Listing for October 2020: Literary Events Online


Although social distancing restrictions have gradually been eased across the UK since our national lockdown, the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet gone away. Subsequently, the challenges of making sure arts events still happen are on-going. Social distancing needs to continue to keep infection rates as low as possible. Various hubs, venues and public spaces are, thankfully, beginning to open again to visitors; but many events are forced outdoors or restrictions imposed on audience numbers. Things can be tricky for organisers and attendees. If you’re getting out and about, these are exciting times; but some people are still feeling isolated, unable to participate in their usual cultural activities.

Here is the good news: creative communities across the UK, and all around the globe, are STILL plugging the void in our lives with some amazing virtual events! No need to match the weather and be gloomy.

The HCE magazine team have created another list of some literary open mics, events and workshops (listed in separate categories below), to help you plan for the weeks ahead. Let’s stay safe AND enjoy our favourite gigs! This is also the perfect chance to “travel” afar and attend events you never thought you could…

Side note: Since hosting our Fire & Dust poetry nights online, unexpected audience  members have included multiple dogs, cats, rabbits, and even one poetry fan less than a month old! Keep an eye out for encounters with similar ‘special guest’ appearances at your virtual experiences.




Thurs 1st Oct, 7.30-10PM (BST) – via Zoom
Fire & Dust Meets: KATY WAREHAM MORRIS – National Poetry Day
(Usually happens in: Coventry, UK)
Free event. Poetry open mic with featured headline act. To attend, grab an Eventbrite ticket (free). Details re: Zoom URL and how to sign up for open mic will be emailed. There is also a Fire & Dust event page on Facebook.

Thurs 1st Oct, 6.30-8PM (BST) – via Zoom
National Poetry Day with Daljit Nagra
Free event, brought to you by Derby Libraries and Derby Poetry Festival, with host Anne Holloway. Readings and a Q&A. More info/register for tickets on the Eventbrite page.

Thurs 1st Oct (7-9PM) – Zoom
WORD Stafford – National Poetry Day
Open mic and anthology readings. More information available on the Facebook event page.

Thurs 1st Oct – download
Find the Right Words (A Bit Live)
(Usually happens in: Leicester, UK)
With headliners Panya Banjoko and Rachel Nwokoro. Open mic – slots can be live or virtual (email Recorded – socially distanced – at Attenborough Arts Centre. Downloadable via host Jess Green’s Patreon.

Thurs 1st Oct, 8-10PM (EDT) – via Google Meet
Slam Free Or Die: Octoberween Thursday Poetry Shenanigans, Part 1
Open mic event. For more details and access, visit the Facebook event page.

Thurs 1st Oct, 5-6PM (BST) – live online
‘Simon Armitage in Dove Cottage’
£7.  Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will be performing his own work in the cottage where William Wordsworth created many of his poems.  More info/register for tickets on the Wordsworth Grasmere event page.

Please note: Some-Antics Spoken Word is no longer online as it’s now back at Bean Gaming (Leicester, UK).
Fri 2nd Oct, 7-10PM. Tickets are £4. Poetry open mic, a poetry slam, DJ mixes and a headline guest. For more details, check out the Facebook event page.

Sat 3rd Oct, 8-10PM (UTC+08) – via Facebook livestream
Spoke & Bird Poetry Open Mic #39: Hibaq Osman & Lawrence Ypil
(Usually happens in: Singapore)
Open mic and featured guests, for local and international poets. For more details, check out the Facebook event page.

Sun 4th Oct, 7.30PM – via Facebook group posts
Yes We Cant
(Usually happens in: Walsall, UK)
‘Alf Ender: Kevin Reid. Headliner:  Casey Bailey. 10 virtual open mic slots available. To book one: email  ‘Open mic’ posts can be written text or video.
For more details, visit the Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists Facebook page.

Tues 6th Oct, 7-11PM (BST) – via Zoom
York Spoken Word
(Usually happens in: York, UK)
Poetry open mic. For more details, visit the Facebook event page.

Tues 6th Oct, 6-7PM (UTC +01) – via Google Meet
Geneva Open Mic Poetry Readings
Hosted by Jeanette Tantillo. Open mic slots available, 5 mins max. Performances can be in English or French. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Wed 7th Oct, TBC, 8.30PM – via Zoom/Facebook
Debarra’s Spoken Word: ‘Haiku Night with Haibun’
Workshop (led by Anton Floyd), special guests and open mic for haiku/haibun. Amanda White, founder of The Daily Haiku, will adjudicate the haiku/haibun Challenge. Email for more info, or check out the Facebook event page.

Wed 7th Oct, 7-9PM (BST) – via Zoom
Crafty Crows: Online Poetry, Clive Oseman plus Open-Mic
Hosted by Josephine Lay and The Gloucester Poetry Society. More information and register for free tickets on the Helm event page.

Wed 7th, 7-9PM (BST) – via Zoom
WORD Stafford and Dream Well Writing Celebrate Dyslexia Awareness
Poetry/Spoken word open mic event. For more details, visit the Facebook event page.

Thurs 9th, TBC – via Zoom
Pure & Good & Right 
(Usually happens in: Kenilworth, UK)
Online for the first time! PGR returns. Open mic plus featured guests. More details TBC – keep an eye on their Facebook page and Twitter.

Fri 9th Oct, 7-9PM – via Zoom
WORD Stafford Season 3 Episode 3 – Fear!
Guest poet: Matty Bob Cash. Poetry slam on the theme of ‘Fear’/open mic for poetry, stories and songs. More details available on the Facebook event page.

Sun 11th Oct, 6-8PM – via Zoom
Mental Health Awareness Day: Spoken Word Event
All welcome to share poetry or listen. There will be an open mic section followed by ‘Hard Times Happen’ and the 2020 Worcestershire Poet Laureate Leena Batchelor will read some of her poems. The theme is Wellbeing / Mental Health (but not mandatory). For more details, visit the Facebook event page. Please email to book an open mic slots/for info about accessing Zoom.

Mon 12th Oct, 8.30-11.30 (Irish Standard Time) – via Zoom/Facebook Live
Ó Bhéal: 8th Virtual Poetry Event
(Usually happens in: Cork, Ireland)
Headliners: Yuyutsu Sharma (live from Kathmandu, Nepal) and Kobus Moolman (live from the Western Cape, South Africa)
Open mic, headliners, live poetry prompt challenge. Details of how to access the gig are here on the website.

Mon 12th Oct, 7.30-9.30PM (BST) – via Zoom
Café Writers: October – with John McCullough and Cai Draper
Poetry open mic event with two headliners. To register/for more info about signing up for open mic, visit the Eventbrite page.

Wed 14th Oct, 7.30-9.30PM (BST) – via Zoom
Protestival Poetry for NHS Pay
Professional poets/spoken word artists will perform alongside NHS workers. To register for a ticket, visit the Eventbrite page.

Thurs 15th Oct, 3PM (EDT) (7PM GMT) – via Zoom
Love in the Time of COVID Poetry Open Mic
(Usually happens in: Ontario, Canada)
More details and Zoom access are available on the Facebook events page.

Thurs 15th Oct, 7.30PM (BST) – via Zoom
The Rainbow Fish Speakeasy
Poetry open mic, hosted by Liv Torc and featuring headline act Elvis McGonagall. Tickers are £2. Visit the Take Art event page for more details/to register for a ticket.

Fri 16th, 7.30PM (BST) – via Zoom
Oooh Beehive’s October Online Orators
Open mic slots and a headline set from Hollie Dee. Free/Pay As You Feel event. For more info or to register for a ticket, visit the Eventbrite page.

Fri 16th, 01:00 (UTC+01) – via Google Meet
Slam Free Or Die Cypher…Beware the Ides of Octoberweeeen!
Meet up, with poem sharing. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Thurs 22nd Oct, 6.30-8.30PM (BST) – via Zoom
October’s Digi-Listener
(Dear Listener usually happens in: Worcester, UK)
Poetry open mic. More info available on the Facebook event page.

Thurs 22nd Oct, 8-9.30PM (UTC + 01)
Write a Note Poetry Open Mic
With musical guest: Leon Chatterton. For more info about open mic slots and accessing the event, visit the Facebook event page.

Fri 23rd Oct, 01:00 (UTC +1) – via Google Meet
Slam Free or Die Cypher
Meet up, with poem sharing. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Sat 24th Oct, 9-11PM (UTC +1) – via Zoom
Gestalt Poetry Open Mic
(Usually happens in Nashville, Tennessee, USA)
Hosted by Amy Hoskins and Caitlyn Parris. For more information and access, visit the Facebook event page.

Wed 28th Oct, midnight-2AM (GMT) – via Zoom
NicquaB Freedom Open Mic
Slots are 5-7 minutes. Poets, spoken word artists, rappers, story-tellers, singers and artists of other kinds are welcome. For more information and access details, visit the Eventbrite page.

Thurs 29th Oct, 8PM (GMT) – via Zoom
Run Your Tongue Online 15!
Spoken word open mic night. For more details and how to access, check out the Facebook event page.

Thurs 29th Oct, 11PM (GMT) – via Zoom
Phoenix Books Virtual Halloween Open Mic
Hosted live from Vermont by poet and artist Bianca Amira Zanella. Open mic slots available on the night. For more details, visit the Eventbrite page.

Fri 30th Oct, 9-10.30PM (UTC) – via Zoom
VerbSwitch: A Halloween Spoken Word Special
Presented by a combined team of Verbose and Switchblade Society. The event will follow Switchblade’s model of open mic performers reading one piece of their own work and one piece of a stranger’s (another open micer), which they will be sent ahead of the event. If you would like to take part in the open mic, email For more details and to register for a free ticket, visit the Eventbrite page.



Mon 28th Sept-Sat 31st Oct
Birmingham (Digital) Literature Festival 2020
With live streamed events, workshops, podcasts and more! For details, visit the Birmingham Literature Festival website.

Various dates in October, 9AM-1PM/10AM-4PM (BST) – via Twitter/community forum
FREE one-day lockdown writing retreats
Motivation and support to get writing. See Writers’ HQ website for more details.

Mon, various dates in October, 10-11AM (BST)
Journaling: A Guide to No-Pressure Writing
Free. See Writers’ HQ website for more details.

Fri, various dates in October, 9PM (BST) – via community forum
Flash Face-Off: A Weekly Writing Challenge
Free. See Writers’ HQ website for more details.

Thurs 1st Oct, 7.30-9PM (BST) – via YouTube Livestream
The New Romantics: A Poetry Cabaret
With Gregory Leadbetter, Rosie Garland and Maria Taylor
More info available on the Eventbrite page.

Thurs 1st Oct-Sat 17th Oct
2020 Digital Birmingham Literature Festival
For more info, visit the festival website.

Friday 2nd Oct, 7.30-10.30PM (GMT) – via Zoom
Oooh Beehive! Online Slam Championship – Heat 6
More details are available on the Oooh Beehive Facebook event page.

Fri 2nd Oct, 7-8.30PM (BST) – via Zoom
Book launch for ‘Anthology of Illness: Call and Response’ (Emma Press)
Hosted by publisher Emma Wright, and feature readings from the poets and Q&A with the publishers. Visit the Facebook event page for more details/Zoom access info.

Mon 5th Oct, 6.30-8PM (BST) – via Zoom
In Conversation with Roy McFarlane
Readings and discussion: Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane and Rob Francis. part of Wolverhampton’s Black History Month programme. More details and tickets on the Eventbrite page.

Tues 6th Oct (and every first Tuesday of the month), 7.30PM (BST) – via Zoom
Birmingham Poetry Stanza group meet-up
Opportunity to share poetry-related news and information, to share poems in progress/finished and get CONSTRUCTIVE (not mean) feedback. Check out the pinned tweet/DM this Twitter account (Rep: Lorraine Dixon) for more details and how to access the meet-up. “Birmingham Stanza will return to a live venue when it is deemed safe to do so. This is a Birmingham based group for folk who love poetry, but we will not turn folk away from other regions around the UK/the world!”

Thurs 8th Oct, 8PM – via Zoom
Poetry Day: Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellows
Hosted by Poetry Foundation & Poetry magazine. Celebrate Poetry Day and the 31st anniversary of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships with a reading and Q&A with the 2020 Fellows: Isabella Borgeson, Luther Hughes, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, Darius Simpson, and Khaty Xiong.More details available on the Eventbrite page.

Sat 17th Oct, 6-7PM
‘Sonnets for Albert’
Readings of tridecasyllabic (13 syllable line) sonnets from Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow Anthony Joseph, featuring an improvised jazz soundscape with Jason Yarde on saxophone and Rod Youngs on drums. Followed by a conversation between Anthony and Jason discussing poetic craft, inspiration, improvisation and recording during lockdown.
Register for a free ticket on Eventbrite.

Sat 17th Oct, 6-8.30PM (CDT) – via Facebook Live
SpoFest Open Mic Poetry and Prose: Special Poet Laureate Event
An event for poetsand authors to promote and share their original works. Poet Laureates representing Missouri: Aliki Barnstone, Walter Bargen and Karen Craigo. Poet Laureates representing Ohio: John Burroughs and Kari Gunter-Seymour. For more details, visit the Facebook event page.

Sat 17th Oct, 5.30PM (UTC + 01) – via Zoom
Interbeing: Poets 4 the Planet
National forum for writers. A pre-recorded film and the live Zoom discussion event, featuring seven UK poets: Miranda Lynn Barnes, Rachael Clyne, Dominic Fisher, Deborah Harvey, Alwyn Marriage, Susan Taylor and Simon Williams. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Tues 20th Oct, 7-8PM (BST) – via Zoom
The Poetry Review Autumn 2020 launch
With readings from Fiona Benson, Luke Kennard, Valzhyna Mort and Kimberly Reyes. The event will be introduced by Review Editor Emily Berry. For more details and to register for access, visit The Poetry Society website.

Wed 21st Oct, 1PM (BST) – via YouTube livestream
‘For the Love of Poetry – 75 Days’
Readings from Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow Hafsah Aneela Bashir and other UK poets, plus discussion with Jerwood Project Manager Nathalie Teitler about poetry during 75 days of lockdown.
Register for a free ticket on Eventbrite.

Thurs 22nd Oct-Sun 1st Nov
Toronto International Festival of Authors 
Performances, interviews, readings & more. See the website for more details.

Thurs 22nd Oct, 7.30-8.30PM (BST) 
Gregory Leadbetter’s Online Launch of Maskwork
Free event. Nine Arches Press poetry book launch. With Gregory Leadbetter, Isobel Dixon and novelist Patrick McGuinness. For more details or to register for a ticket, visit the Eventbrite page.

Fri 23rd Oct, 7PM (BST) – YouTube livestream
Poetry Book Launch: Ian McMillan’s ‘Yes But What Is This? What Exactly?’
Book launch, readings and Q&A with Ian McMillan and Ann Sansom. Hosted by The Book Vault/The Poetry Business. Free event. For more details and to register interest, visit the Eventbrite page.

Fri 23rd-Sun 25th Oct
Manchester Literature Festival: Digital Weekend
Featuring a range of events, opportunities and writers, including Tayari Jones, Brit Bennett, Kae Tempest, Inua Ellams. More info available on the Manchester Lit Fest website.

Sun 25th, 5PM (UTC) – via Facebook Live
“Words, words, words, from the quick and the dead…” With Godfrey Salter and MC Al Hutchins. For access, check out the Facebook event page.

Mon 26th Oct, 7.40PM (UTC) – via Zoom
Poetry Appreciation and Writing – P.A.W.
Monthly informal meet-up, led by Staffordshire Poet Laureate Mel Wardle Woodend. Free event. All welcome to discuss poetry, share recommendations, explore writing tasks, etc. For more details, check out the Facebook event page or email Mel for Zoom access (

Mon 26th- Fri 30th Oct, various events at 11AM (BST)
The National Creative Writing Industry Conference
FREE daily panel discussions. For more info, check out the Comma Press page on Eventbrite.

Thurs 29th Oct, 7PM (GMT) – via YouTube
‘Poetry Against Homelessness’ – Poems by people who’ve experienced homelessness
Free event – donations accepted. Hosted by River Press/Crisis/Miranda Gold. Readings of lockdown work from the ‘I Am Not Who You Think I Am’ collective. This event will go out on The New River Press YouTube channel.

Thurs 29th Oct, 7.30PM (UTC) – via Facebook Live
WonderZoo Hallowe’en Special
Live poetry performances and tarot readings. Featuring Liv Torc, Hannah Linden, Merris Longstaff, Clare Peartree, Raven Rose & Dean Fucking Hutchinson. For more details, visit the Facebook event page



Lockdown Writing Workshops with Jamie Thrasivoulou
Join the Facebook group for more details. Not on Facebook? Search for the workshops on YouTube.

Positive Images Festival Poetry workshop: every last Sunday of the month
Workshop leader: Emilie Lauren Jones
Check out Emilie’s YouTube channel for workshop videos.

Sun 11th Oct, 3-5.30PM (BST) – via Zoom
Loving Cuts: an online poetry editing workshop
Led by Angela Cleland. £15. For more details or to register, visit the Eventbrite page.

Sat 24th Oct, 11AM-1PM (BST) 
‘Inspired by Dogs’: Poetry Workshop and Discussion
Led by former Derbyshire Poet Laureate Matt Black. A workshop designed to help you write enjoyable and thoughtful poems inspired by dogs (and possibly other animals), with a discussion re: how to work towards putting together a poetry collection of your own. Tickets are £16 – includes a copy of Matt’s new poetry book. For more information, visit the Eventbrite page.

Sun 25th Oct, 6-8PM (BST) – via Zoom
World Jam Workshop: Around the World in Poetic Forms
Led by: Leanne Moden
Ticketed – free. “Leanne will be taking participants through a series of writing exercises, using poetic forms from around the world that you may not be aware of. A great opportunity to learn some new ways to write poetry.” To register for a ticket, visit the Eventbrite page.

Tues 27th Oct, 7.15-9PM (UTC) – via Zoom
FRESH SPOKE: Poetry & Song from the Spoke & Lady Nade
Free event – an autumnal celebration of poetry & song with members of The Spoke. More details and register for a ticket on the Eventbrite page.

Wed 28th Oct, 9-10.30PM (GMT) – via video call, platform unknown
Poetry Writing & Spoken Word – Harlem Action Center Virtual Workshop
Free event. Therapeutic writing session, hosted by Sally Dejesus and Poetry Speaks For Us. For more information, visit the Eventbrite page.

Starts: Thurs 29th Oct, 2-4PM or 7.30-9.30PM – via Zoom
8-Week course: ‘Arse From Elbow’ 

Led by: Emma Purshouse, Steve Pottinger & Dave Pitt
A back to basics poetry course, aimed at beginners but all welcome. One 2-hour session per week, but a choice of two different time slots for more flexibility. Pay As You Feel. Places are filling up fast!
Email for the course outline.

Fri 30th Oct (plus Fri 6th Nov and Fri 13th Nov), 2-4PM (BST) – via Zoom
Poetry Workshop series: ‘Let’s Write About the Menopause’ with Leanne Moden
A series of 3 poetry workshops, led by Leanne Moden and Anne Cotton. For women in the Leicester/Leicestershire region. No experience required. All You need to be able to commit to all 3 workshops. Find more info/book your place on the Writing East Midlands website.