Widely recognised as being the premier event in the UK poetry slam calendar, The Hammer & Tongue National Slam Final returned post-pandemic on Sunday 4th July 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall. For the first time the event featured a hybrid of in-person and online judging from audiences on Facebook.
New for 2021 – live online interactive element
Postponed in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, this year saw the event return with a brand new feature. To open the event up for those unable to make the final in person, as well as for a worldwide digital audience of poetry fans, the selection of the individual National Slam Champion had an online element. Thanks to funding from The Space, the final competition was broadcast via Facebook Live, with viewers able to vote via the platform. The aggregated social votes were combined with more traditional slam poetry voting – where 5 members of the in-person audience are randomly selected as judges – to decide this year’s UK champion.
Finalists this year included winners of slams from Northern Ireland, Scotland and all over England, and winners of slams at festivals such as Shambala. They were hoping to follow in the footsteps of past National Slam Champions including Stephen Morrison-Burke (2012) Vanessa Kisuule (2014), and Soloman O.B (2016).
National Slam Champions
The National Slam Final also featured performances from special guest poet Zena Edwards and special guest comic Alan Parker: Urban Warrior (Simon Munnery, reprising his notorious alter ego).
Find out who won!
You can watch the final here on Hammer and Tongue’s Facebook page to find out which poet came out on top.
Content warning: 15+ recommendation
About this artist
Hammer & Tongue is the UK’s premier poetry slam and professional touring network which was founded in 2003. Hammer & Tongue run “open poetry slams” (democratic live poetry competitions) that lead to a national final, and feature some of the best spoken word artists from around the globe. Regular events take place in Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Camden, Hackney, and Oxford. Hammer & Tongue’s president is poet Steve Larkin.