Contains Strong Language

BBC Contains Strong Language 2021 is a partnership between the BBC, Coventry City of Culture Trust, Writing West Midlands and Nine Arches Press, and is supported by Arts Council England, the British Council, Creative Lives and Jerwood Arts.


With local Writers, Poets and Theatre makers

The BBC’s poetry and spoken word festival Contains Strong Language will be coming to Coventry in September 2021 for the biggest celebration of poetry ever seen in the region.

The four-day festival will be taking place in venues across the city, celebrating spoken word in all its poetic forms and revealing the best existing and emerging talent from Coventry and the Midlands.

Among the many performances and events on offer, BBC Radio Club will be giving primary and secondary pupils from Coventry the chance to write and take over the airwaves, while there will also be poetry workshops held in schools across the city.

In Radio 3’s celebration of the spoken word, The Verb, poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan will be waxing lyrical on the verse that has made the Midlands and the new talent emerging from its streets right now. Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4’s Front Row will showcase Coventry’s vibrant poetry and spoken word scene, putting the city’s writers in the spotlight on the international stage.

Seeking out the best new spoken word talent in the UK will see BBC 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and Contains Strong Language working together again in 2021.

BBC Arts and BBC Audio are partnering with the regional literature development agency Writing West Midlands, poetry publisher Nine Arches Press and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 with Jerwood Arts supporting a programme of commissions and career development support for emerging and early career poets from the West Midlands.

The festival will take place in venues around the city from Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 September 2021.

Tickets for Contains Strong Language are on sale now.

Head over to Coventry: City of Culture website to find out more and book tickets for the event. Anything labeled ‘BBC BSL’ is part of the BBC Contains Strong Language festival.

Recommended Event

We highly recommend making this session of Contains Strong Language:

BBC: 1XTRA Words First Talent Showcase at Belgrade Theatre (Coventry) on Sat 25 Sep, 6.30pm

BBC Contains Strong Language, BBC 1Xtra and BBC Asian Network present the Words First Talent Showcase celebrating the most talented poets and spoken word artists aged 18-30 from across the UK. Special guests include Words First ambassador Lady Leshurr and Words First Finalist 2020 P.A Bitez.


Flo Cornall, Oli Isaac, Seun Matiluko, Rue Collinge, CJ Simon, Sharnika Power, Meriem Jouti, Maureen Onwunali, Aisosa Egharevba, Gemma Barnett, Raina Greifer and Elliot Waloschek

Words First

The BBC Words First event as part of the BBC Contains Strong Language festival is now sold out. But you can still catch the showcases from all the partners on YouTube. Below is the showcase from us (Apples and Snakes):

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