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Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival Presents

The Verb: The Emotional Language of Leonard Cohen: loneliness, longing, desire and celebration

Booking Information

To guarantee your ticket, book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.

Venue: Sage Two

Tickets: Free, ticketed (Max 4 per person)


Radio 3’s late night language lock-in is presented by Ian McMillan and celebrates the emotional language of singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen. Ian will present musical performances and will be joined by guests including the novelist Linda Grant, actor Kerry Shale and musician Paul Smith to explore Cohen’s starkly beautiful writing, and his belief that “From a certain point of view, all our emotions are cheap, but those are the only ones we’ve got”.

Paul Smith is from Stockton-on-Tees and performs both as a solo artist and the frontman for the Mercury nominated band Maxïmo Park (they recently released Risk To Exist, an album which explores empathy). Paul’s solo album Diagrams came out in 2018.

Linda Grant won the Orange Prize for her novel When I Lived in Modern Times. Her latest fiction includes Upstairs at the Party and The Dark Circle. She has written for The Guardian newspaper, and non-fiction books including The Thoughtful Dresser and Remind Me Who I Am Again.

Kerry Shale is a Canadian actor whose credits include working at The National Theatre, The Almeida, Bristol Old Vic and The Royal Exchange, Manchester. His TV work includes Patrick Melrose, Mr Selfridge and Red Dwarf and he has appeared in over 200 radio plays.

Ian McMillan is a poet, journalist and playwright who’s been styled “poet in residence at Barnsley football club”, and who has worked as poet in residence at English National Opera. He is a frequent guest on television programmes and at literary festivals and stages around the UK. His books include a guide to Yorkshire dialect Collins Chelp and Chunter: How to Talk Tyke and his latest poetry books are To Fold the Evening Star: New and Selected Poems and a celebration of the vowel O with musician and designer Ian Dennis in O Yes.

For your information…

  • Phase one tickets will be available from 12noon on Friday 15 February, with phase two tickets available from 12noon on Friday 1 March.
  • Tickets are strictly limited to four per person.
  • To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.
  • Please take your seats 10 minutes prior to the event start time otherwise you may lose your place.

Part of BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival