Poetry fringe festival was a feast of the spoken word

The poets who took part in the Arran Poets' night

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Arran recently enjoyed a fantastic McLellan Poetry Fringe Festival with four days of spoken word and poetry events.

The festival kicked off with an Arran Poets’ night at the Brodick Bar, where present and former talented Arran poets performed their work.

David Underdown launched his new collection Jigsaw; Damian  Beeson Bullen read from his new book Black Watch Brodick and Gillian Lockhart launched her recently published book Small Thoughts from an Island in the Clyde.


Eilidh How (known on the island as Helen), Cicely Gill  and Jules Lee also read a selection of their wonderful poems and the evening ended with the amazing Tim Pomeroy entertaining the audience with some of his poems and songs.

On Friday evening the audience at the Arran High School was treated to a mesmerising performance from two of Glasgow’s best spoken word and performance poetry artists, Imogen Stirling and Kevin P Gilday, who both then ran successful and popular workshops on Saturday morning.

Three memorable and spectacular shows took place on Saturday afternoon and evening, being Luke Wright’s The Ballad Seller; readings from award winning Scottish poets Hugh McMillan and Sharon Black , finishing up with the festival headline act Luke Wright in the evening.

The grand finale of the festival weekend took place on Sunday evening at the Lamlash Golf Club where the winning and commended poems from the 2021 McLellan Poetry Competition were read – four by the poets in person, being Hugh McMillan, Sharon Black, Steve Pottinger and Matthew James Appleby.


The other six poems, whose authors were unable to make it to Arran at the weekend, including the winning entry by Jeanette Burton Poem in Which Dudley Moore Bumps into my Grandmother, being read by Carol and Jules Lee. All poems can be read on the McLellan Arts website

In the second part of the evening, the fringe festival was brought to a close in fine style with a breath-taking performance by Kevin P Gilday and the Glasgow Cross.

This is a collaboration between award winning poet Kevin (Sonnet Youth, NTS, BBC) and multi-instrumentalist Ralph Hector (The Paperback Throne, Pelts, Iffy Folk Records).

The Glaswegian two-piece combined contemporary spoken word with a dynamic palette of aural textures to create a unique sound that has already led to support slots with the likes of Akala.

This performance was a beautiful and fitting end to the 2022 fringe festival which the audience enjoyed with the beautiful background of the sun setting over the Arran hills beyond.

The 2022 McLellan Poetry competition is now open for entries – entry form and further details at https://www.arrantheatreandarts.co.uk/poetry-competition – with first prize of £1,300; second prize of £450; third prize of £150 and five commendations of £50 each.

This year’s judge is the Ted Hughes Prize winner and renowned poet Hollie McNish.

The winning and commended entrants will be invited to read their poems on Arran on Sunday August 28, following a performance on Arran by Hollie on Saturday August 27.

Tickets for this event will be on sale via Tickets Scotland  shortly and are due to be in high demand with Hollie currently playing to sell-out audiences around the country.

Carol Lee

Photographs: Kiera Robertson Photography