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Spoken Word in the Secret Garden

Third Thursday of the month

"What if I know, before the Summer goes

Where dwelt this bitter frenzy shall be rest?

What is it now, that June shall surely bring

New promise, with the swallow and the rose?

My heart is water, that I first must breast

The terrible, slow loveliness of Spring."

- Dorothy Parker

Our Spoken Word evenings hosted by Sophie Clarke continue this June in the Secret Garden at the Mansion House.

If you are unfamiliar with the format, Spoken Word events encompass a huge variety of writing and performance styles, from the intimately personal and heart-breaking to the uproariously funny and celebratory. Poetry in all its forms will be the main feature, along with memoirs, stories, monologues and any number of almost-indefinable types of prose!

This is an outdoor event with picnic bench seating so be prepared for unexpected weather and wrap up warm.

We recommend this event for adults 18+. Doors 6pm. The Secret Garden is wheelchair accessible, for access enquiries please contact us at


Thursday 17 June

Dave Wiggins

Dave is a retired public servant and makes his live reading debut at our June Spoken Word Evening.
Wiggo (Dave’s alter ego) cites the writing of Frank Richards, ‘Jackie’ magazine and the collected works of Enid Blyton as being big influences on his written and spoken language. Literature has long been close to his heart and linguistic precision in a must - lazy ‘fillers’, tired clichés or unnecessary swear words are not to be tolerated!
When not engrossed in a good book, he edits These Don’t Wanna Know - an offbeat Twitter look at grassroots and non-league football in Liverpool.
From time to time, he also fronts punk and new-wave covers band Invisible Heroes - provided their stage-time enables him to be home by 10pm, that is.

Janaya Pickett

Janaya is a Liverpool born history enthusiast with a special interest in Liverpool’s Black history and culture. A formidable writer and performer, Janaya contributed to Writing on the Wall’s Great War to Race Riots archive project and Lives and Legacies, an important project from L8 Law Centre and Liverpool University. Janaya also she helped to set up the Great War to Race Riots walking tours, with the intention of publicising Liverpool’s racial history - so long ignored in official accounts of the city.
Janaya appeared in David Olusoga’s BBC Black and British series and hosted a documentary for about the 1919 riots for Writing on the Wall (in collaboration with Liverpool University, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Centre for Hidden Histories).
Janaya has also written reviews and features on music and culture for local publications Getintothis and Bido Lito. She has also written and performed poetry widely throughout the city. Janaya is currently working with arts organisation BlackFest, managing their research project on the Black origins of house music.


Before making the treacherous journey from West London to Liverpool, October Wright spent a year writing and studying in San Francisco. Whilst there, she attended the legendary Alan Ginsberg’s poetry and meditation course.
When she returned to Liverpool, October continued to study writing as part of her degree and has performed in various venues around the city.
October’s poetry and prose examine the subjects of womanhood, cultural identity and fractured family relationships with heart and precision. Her work has been published in numerous publications, and we are thrilled to welcome such a charismatic performer to The Reader for the first time.

Saint Vespaluus

“Just how good is Saint Vespaluus?” (Nigel Blackwell, Half Man Half Biscuit)_
First seen performing in Cambridge in the 1980s, Saint Vespaluus returned to the spoken word scene at the Everyman Theatre this year. A performance at Violette Records’ Turn Your Love Around festival last September saw him performing new material to the city centre crowds. Saint Vespaluus is probably best known for his legendary column in cult fanzine When Skies Are Grey, but he has written for Esquire and a host of other publications over the years. A passionate and dynamic performer, his poems and tales mix humour and sadness to startling effect. Currently working on the completion of the first volume of his collected writings, Saint Vespaluus will be performing at Liverpool’s Come Together and Sound City festivals in 2021 and will be performing his own first solo show at Jimmy’s in Liverpool city centre on October 19th.

Gerry Potter

Gerry Potter is a poet, playwright, director, actor, and both creator and destroyer of the infamous gingham diva, Chloe Poems. A favourite son of Manchester and his home town Liverpool, he trained at Everyman Youth Theatre and National Museums Liverpool lists him among the city's leading LGBTQ+ icons. His published works are included in both the poetry and philosophy collections at Harvard University, and the portrait documentary My Name is Gerry Potter premiered at Homotopia in 2015. Gerry has a reputation for putting his Scouse voice on the line, and is strong on poetry and strong on the causes of poetryism.
As the has been said of the great man: “Gerry Potter used to be the gingham diva and radical agenda bender Chloe Poems; both have graced/disgraced Belfast with poems of an expressive, in-your-face nature. Killing off Chloe fourteen years ago, Gerry has been using his Scouse voice to both descriptive and explosive effect. Eight book in to his ten book magnum opus, Gerry’s thinking long and hard about his ninth.”


Calderstones Mansion House, Calderstones Rd, Liverpool L18 3JB, UK

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