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Industry Insider – What Did Zoom Ever Do for Us?

10 March @ 11:00 - 12:00 GMT

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The pandemic has bought change and disruption to all aspects of our lives and has prompted a drastic shift to online events. But how has this affected poets and the spoken word scene? On the one hand, increased accessibility has arguably made it easier to run, participate in, and attend a diverse range of online events, especially for those with certain disabilities. On the other hand, festivals and live spaces have been negatively affected with many poets and audiences undoubtedly mourning the connection and buzz (and ability to sell work!) that can only come from in-person performances… 

Join our brilliant panel of PSWG poets, chaired by Aki Schilz from The Literary Consultancy, for a discussion in which we ask, ‘What Did Zoom Ever Do for Us?’ and most importantly, where do we go from here?  

This event is in conjunction with our Poetry and Spoken Word Group and hosted by their committee Chair, Katrina Naomi.



  • Welcome, housekeeping and introductions by Katrina Naomi (5 mins)
  • Panel discussion with Aki Schilz, Polly Atkin, Roy McFarlane and Daniel Sluman (30 mins)
  • Questions from the audience (20 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments from Katrina Naomi (5 mins)



What will this session cover? 

  • How has the move to online events during the pandemic affected poets?
  • What are the positive outcomes of this shift?
  • What are the negative consequences?
  • What is the best outlook going forward to ensure accessibility and to allow the poetry community to thrive?


Who is this session for? 

Anyone interested in the poetry landscape in the UK since the pandemic, especially poets with disabilities, poets involved in the spoken word and festival scene, or poets participating in online events. 


Send us your questions in advance 

If you would like to send questions in advance, email jclarke@societyofauthors.org with ‘What Zoom Ever Do for Us’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many questions as we can on the day.


SoA @ Home fundraising bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store, featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The line-up 


Katrina Naomi – Poet, Host

Katrina’s poetic collaboration with Helen Mort, Same But Different, was published in 2021 (Hazel Press) following her third full collection, Wild Persistence (Seren, 2020). Katrina won the 2021 Keats-Shelley Prize. Her poetry has appeared on Poems on the Underground, BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Poetry Please. Katrina has a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths.

Website https://www.katrinanaomi.co.uk/


Aki Schilz – Poet, Literary Consultancy, Chair

Aki Schilz is the Director of The Literary Consultancy (TLC), the UK’s longest-running editorial consultancy. She is also the founder of the Rebecca Swift Foundation (RSF), a charity advancing the craft, creativity and wellbeing of women poets. In 2021, Aki featured in the Bookseller 150, a list of the most influential figures in publishing.

Websites TLC literaryconsultancy.co.uk/| RSF rebeccaswiftfoundation.org/

Twitter: @AkiSchilz | @TLCUK | @foundationswift
Facebook: The Literary Consultancy | Women Poets’ Network



Polly Atkin – Poet

Polly Atkin is a poet and nonfiction writer, living in Cumbria. Her first poetry collection Basic Nest Architecture (Seren, 2017) is followed by Much With Body (Seren, 2021), and a biography Recovering Dorothy: The Hidden Life of Dorothy Wordsworth (Saraband, 2021). She is working on a memoir exploring place, belonging and disability. 

Website pollyatkin.com | Twitter @pollyrowena | Instagram @pollyrowena



Roy McFarlane – Poet

Roy McFarlane is a poet, playwright and former youth and community worker born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage. He’s the Canal Laureate and former Birmingham Poet Laureate. 

His debut collection, Beginning With Your Last Breath, was followed by The Healing Next Time, (Nine Arches Press, 2018) nominated for the Ted Hughes award and Jhalak Prize. He’s working on his third collection coming out Autumn 2022. 

Website www.roymcfarlane.com | Twitter @rmcfarlane63    



Daniel Sluman – Poet

Daniel Sluman is a 35-year-old poet and disability rights activist. He has published three books with Nine Arches Press, his most recent collection, single window was released in September 2021, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

Website www.danielsluman.com | Twitter @danielsluman | Instagram @danielsluman



Need to know 

Before the event

  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk /spam email folder.
  • Please add events@societyofauthors.org to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails

During the event

  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 60 minutes.

After the event

  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA @ Home industry insider events are free but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE

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With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.



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10 March
11:00 - 12:00 GMT
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Sophia A Jackson