For Bella 2023, the Verb Garden will once again offer its rich programme featuring some of the best writers and spoken word artists in Scotland.

Fresh off her UK Tour promoting her new collection of poetry ‘In Public/In Private’ award-winning poet, performer and theatre-maker Leyla Josephine is one of the most prominent Scottish spoken word artists performing in the country. A UK Slam champion, BAFTA nominated and named on The List’s Ones To Watch 2022, don’t miss her return to Belladrum 2023.

This year the Verb Garden looks forward to welcoming Ambrose Parry, the collaborative name for husband and wife team Dr Marissa Haetzman and award winning crime writer Christopher Brookmyre who between them under the name Ambrose Parry have written four books of historical crime fiction.

Also appearing this year will be world record breaking solo cyclist Jenny Graham from Inverness who will be introducing her recently published book ‘Coffee First, Then the World: One Woman’s Record Breaking Pedal Around the Planet’.

In addition to this the Verb Garden will offer a wide range of events from whisky-tasting to poets and songwriters, further book readings, presentations and discussions, mindfulness presentations, a children’s book workshop, storytelling and the ever popular Saturday night Poetry Slam whose previous winners have gone on to become Scottish and World Slam champions.

Check out the highlights:

Ross Anderson started his journey busking on the streets of Glasgow, just short of 10 years ago. In 2018 he landed a spot on ITV’s ‘The Voice’, impressively making it all the way to the quarter finals. Ross didn’t feel he should stop here, and has been reaching out to the UK. Travelling cities, and constant grind has led towards his big year (2023!) where he will release his own original music.   During his travels he has featured in viral videos and built an audience that waits for his release. Ross asks that if you enjoy what you are hearing, to please follow him on his social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram at @itsrossanderson, and to come with him on the start of his journey to the top. Ross will be joined by the superbly talented guitarist and vocalist Kieran McGuire. Thursday 27th at 18:30 and Saturday 29th at 19:45.

Bex Bidgood (she/they) is a spoken word artist based in East Lothian. Bex is known for their comedic and surreal poetry as well as for their work through I Am Loud productions and the Scottish Spoken word powerhouse the ‘Loud Poets’ With a track record of performing ‘nonsense’ poetry, Bex Bidgood’s set will be no different. With fairytales, mythical beasts, and the odd cow – join them for a 30-minute romp through the weird and wonderful. Thursday 27th at 19:15.

Hammy Sgìth raps in Scottish Gaelic about growing up in the Gàidhealtachd and bad craic in the big cities. He produces his own beats, sampling from the rich traditions of hip-hop and Highland music. He won best performance at FilmG 2021 and has since been signed to the Wee Record Studio. This year he is collaborating with Falasgair and Càrnan, mixing his love of energetic dance music with the skill of the next generation of trad musicians. In the words of the Scottish Sun ‘Hammy Sgìth is making waves from Scrabster to the Solway Firth’. Thurs 27th at 20:45.

Viking and Skylarks Workshop by Highly Commended Scottish Author Maura McRobbie. Inspired by true events explore the Viking legacy in the west of Scotland Investigate Norse Mythology and its links to Christianity Reenact a scene between a Scots girl and a Viking boy Find out about the Norse/Celtic/Scot treasure buried beneath our feet Age Range: 6-12 with colouring activities for younger children. Author signed books available for special festival price £5.99. Friday 28th at 10:15 am.

Hub of Opportunities Rotary Club will be presenting…. Shelterbox. The amazing work done in disaster and war zones and the sleepout in a Shelter tent at the festival to raise awareness and funds, Dawn Chalmers. Our Social Dreaming project. Exploring the hopes and aspirations of young people in the North of Scotland, Sarah-Anne Munoz. Hub of Opportunities. An exciting and unique new Rotary experience for the young and young at heart, Paul Lawson. Friday 28th at 13:15.

The Last Witch of Scotland was inspired by the extraordinary story of Janet Horne, the last person in Britain to be executed for witchcraft (Dornoch, 1727). Author Philip Paris will be discussing the witch trials, the Janet Horne case and the process of writing the historical fiction. Friday 28th at 14:15.

Bothy Tales: Join bestselling outdoor author John D Burns in a bothy in the heart of the Highlands and share a dram and a warm fire. With a unique blend of storytelling, theatre and comedy John tells the secret stories of these wild shelters and the mountain folk who inhabit them. Friday 28th at 15:30.

Have Guitar Will Travel: Nashville Producer, TV Presenter, song writer & Opreylands resident entertainer Mark Allen premiers the Inverness episode which features the local music scene of Mark’s travelogue Nashville PBS TV show Have Guitar Will Travel with music from his Transatlantic Harmony trio Ash, Mark & Joe – with Q&A. Friday 28th at 16:30.

Everything in the Delicatessen: Tom Houston strays between song and spoken word, between shadow and dream. Fresh and original with subtle flavours of Cutler and Cohen seeping through. ‘F#*king Extraordinary’ Tom Robinson BBC6 Music 2022. Friday 28th at 17:30.

Beyond The Covid Bourach: A blend of words, music and song reflecting on the covid bourach and now seeking peace, hope and beauty in the landscape that has always been there. Poet : Jim Mackintosh, singer / poet : Alieen Ogilvie, fiddle : Karys Watt, poet : Julie McNeill, pipes/whistles : Callum Douglas, percussion : Mark Johnstone, percussion : Nancy Mackay. Friday 28th at 19:45.

Kevin P. Gilday: Kevin is an award-winning poet, writer and performer from Glasgow. He is the founder of poetry performance collective The Scribbler’s Union and was co-founder of much loved spoken word cabaret night Sonnet Youth. He is a National Theatre of Scotland Breakthrough Writer, a BBC Writersroom Scottish Voice and one of Scotland’s most celebrated contemporary poets. Kevin has performed all over the world, from Hollywood to East Kilbride, including major festivals (BBC 6Music Festival, Glastonbury), Fringes (Edinburgh, Toronto, Vancouver), literary festivals (EIBF, Verve) as well as large scale tours of the UK, Europe, the US and Canada. He has supported artists and public figures such as Akala, Saul Williams, George the Poet, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Sage Francis, The Silencers and Jeremy Corbyn MP. He has published five books of poetry, with his most recent – Anxiety Music – released by Verve Press in September of 2022 to universal acclaim. Friday 28th at 21:15.

Fresh off her UK Tour promoting her new collection of poetry In Public/In Private award-winning poet, performer and theatre-maker Leyla Josephine is set to perform at the Verb Garden Belladrum. Leyla questions the urge to share her inner life publicly, diving into secrets, faith, lust and death without shame. She reaches into the audience and asks ‘Have you felt this too?’. Fierce and engaging Leyla Josephine is one of the most prominent Scottish spoken word artists performing in the country. A UK Slam champion, BAFTA nominated and named on The List’s Ones To Watch 2022, don’t miss her return to Belladrum 2023. “There is not a poet alive today who writes about the inner lives of women as well as Leyla Josephine.” – Jodi Picoult. Friday 28th at 21:45.

Alex Patience, traditional story-spinner from the Far North will capture your heart with a twinkle o’ magic. Joined by musician Hilary Wilson – the pair bring a giggle of original story songs and tales o’ wild winter sea swims. Saturday 29th at 11:45.

Highlands &Islands Climate Hub, Velocity Highland Waste Partnership and Incredible Edible Inverness Panel Discussion on environmental sustainability with Joan Lawrie (H&I Climate Hub), Isabel McLeish (Velocity Highland Waste Partnership) and Catrina Attwood (Incredible Edible Inverness). Saturday 29th at 13:45.

Up Close and Personal with Katie Gregson-MacLeod. Katie was just eight years old when she first sang solo in public. At the Inverness Music Festival, she performed one of her own songs, the aptly titled ‘Different’. Now, thanks to a life-changing summer, Katie’s songs are being produced by Grammy Award winners and her fans include stars of pop, stage and screen. For as long as she can remember, Katie has composed songs, poems and short stories. From her early teens, inspired by Amy Winehouse, she knew that a career in music was her future. The child of a pianist raised in Inverness (she refused her mum’s offer of lessons and taught herself, as she did with the purple, nylon-stringed guitar she was given aged seven), Katie threw herself into musical theatre and school talent  shows. She played her first festival, Scotland’s Belladrum, aged 18, by when she was already making money from gigs. Join Katie in conversation at the Verb Garden at Belladrum 2023 to learn more about her phenomenal rise through her songs going viral on TikTok and radio play to her recent signing with a US record label. Saturday 29th at 15:00.

Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for the literary collaboration between Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Scotland. Chris Brookmyre is the international bestselling and multi-award-winning author of over twenty novels. Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of twenty years experience whose research for her Master’s degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which their series of novels, which began with The Way of All Flesh, is based. The Way of All Flesh was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year and longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Saturday 29th at 16:45.

Jenny Graham – Coffee First and then the World In 2018, Inverness’ endurance cyclist Jenny Graham left family and friends behind in Scotland to become the fastest woman to cycle around the world. Alone and unsupported, she crossed the finish line at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin four months later, smashing the female record by nearly three weeks. Jenny’s books ‘Coffee First’, published in April 2023 brings the reader into her Round the World adventure, as she takes on four continents, 16 countries – and countless cups of coffee. Saturday 29th at 17:45.

David Munro is author of the ‘Adventures In Time’ novels which have a Scottish theme. His latest release, EARTHMAN, is a sci-fi romance with its beginning and conclusion in the Highlands. For further information about David and novels, check out his blog at: Saturday 29th at 18:45.

Busker Rhymes are an acoustic duo based in Glasgow who mix elements of hip hop and poetry with folk music. Originally a six piece, they disbanded in 2019 but reformed this year as a duo to finish off what they started. Drawing in huge crowds with live instrument cyphers and hard hitting rhymes with a humorous edge, the band quickly became a favourite in the festival and live music scene. Their highly anticipated debut EP is set to drop this Summer. Saturday 29th at 23:00.

The above are just some of the highlights of the packed programme at the Verb Garden at Belladrum 2023. Join us if you can for an entertaining and thought-provoking experience!