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Chelping – Poetry & Open Mic

by The Leeds Library


Join us for another instalment of Chelping, one of Leeds’ leading poetry nights! This evening’s speakers are Northern Writer’s Award winner Clare Shaw, and writer, performer and creative producer Nafeesa Hamid, plus our regular open mic slots hosted by Matt Abbott.  

Set in the atmospheric surroundings of The Leeds Library, Chelping is a celebration of contemporary poetry. Taking place four times a year, this regular evening is not only an opportunity to hear from some of the country’s leading writers but is also a chance for YOU to take part, with 3-minute open-mic slots available to book at each event. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, please email eyup@mattabbottpoet.com to reserve yours! 

Previous headliners have included internationally renowned performers such as recent T.S. Eliot Prize winner Joelle Taylor, Sabrina Mahfouz, Anthony Anaxagorou, and Theresa Lola, and nationally renowned poets including Cecilia Knapp, Jess Green, and Toby Campion.

About the poets

Clare Shaw’s first three collections with Bloodaxe were Straight Ahead (2006), Head On (2012), and Flood (2018). Their latest collection Towards a General Theory of Love won a Northern Writer’s Award and was published by Bloodaxe in May 2022. With a background in mental health and education, Clare is a keen advocate for writing as a tool of social and personal change and through multiple projects, they are actively committed to engaging wider audiences with poetry. Clare also writes for radio, and works with artists, musicians and composers. They wrote the libretto for the opera Daylighting which was commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music and premiered in 2022.

Nafeesa Hamid is a writer, workshop facilitator, performer, and creative producer, active since 2012. She was born in Pakistan, bred in Birmingham. Her debut poetry collection Besharam (2018, Verve Poetry Press) was highly commended for the Forward Prizes 2019. She is subsequently published in the Forward Book of Poetry 2020 (2019, Faber Poetry), as well as Forward Poems of the Decade 2011-2020 (2021, Faber Poetry). She is also published in The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, a (2017, Saqi Books) anthology edited by Sabrina Mahfouz.

Nafeesa was founder of Twisted Tongues Derby/ Birmingham and co-founder of Gully Collective/ Gully Zine. She is currently a Rifco Theatre associate artist developing new monologues for stage.

Matt Abbott is a poet, educator, and activist from Wakefield. His début one-man show Two Little Ducks earned a string of 5* reviews at Edinburgh Fringe 2017 and on a 2018 UK theatre tour. The show’s poems were published as his début poetry collection by Verve Poetry Press in 2018.

Matt’s début kids’ poetry collection A Hurricane in my Head was published by Bloomsbury in 2019 and was a National Poetry Day selected title. He formed Nymphs & Thugs, the UK’s leading spoken word record label, in 2015. He also fronts indie outfit Skint & Demoralised. Notable commissions include TV ads for Nationwide Building Society and Leeds United FC’s centenary kit launch. 


A note about accessibility – Unfortunately, our Grade II* listed building is not currently fully accessible. We have a stair lift from the ground floor foyer to the first floor but are unable to install a through-floor lift due to the building’s historic status. Please email us on enquiries@theleedslibrary.org.uk if you have any questions around access, and we will do everything that we can to accommodate you.  

The Leeds Library is committed to making its building and collections accessible to everyone in our current capital building works project The Next Chapter Project. To find out more, please visit the website HERE. 


Date and Time

Thu, March 16, 2023

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


The Leeds Library

18 Commercial Street
Leeds, England LS1 6AL United Kingdom

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