SAY Owt, the York spoken-word night, returns for a "special sizzling slam" on February 15 at The Basement, City Screen.

"Say Owt Slams have been a mainstay of the York arts community since 2014 and we’re celebrating our 21st slam in style next month," says co-organiser Henry Raby.

In a poetry slam, each poet has three minutes to impress the audience, with the winner receiving a cash prize and bragging rights.

"On February 15, we'll have poets competing from across the country, including from Durham, Sheffield and even Bristol, plus a previous slam winner, the marvellous Kit Rayne, will be competing once again," says Henry.

"Not only do we have an all-star line-up of slammers competing, but as always the night will be hosted by the loveable Say Owt team of me, David Jarman, Stu Freestone and Hannah Davies."

Henry adds: "Our slams are always special, they feel like home. There are always regulars and newcomers but everyone is so up for a fun night, it’s like a gig with your mates.

"As one audience member attending our last slam said: 'I love the variety of voices; it's an unrivalled night of humour and heartbreak'."

Co-host Stu Freestone praises the audience's involvement. "The best part of slams are the audience," he says. "Old or new, their enthusiasm always makes it a great night."

As well as the competitive slam, next month's show will feature special guests Jemima Foxtrot and Ciarán Hodgers."Both published by Burning Eye Books, Jemima and Ciarán are mainstays of the spoken-word scene, gigging across the country," says Henry.

"Jemima’s poetry is sparky and joyous; she's performed at Latitude Festival and been commissioned by the Tate Britain and the BBC. Ciarán won the 2015 International Pangea Slam and is a Word War One Slam Champion who writes about his Irish heritage, journeys, home and identity with heartfelt and humorous poetry."

In addition to the 7.30pm Say Owt show, Jemima will run a writing workshop at York Explore Library on February 16 from 1pm to 3pm, open to everyone.

Say Owt Slam #21 tickets cost £6 in person from City Screen or on 0871 902 5747 or £7 on the door.

Charles Hutchinson