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March 21 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Chris McQueer: Photograph by Sinead Grainger Photography

LISTEN SOFTLY has officially kicked off its Edinburgh incarnation at Golden Hare Books with a fully-booked February event on the theme of Weird Fiction. In March we’re celebrating the arrival of spring with three more fantastic performers plus open mic slots and of course raffle!
You can expect the following great performances :

CHRIS MCQUEER, a 20-something writer from Glasgow, has taken the Scottish book scene by storm with two collections of short stories published by Edinburgh press 404 Ink, Hings (2017) and Here We Fucking Go (2018). He is widely regarded as one of the most exciting young writers working in Scotland today.


Leyla Josephine is a spoken word artist and theatre maker based in Scotland. She has won many accolades including Hammer and Tongue UK National Slam Winner 2014, Loud Poets’ Grand Slam 2017, she was a finalist in The Roundhouse Slam 2017 and she was the runner up for Scottish Slam Champion 2018. She has been published in Gutter Magazine, The High Flight, The Scotsman. She has been featured on BBC The Social, BBC Radio 4, BBC Scotland,  STV, Huffington Post, The National, Buzzfeed and Upworthy.  Her five-star debut solo show ‘Hopeless’ was runner up for Saboteur Awards Best Spoken Word Show 2018. She has also published a collection of poems from the show ‘Hopeless’ with Speculative Books. She is currently on the Write4Film professional course ran by SFTN and making her new show ‘Daddy Drag’ which will be previewing at The Assembly Roxy 27th – 30th of March. 


Dean Rhetoric is a Hereford-born working class poet currently lost somewhere in East London. He has poetry published in Five:2:One, Ghostland, Picaroon, Rising Phoenix Review and others. He is a former BBC Writer’s room screenplay finalist and was also commended for The Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize.


Stella Hervey Birrell writes novels, short stories, and poems. Her first novel How Many Wrongs make a Mr Right? explores a mental health recovery and was published in 2016 by Crooked Cat. Other work has appeared in various places, including The Ropes and Frangipani journals; Nourish (Scottish Book Trust, 2017), Across the Sound and From the Lighthouse (Handsel Press, 2016) anthologies: and The Dangerous Women Project, Refinery 29UK and Parent.co web platforms. She has performed poetry for She Grrowls, That’s What She Said, and Poetry Circus. She lives in an East Lothian rural idyll with her cat, husband, and children. In that order.

OPEN MIC! We’ll have THREE open mic slots up for grabs on the night. Come along, put your name in the hat, and YOU might get to read on this amazing line up, too! NB: open mic slots are limited to five minutes per writer! Please help us maintain the Listen space by sticking to this.


If you buy any book from Golden Hare Books on the night, you’ll receive A FREE BOOK from Listen Softly Press! Buy a book, get a book free!


Join us from 6.30pm. The event is FREE to enter! Tickets for this event are available through Golden Hare Books online, by phone/email and in-store.

LISTEN SOFTLY was founded in 2013 by poet and writer Dominic Stevenson. Dominic found it difficult to feel ‘at home’ at many of the performance nights in London, where the emphasis was on memorised material and ‘slick’ delivery. He decided to create a space where performers who may face barriers to getting onstage would a) feel welcome b) be able to express themselves in a way that made them feel comfortable and c) would get chance to read alongside established names. Listen Softly has featured artists such as Sara Hirsch, Rob Auton, Fran Lock, Rosie Garland, Aki Schilz, and many more.

More recently, Scottish writers Claire Askew and Stella Hervey Birrell have joined the Listen Softly team.

Listen Softly is specifically designed to be a platform where it’s okay to ad-lib, pause, read from your notebook, speak quietly, use reading aids, tic, stutter, stammer, forget your words, go off script and generally perform in whatever way makes you comfortable.

Though Listen came to the Fringe in 2017 and 2018, we’re hoping to get established as a regular night that provides the sort of performance space that’s still hard to find in Edinburgh. Golden Hare Books is our lovely venue: as committed to creating a quiet, safe and welcoming space as we are.


NB: Golden Hare Books has four steps leading to the entrance. We apologise for the fact that we have not yet found a fully accessible venue, and we are working on this.

The venue has a level access gender neutral bathroom. There is a separate, quiet back room for anyone who may need a break-out space during the event.

Please note that Listen Softly is an intersectional event that aims to provide a safe space for everyone. Transphobia, homophobia, racism, ableism, and any other form of hate speech or derogatory behaviour will not be tolerated, either from performers or from attendees. We reserve the right to ask anyone who jeopardises our safe space to leave.

If you’re reading during our open mic, please check your work for potential triggers ahead of time, and if you think your work may contain triggering content, we’d ask that you give a brief warning to the audience before you begin to read.

Thank you!


March 21
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Listen Softly


Golden Hare Books
68 St Stephen Street
Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH3 5AQ United Kingdom
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0131 629 1396

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