Saturday 26 May
19:00-22:00 £8

A special showcase event on the theme of ‘Beginnings’ featuring spoken word and music, featuring author Catherine Simpson, poets Deanna Rodger and Kevin McLean, plus music from Declan Welsh and Rhona MacFarlane. Hosted by Jenny Lindsay.



Catherine Simpson’s memoir When I Had a Little Sister: The Story of a Farming family who Never Spoke will be published by 4th Estate in 2019. This book examines the impact of the suicide of Catherine’s sister and how mental illness, loss and grief are taboo subjects. Catherine’s debut novel Truestory (Sandstone, 2015) was inspired by the experience of raising her autistic daughter, Nina. Catherine received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for the opening chapters. Catherine and Nina now use the book as a platform to campaign for autism acceptance.


Deanna Rodger is an international writer, performer and facilitator who has performed all over the world including in Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Sudan. She co-curates two leading spoken word events: Chill Pill and Come Rhyme With Me and is on the board of Safe Ground. She has written commissioned work for the Young Vic and various other organisations and was named one of ELLE UK’s ‘30 inspirational women under 30.’

She teaches the Writing Poetry for Performance module with Benjamin Zephaniah at

Brunel University and is currently in development with EARTH: The Show (written with Gemma Rogers).


Kevin Mclean is a Loud Poet and Spoken Word artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2014 Kevin was a finalist at the BBC Fringe Slam and won the 2015 Glasgow Slam Championship and the 2017 StAnza Slam Championship. He competed in the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 Scottish National Slam Championships and captained Team Edinburgh at the 2015 Intercity Slam. His poem “Evelyn,” performed at the 2015 Loud Poets Edinburgh Fringe show, won StAnza’s Best Poem of the Fringe. Beyond slams and organising regular Loud Poets events, he has been featured at the Wickerman Festival; StAnza – Scotland’s Poetry Festival; the Brighton, Edinburgh, and Prague Fringes festivals; Leicester’s Find The Right Words; STV’s The Late Show; BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Show; and many regular spoken word nights throughout Scotland. He has also performed alongside some of the world’s top spoken word artists; Shane Koyczan, Neil Hilborn, Hollie McNish, Mark Grist, and more.


Declan Welsh is a songwriter and poet from Glasgow. With his band, The Decadent West they create music that is unapologetic, direct and with a message of humanity. At ‘Beginnings’, Declan will be performing a solo set combining his trademark powerful musical performance alongside his spoken word poetry.


Rhona Macfarlane, currently a student at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow, is a versatile musician performing with guitar or piano, often introducing new sounds with the addition of string accompaniments. Her songs are personal, honest and intimate with the mood being set by rich musical melodies and harmonies.

Rhona has played live on the Janice Forsyth Show on BBC Radio Scotland and has been featured on Scotland on Sunday’s New Music: Under the Radar. Tracks from her latest EP “The Tide” have been played on several BBC Radio Scotland shows, including BBC Introducing.

Her growing reputation has seen her invited to support a wide range of artists and in 2018 she performed at the Hazy Recollections at the Celtic Connections music festival.


Event type:

Tickets available via link above or on the door (unless sold out).


The Bongo Club
66 Cowgate