SAY OWT, the regular York spoken-word gathering, returns on Saturday with "quite possibly the best one-legged bisexual Scouse poet in the world" and an Arts Council grant for season four.

"Say Owt launched back in 2014, running a series of slams where poets perform their best pieces, get judged by the audience and win cash prizes," says co-founder Henry Raby. "It’s been frantic, manic and fun, featuring some of the best guest poets from across the UK, and now we've been successful in applying for a Grant for the Arts from the Arts Council to support our next wave of performance poetry and spoken-word events.

"We're dropping 'Slam' from our brand name but we'll still have the slam element. with performers still able to sign up for three-minute slots with the audience judging them," he adds.

"The grant means we can bring more exciting work to York, while helping grow the scene and support the poetry community," says fellow founder and co-host Stu Freestone, ahead of Say Owt's upcoming programme of workshops, open mics, slams and full-length "big shows". "We're looking to support poets and poetry-loving audiences in York with a huge host of new events, including free Scratches where anyone can bring a new poem to work on."

York Press:

Mark Grist: Say Owt's first guest in 2014 will return on November 25

Kicking off the new season will be Say Owt Slam #17, featuring poet and playwright Jackie Hagan, at The Basement, City Screen, on Saturday at 7.30pm. "Jackie is quite possibly the best one-legged bisexual Scouse poet in the world," says Henry. "She hails from the town of Skelmersdale, near Liverpool, and her poetry is full of good-natured gobby humour and anecdotes about working-class life, as well as some unique surreal humour."

Telling stories of life, laughs and loves, while highlighting class in modern Britain, she is tough, funny and unstoppable and apparently she also resembles a unicorn.

Anyone wanting to perform a slam slot on the night should email The next day, Jackie will run a writing workshop from 1pm to 3pm at York Explore Library with more information available via the website. "She's a fantastically talented workshop leader, so this is a great chance to learn some new writing skills for £5," says Stu.

Whereas tickets for the first Say Owt Slam night cost £7, admission to Say Owt Scratch #1 in York Explore Library's Marriott Room from 12.30pm to 3.30pm on October 14 will be free. "If you're working on a new poem, come and share your work with peers in a safe and nurturing environment, learn useful tips and hone your craft to perfect your poem with mentorship from the Say Owt crew and Kirsten Luckins, producer for Apples and Snakes in the North," says Henry.

"Kirsten will oversee our Scratch sessions, giving advice to the poets, asking the audience what they think of the piece and trying the poem out in different ways."

York Press:

From America with words: Sage Francis and B.Dolan

Say Owt will be teaming up with performance poetry and spoken-word organisation Apples and Snakes – who gave them mentoring support in their grant application – to bring legendary American performers Sage Francis and B. Dolan to The Crescent in York on October 22. "Francis and Dolan are award-winning poets, stalwarts of the underground hip-hop scene, and world renowned hell-raisers from Providence, Rhode Island," says Henry.

"Francis is the founder of the pioneering Strange Famous Records, and together they have toured across the world. This powerhouse duo will be presenting York with a unique, 90-minute performance consisting mostly of their patented spoken-word styles while including a mix of their music, comedy, storytelling and dance magic moments," says Stu. "It's the only UK show they're doing that won't be just hip-hop and this will be our debut night at The Crescent." Admission to this 7pm gig is £13 or £10 and tickets are available from the Eventbrite website.

On November 2, Say Owt presents the Word Theatre Open Mic at Dusk, New Street, York, at 7.30pm with free entry in the first of a series of open-mic nights hosted by out-of-town organisations, with London and Lancaster hosts lined up for next March and April.

"The Word Theatre is the brainchild of Gemma Baker and it's a cornerstone of the Midlands poetry scene," says Henry. "Gemma will be coming from lovely Lincoln and hosting a special poetry/spoken word open-mic session in the friendly environment. If you want an open-mic slot, email or sign up on the door."

Say Owt Slam #18 will feature Mark Grist and Tim Clare at The Basement, City Screen, on November 25 at 7.30pm (tickets £7). "Mark was the first ever guest we booked back in 2014; he's an ex-teacher who's a great educator and communicator, so we’re delighted to bring him back to York for anther round of his rousing, pun-filled poetry," says Henry.

York Press:

Sara Hirsch, playing York next February

"Famous for beating Blizzard in a Don’t Flop rap battle that went viral, gathering over five million views, Mark is bringing his good chum Tim Clare along for the ride. Tim is a Norwich stand-up poet whose furious energy is matched by his quick-fire witticism." Slam slots can be booked by emailing and a workshop will follow the next day.

Further events and dates for the diary are Say Owt Scratch #2 at York Explore Library from 12.30pm on January 21 (free admission); Say Owt Presents: Evidently Open Mic at Dusk on January 25, a free session hosted by Kieren King and Ella Gainsborough. from Salford, and Say Owt Slam #19 with Sara Hirsch at The Basement on February 2 (tickets £7).

"Sara was the 2013 UK Slam champion, a semi-finalist in the European Slam, and took third place in the World Slam. Not bad going," says Stu. "She's the host of Genesis Slam in London, a Glastonbury Festival veteran and spoken-word educator, and her poetry is full of stories, characters, feminism and sharp dialogue." Her workshop will run from 1pm to 2.30pm the next day.

As season four begins, the success of York's Say Owt speaks for itself, thriving away from the big noise of the big cities.