Day 20: Words are Birds

Wednesday 20 June 7pm at Thornhill Primary School  – A fun night of poetry and rhymes for all the family with live performances by Word2018’s poet-in-residence Paul Lyalls and pupils from Thornhill Primary School with very special guest Adisa. £2 Donation to the school on the door.

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Day 20: Futures in the Making

Wednesday 20 June 6-7.45pm at Central Library – A free LGBTQ Creative Writing and mentorship scheme. Futures in the Making is a free creative writing workshop series (prose) for LGBTQ emerging and aspiring writers led by novelist and writer Olumide Popoola. LGBTQ writers of colour are particularly invited to apply.

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Day 19: Drag Queen Storytime and a Circus Talk

Tuesday 19 June – 11am Drag Queen Storytime at West LibraryMeet Cookie MonStar – queen of comedy and improvisation who can rap and sing whilst doing a handstand! Cookie has entertained audiences worldwide with her comedy cabaret shows and was even awarded the accolade of “Forces Sweetheart” for her performances with the British Army. These performances are part of our regular Under Fives mornings.

6pm at Finsbury Library – 250 years of Circus: Islington’s acts, animals and auditoriums 2018 marks the 250th anniversary of the world’s very first ‘circus’ in London. Local guide and historian guide Jiff Bayliss will recount tales and stories about the circus and circus acts in Islington from the ‘Aggie to Zippo via ‘Joey’. Find out about the circuses that performed in the world’s largest arena (at the time) and the internationally famous acts that performed at this huge venue, as well as the life and times of the world’s most famous clown, Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837), who worked and lived in Clerkenwell. Book Here

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Day 18: A day of welcome, wisdom and sweet solitude

Monday 18 June – is a day full of activity and mix of poignant voices starting with the Essence of Welcome an exhibition to celebrate Refugee Week, of poetry and images from the Art and Writing Class held at the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. The class is run by top children’s author Sita Brahmachari (“Worry Angels”, “Artichoke Hearts”, winner 2011 Waterstones Children’s book prize) and illustrator Jane Ray (“Fairy Tales”, “Can You Catch a Mermaid”, “The Glassmaker’s Daughter”). The exhibition is at South Library until Saturday 23 June. Sita and Jane will be working with specially invited classes of Year 3 or Year 4 children today  to celebrate and share the refugee experience, including the contribution they make and their rich cultural experience.

6.30pm Remembering the 4000… at Finsbury Library –The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 saw thousands flee the cities of northern Spain. 4,000 refugee children arrived on British shores in May 1937. They received no government funds and were cared for by communities across Britain. This event in Refugee Week looks back at the experiences of the children and the support they received, with highlights from the Marx Memorial Libray’s archive collections and personal testimony from Herminio Martinez, one of the refugees. Join us for this fascinating talk.

7pm Words of Wisdom at 27 Dingley Place, EC1V 8BR A multitude of different local women’s voices – young and old, past and present – come together for an evening of poetry, stories and song – to share pearls of wisdom and a wealth of experiences gathered across the decades. Presented by All Change.

7pm Sweet Solitude at Free Word – What does it mean to be silent? Does it mean you have been silenced or ignored? Or can it be an active choice, the birthplace of artistic expression? Poet in the City Producers invite an eclectic array of voices from across the artistic landscape to come together in exploring creativity as a means of escaping solitude. Using silent performance, the evening will seek to investigate the societal factors that might cause a person to retreat or be rendered mute, discussing the presence of silenced language in our society and how solitude, both self-imposed and inflicted can manifest itself creatively. Join us as we turn the sound down to the volume of silence for an evening exploring the depth of what’s really being said, when we say nothing at all. Poet in the City Producers is a group of talented 16-25 year olds producing live poetry events, discussions and campaigns to ensure young people have a stake in the future of poetry.

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Word Associations … 18-24 June 2018

Refugee Week – Different Pasts Shared Future

Celebrating 20 years –18-24 June 2018 – Refugee Week is celebrated in the UK each year to coincide with World Refugee Day on 20 June.  It is a unique opportunity to celebrate the positive contributions that refugees and asylum seekers make to the UK and to promote understanding about why people seek sanctuary. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. This year the theme is Different Pasts Shared Future.

Islington refugee and migrant communities bring to the borough a wealth of culture and Refugee Week events help highlight this whilst emphasising refugee issues, and delivering positive educational messages that counter fear, ignorance and negative stereotypes of refugees, through arts, cultural and educational events.

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Free Words of the Week – 3

Broaden your lexical horizons during the festival and look out for these Free Words of the Week, just outside Free Word Centre. Take a picture and join the conversation online with #FreeWordOfTheWeek or go further by putting them on display where you work! Expect to stumble upon a unique new word each week, connected to the festival’s wellbeing themes. Head over to to find out more or sign up for weekly posters.

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Day 17: Cally Festival!

Sunday 17 June 12-6pm – Story Street (off Caledonian Road) -part of the Cally Festival, a huge one-day street party on the Caledonian Road. Presented by Word Festival’s very own poet-in-residence Paul Lyalls, Story Street will see storytelling, poetry, rap, spoken word and readings, with performances from local people and well-known poets and storytellers – including pupils from Thornhill, Copenhagen, Vittoria and St. Andrews (CofE) Primary Schools, Key Changes artists and more. Come and pull up a hay bale and enjoy the show.

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