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Joe Williams is an award-winning writer and performing poet from Leeds. He tells tales about lost love, people in pubs, and the best ways to insult footballers in Spanish.

Joe’s latest book The Taking Part (published by Maytree Press in 2021) is a short collection of poems on the theme of sport and games. His previous book publications are the critically acclaimed pamphlet This is Virus, composed of erasure poems made from Boris Johnson’s lockdown letter to the UK; the verse novella An Otley Run, which was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award; and his debut poetry pamphlet Killing the Piano.

His work has appeared in many anthologies, in literary magazines including Prole, Strix, Poetry Scotland, The Blue Nib and Pennine Platform, and has been broadcast on BBC radio. He edited the anthology The View from Olympia: Poems inspired by Olympic sport for Half Moon Books, and is a member of the editorial board at Dream Catcher magazine.

Joe Williams sitting in a pub with a pint. Photo by Joanna Sedgwick.
Photo by Joanna Sedgwick


Joe is a popular performer who has headlined events around Yorkshire and beyond, and appeared at several major literature festivals. He is an experienced compere of literary and music events, and the founder and host of Words on the Wall in Hexham. In 2017 he won the Open Mic Competition at Ilkley Literature Festival, and was runner-up the following year.

Despite all of that, he is probably most widely read thanks to his contributions to Viz.