What is your Fierce Word?

Here are some that others have chosen:

equality, joy, fierce, passion, mirror, truth, spirit, queen, empathy, transformation, thrawn*

These words were selected for their ability to empower. The women who chose them are the writers and spoken word performers who together form the Women with Fierce Words collective, a group that counts among its numbers two Scottish Poetry Slam Finalists, four poetry slam winners, several novelists, actresses, musicians and playwrights. Many have been published nationally and internationally.

On Friday 25 May Women with Fierce Words will be performing at Leith’s Hidden Door Festival, reflecting on life on their terms, their way, in ‘a cocktail of spoken word, film and music.’

At Edinburgh’s 2016 Fringe the writer, poet and digital artist LA Traynor was challenged by Capture Scotland to produce a piece of art representing the first day of the Festival. She invited all poets or writers to meet her in front of the Scottish Poetry Library to read a short piece. Only people who identified as women turned up.

As a performer herself, one of Traynor’s growing concerns was how much women self-censored when reading in public – so she asked everyone who came along to stop changing their work to please/placate others, choose their ‘Fierce Word’, one that empowered them or someone else, write it onto a piece of canvas and sign it. These canvases were displayed as part of the art work.

Traynor was so inspired by the quality and variety of the women’s poetry, and of the bond that quickly developed between them, that she produced an anthology, Women with Fierce Words, published by Kevin Cadwallender of House Press. The first edition sold out in ten days; a third edition is currently going to press.

At the book’s launch in Glasgow, aid worker and collective member Catriona Knapman described Women with Fierce Words as;

‘one of the most positive and encouraging poetry events I’ve ever taken part in’

Catriona focused on literacy, pointing out that two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women. Other contributors explored and celebrated issues important to them, from the role of women working in traditional ‘male’ industries to sexual consent, transitioning, fashion and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The evening was so successful that it won Tartan Tights’ Event of the Year award. Having performed on television and radio, at the Electric Fields Festival and One Weekend in Falkirk, and opened 2018 World Community Arts Day in Edinburgh, the collective is now working with the National Library of Scotland’s Film Archive.

As group member, writer and performance poet Nancy Lippold-Ingram says;

‘Fierce words can change the world.’

Come and see Women with Fierce Words; find your word and let it change yours.


Women with Fierce Words, 7.45-8.30pm, Friday 25 May at Hidden Door, State Cinema, Great Junction Street.

Hidden Door is a volunteer-run, not for profit, arts organisation aiming to open up urban spaces as a platform for new and emerging artists, musicians, theatre makers, film makers and poets. The 2018 Hidden Door Festival will run 25 May-3 June, with ten days and nights of music, theatre, visual art, film, dance, spoken word, late-night DJs and special events. This year there will be two main venues, Leith Theatre, Ferry Road, and the former State Cinema in Great Junction Street.

For ticket details visit http://hiddendoorblog.org/tickets/ or call in at the Fringe Festival Box Office on the Royal Mile.

*‘perverse, ill-tempered (Scottish)’