Review: Outspoken


Manchester Central Library – as part of Queer Contact

Outspoken, part of Queer Contact, is a prose, poetry and spoken word evening with an all-female lineup. Hosted by Afshan D’souza-Lodhi, the evening was upbeat and positive from the beginning, with a crowd that was more than happy to celebrate the voices of talented writers in Manchester Central Library.

The mixture of writers throughout the evening – from recognised performers such as Seni Seneviratne, Jackie Hagan, Mandla Rae and Louise Wallwein, alongside brand new voices who were fresh off the back of winning Superbia’s Manchester Chapbook project – gave an exciting vibrancy to the event. The audience were given the opportunity to be taken on the journeys of the writers and hear a real mixture of styles and storytelling. Over the course of the evening we were transported into poems about growing up in care, working class Liverpool, into the mindset of the colour red – and even into a poem about Beauty and The Beast.

A particularly strong performance came from Jackie Hagan, who spoke so eloquently about the working class – with stand up and poetry that packed a punch through humour and hard-hitting reality. Everything that she said felt real and she lit up the stage with her presence. Alongside this, hearing new writing from the winners of Suberbia’s chapbook competition showed the new writing Manchester has to offer – and it will be so exciting to see where these new voices end up.

There’s nothing as encouraging as hearing diverse voices – they teach you so much, open your eyes in different ways and improve the way that you respond to the world around you. The stories were beautiful – and I went away feeling inspired.

This performance has now closed.

© M Holland 2018

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