McLellan Poetry Fringe Festival

The McLellan Poetry Fringe Festival is coming up this month and will take place from Thursday 28th April to Sunday 1st May 2022

Here are some notes from the Festival organisers on the weekend events. For an overview of the weekend programme and for more details on how to book tickets see below:

The first McLellan Poetry Fringe Festival will take place on Arran during the last week of April. We have a fantastic weekend of events and something for everyone to enjoy. If you think you don’t like “poetry”, you may think again if you come along and enjoy some of the fantastic and dramatic spoken word and performance poets whom we are lucky to have coming to Arran at the end of April!

The weekend kicks off on Thursday 28th April with an evening of local Arran poets, at the Brodick Bar, from 7:30 pm. A number of talented poets currently or previously living on Arran will be reading their work, including David Underdown (see book review in this newsletter); the renowned international writer Eilidh How (also known locally on Arran as Helen); local poet Damo Beeson (reading from his recently published book “Black Watch Brodick”); Lamlash’s own Gillian Lockhart; Whiting Bay’s own Cicely Gill; Shelagh Collins; local poet Nix Moretta; Jules Lee and songs and poems from Arran’s wonderful Tim Pomeroy. This event is free and unticketed and so please arrive early!

On Friday night 29th April, we have a real treat in store with Glasgow performance poets Kevin P Gilday and Imogen Stirling, in the Community Theatre at Arran High School in Lamlash. You can have a sneak preview of Kevin and Imogen’s performances on You Tube!

Kevin and Imogen will also both be running workshops at the Arran High School on Saturday morning. These will be of special interest to aspiring performance poets and spoken word artists, as well as more conventional poetry writers. Please book early as limited places on both workshops. Specially priced tickets are available at £5 each for under 21’s and students, for both workshops.

Spoken word with Imogen Stirling

Also on Saturday 30th April at the High School will be the Arran Young People’s Poetry Competition. Now open to all young people aged 16 years and under. Please send your entries to, or send or deliver to Carol at Stonewater House, Shore Road, Lamlash KA27 8JN. All entrants will have the opportunity to read or perform their poem at the High School at the Young People’s Competition Finale at 11 am on Saturday 30th April. The Competition is open for entries until 8 pm on 26th April 2022 and there will be prizes awarded in under 7’s; 7 to 11 and 12 to 16 year old age groups.

3 pm on Saturday 30th April we have the first of the two fantastic performances of the day by the brilliant spoken word poet Luke Wright, with his show “The Ballad Seller”. Hilariously funny.

Luke Wright

Back in Georgian times we got our news from poetry. Before papers, broadcasts or the internet, ballad sellers would hawk their doggerel on street corners for a penny. Scandalous affairs, grisly crimes, and colourful characters were brought to life in rhyming verse long before first tabloid was printed.

Now Luke Wright has rewritten the very best of these stories for the modern ear: take a trip through the Drury Lane gin shops with the Boxing Baroness; filch oysters by the dozen with Dando, the celebrated gormandiser; and peer inside the restless mind of a lonely itinerant ballad seller. Expect scandal, excess, and beautiful flawed humanity.

“His performances rumble with rage, passion and humour. They are also peppered with brilliantly smart observations. You will leave his show brimming with energy, heart pounding and brain whirring.” The Guardian

Preview can be seen at

After an afternoon break, the Festival will continue at 5 pm on Saturday 30th April with performances by two great Scottish poets, who were also finalists in the 2021 McLellan Poetry Competition, Sharon Black and Hugh McMillan, who will each entertain us with a selection of their writings.

Sharon Black’s pamphlet, Rib, was published by Wayleave Press in 2021, and her third and fourth full collections will appear in 2022 with Vagabond Voices and with Drunk Muse Press respectively.

Her second collection The Art of Egg, published by Two Ravens Press in 2015, was reprinted by Pindrop Press following Two Ravens’ demise. It can be bought direct from the Pindrop Press Bookshop. Her debut collection of poetry To Know Bedrock appeared with Pindrop Press in 2011 and can also be bought from the Pindrop Press Bookshop.

History and landscape enthusiast. Lover of pubs old or undiscovered. Hugh McMillan lives and works in Penpont in Dumfries and Galloway and is available for readings, workshops and talks.

“To hear Hugh McMillan read his poems is to be in the presence of a comedian of genius, as he delivers line after line of punching humour in a slightly surprised, smiling voice, so that we laugh and laugh but are left well aware that life isn’t funny.”
Tessa Ransford
“The Scottish literary scene seems to me crowded with excellence, but McMillan is unique.”
Ian Duhig

Then at 8pm on Saturday 30th April, we have out headline act, Luke Wright with the treat of his brand new show for 2022, performed for us here on Arran.

WINNER of the Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Performer 2021

Whether he’s opening for the Libertines or reciting Georgian ballads down your local, Luke Wright is adept at taking poetry places it doesn’t normally go. John Cooper Clarke’s regular warm-up guy writes poems that are tender, riotous, caustic and romantic then delivers them with the ferocity and panache of a raconteur at the top of his game.

This is an ALL-NEW show with deliciously funny poems set against a backdrop of pandemic politics, ageing parents, and the poet’s quest for JOY!

Wright’s third collection The Feel-Good Movie of the Year is out now from Penned in the Margins. Ian Duhig calls it a “a terrific new book: subtle, nuanced and movingly personal. A hurt man taking stock in fresh words.”

“Luke Wright is one of the greats. A poetic pugilist. Beguiling and hypnotic.”
Carl Barât
“His performances rumble with rage, passion and humour.
The Guardian

Preview can be seen at:-

The Festival Grand Finale will be held on Sunday evening from 7:30 pm at the Lamlash Golf Club. The first part of the evening will be a performance of the winning and commended entries from the McLellan 2021 Poetry Competition. Due to the pandemic, it was not possible to hold a live presentation evening last year (although this was held on Zoom) and so this is an opportunity to hear the commended and winning entries read live (by the authors themselves where they can make it to Arran) and what great poems they are! Selected from nearly 600 high quality entries submitted to the Competition from all around the world last year.

Kevin Gilday and the Glasgow Cross

During the second part of the evening, we are excited to have Kevin P Gilday and the Glasgow Cross performing for us, to finish of the first McLellan Fringe Festival in grand style.

Kevin P. Gilday & The Glasgow Cross is a collaboration between award winning poet Kevin P. Gilday (Sonnet Youth, NTS, BBC) and multi-instrumentalist Ralph Hector (The Paperback Throne, Pelts, Iffy Folk Records). The Glaswegian two-piece have combined contemporary spoken word with a dynamic palette of aural textures to create a unique sound that has already led to support slots with the likes of Akala.

The music strides confidently between propulsive post-punk, off beat electro and epic arrangements – all oscillating on the singular delivery of Kevin P. Gilday’s spoken word compositions and powerful vocals. Lyrically inspired by the city of Glasgow, Gilday takes confessional sojourns into grief, toxic masculinity and the precarious nature of modern life – all imbued with his trademark dark wit.

Preview on You Tube at –



We are so excited to have so many amazing poets and spoken word artists performing here on Arran at the end of April and hope that as many residents of Arran will enjoy us for a memorable and fun weekend, and that the Festival will also attract many visitors to the island.


Or from Stonewater House Shore Road Lamlash (Call Carol on 01770 601259 or 07415 427270 to arrange collection)

Or on the door (apart from workshops – please book in advance)

Special discounted tickets for 14 to 21 year olds and all students £5 per event including Imogen’s and Kevin’s Workshops!

Any queries, please contact Carol at or 07415 427270 or 01770 601259.