Excited to share an excerpt from my fringe show starting next week in the Glasgow Review of Books.

Glasgow Review of Books

CATRIONA KNAPMAN is a Scottish writer and human rights worker. Originally from Glasgow she has lived in eight countries in four continents over the past ten years. She currently works on land and women’s rights in Burma/Myanmar where she has been based since 2012. Her writing has been published in Magma, Guernica, Poetry Scotland, Kweli, Tiferet and The Myanmar Times, among others. She has performed at Open Mic and poetry/music events in Yangon and around the world. ‘Out On The World’, her first solo spoken word show, is part of the Edinburgh PBH Fringe. See more at: and

Out On The World will be at Opium Bar on the Cowgate, Edinburgh at 16.15 from the 6-16 August 2016



In Nicaragua I lived in a small town in the mountains called Estelí. Estelí is situated on the PanAmerican Highway. To get anywhere from Estelí you…

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Starting from poems … ending with a spoken word show

So… I am developing a show for the Edinburgh Fringe. 50 minutes of spoken word. Moving from doing open mics to doing a whole performance is quite a shift. My motivation for doing the show is exactly this – to learn from this process and hopefully create something entertaining and worth watching in the process.


Navigating my way around poems…..

To support my learning I am sharing some of my challenges here. Please share comments and ideas – I need support – your input is welcome!

My show concept is a journey through 3 countries where I have lived. Nicaragua – Egypt – Burma. I hope moving between the countries creates a flow which gives the show a narrative.

Here are some of the challenges I have encountered so far:

  1. Is it too serious? I write about issues of social justice, travel, political change, revolution. Some of these issues are quite heavy. Although there are light moments I am a little concerned about whether there will be enough humour. I am working to see how to build something funny into the moments between individual poems.
  2. Will people get bored of the sound of my voice? Maybe this is a challenge for all solo shows – but I am a little worried about people having to hear only my voice for 50 minutes. Is there a way to vary this? I am building in some music and space between countries to attempt to give people a break and a chance to absorb some of the ideas.
  3. Does the narrative hold up? I am writing about 3 countries. The journey between the countries creates a narrative and a progression which helps to hold the show together. My concern is about the narrative I tell of each individual country. I only have a short time to create a picture of each place. I am attempting to carefully chose poems which help to create a snapshot which is interesting and also challenges preconceptions. The poems also need to work as performance pieces – so this is not always easy to create. Given the choice between performance and narrative I am favouring performance at the moment. This means I might not be able to share everything about these countries, but that I have something more dynamic to perform.

Do you have any ideas about how to work around these challenges?

More reflections on the fringe soon.