradford when she was one year old. As a dyslexic poet, poetry has helped her make up her own rules for using words and she writes about the everyday, from conversations with a friend to nostalgia for her home country. Asma has a Masters degree in visual art and has been chosen as one of the final six poets for Words First, a collaboration between BBC Radio 1Xtra and The Roundhouse.

John Hegley has performed his words sung and spoken in just about every live setting you can imagine: from schools to prisons, the British Library to Glastonbury Festival. He has produced more than 10 books of verse and prose pieces, two CDs and one mug, creating material about dog hair, potatoes and handkerchiefs in a philosophical framework. He is an occasional dancer on stage and page, is a heavily published author and an urgent ukulele player.

Selina Nwulu is a writer, poet and performer and the third Young Poet Laureate of London. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies including collections by the RSA, Lunar Poetry and Emma Press. Her first chapbook collection, ‘The Secrets I Let Slip’, was published by Burning Eye Books in September 2015. She has also performed at Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe and Fiery Tongues Festival in Ruigoord, Holland.

Nick Toczek is a writer and performer from Bradford. Throughout the 1970s and 80s he toured with bands and as a poet, and ran both music and poetry clubs in Yorkshire, becoming an integral part of the Ranting scene. Since the mid-90s Nick has been a bestselling children’s writer. He is also a professional close-up magician, a skilled puppeteer, a prolific print journalist and an experienced broadcaster.

Ralph Dartford hails from Basildon, Essex, and is the founder member of highly acclaimed spoken word collective, A Firm of Poets. Ralph has been published in The Guardian, Stirring Magazine (US), Pulp Faction, Exterminating Angel Press (US) and London Territories. His first collection, ‘Cigarettes, Beer and Love’, was published by Ossett Observer Presents in July 2013.

Atif Tauqeer is a journalist working with Deutsche Welle Radio. His Urdu poetry, which has been published in several collections, is often charged with frustration at the political situation in his home country of Pakistan. He is currently working on his first English novel.