On Saturday 18 May at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth, the results of the 2019 Saboteur Awards were announced.

Unfortunately, Bella didn’t snag the award for Best Poetry Pamphlet – congratulations to the winner and other shortlisted nominees! To be shortlisted is a huge achievement, and already more than I had ever dreamt for my first little pamphlet. A huge thank you once again to all who nominated and voted for us – it means the world.

I was also fortunate enough to be at the awards ceremony as a representative of Verve Poetry and Spoken Word Festival, the Birmingham-based festival that I have been involved in organising for the past couple of years. Verve won the category for Best Literary Festival, which was this year’s ‘wildcard’ category! I was thrilled to go up to collect the trophy, and read out a few words from our Co-Director, Stuart Bartholomew. Once again, congratulations to all the shortlisted festivals.

Verve has been a labour of love for all involved, and has gone from strength to strength each and every year. At only 3 years old, we have been blown away by the heights to which Verve has soared – surpassing its ticket sales year on year, outgrowing its old venue and moving into The Old Rep theatre, and now becoming an award-winning festival. Coming just at the time when we’re beginning to think of Verve 2020, this news is a huge boost that will hopefully see us bring the biggest and best Verve Festival to date.

I’ll finish with the small speech I delivered on behalf of Stuart the other night.

We didn’t create Verve to win awards – we wanted more poetry in Birmingham. We wanted Birmingham poets to see amazing poets and also become more amazing themselves. We wanted poetry to be celebrated, not revered.
We wanted everyone, from across the spectrum of our community as well as the full and wonderful spectrum of poetry to feel at home at Verve. We think we’ve done that. We didn’t make Verve to win anything, but we are huge fans of the Saboteur Awards and what they do for Indie literature in the UK – so if we’re going to win anything – this is the thing! Thank you so much.
Stu, Cynthia, Nellie, Alex, Lizzie.

Stuart Bartholomew, Co-Director, Verve Poetry and Spoken Word Festival

Photograph by Thom Bartley.

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