Spoken Word Night & Book Launch

Spoken Word Night & Book Launch


21 March 2024    
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm


Down Town Kitchen & Cafe (above New Look)
Charter Walk Shopping Centre, , Burnley, BB11 1QJ

Event Type

Join us at Down Town (above New Look in Charter Walk) for an evening of Spoken Word, Poetry, Storytelling and Music to celebrate the launch of Burnley writer Mark Gornall’s first book ‘One Day At A Time.’

Ralph Dartford will compare the evening, and we have 8 local artists performing.

There’ll be a selection of hot food and a chance to buy books.

This event is supported by the ‘Mechanics Theatre Presents’ project, Burnley Together, Calico Homes, Red Rose Recovery and BRIC.

Tickets are free to attend, but please book in advance (so we know how much pie to bake!). Donations on the evening are welcomed but not compulsory.


Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/spoken-word-night-and-book-launch-for-mark-gornalls-one-day-at-a-time-tickets-845910700677?aff=oddtdtcreator

Mark’s story so far

After a long journey away from alcohol addiction with the help of Acorn Recovery Projects, Mark has recently celebrated his one year sobriety milestone and is currently enjoying his life being ‘clean and serene’.Mark said: “It’s stuck this time because I have a purpose in life; myself, my family, my friends and supporting other people who are going through what I’m going through”.

Although the 58-year-old had a tricky time during his recovery, his discovery of creative writing during treatment provided a vital outlet for his past thoughts and feelings. Although Mark hadn’t read or wrote since leaving high school over 40 years earlier, he dove into the tasks set during his 12-week stay, which led to his discovery of poetry.

Mark continued: “It was an emotional time during recovery. Turning moments into poetry took the power out of them and made room in my mind for better things”. After graduating from Acorn, Mark continued to write poetry – and now uses his words to help others in addiction…

One Day at a Time

Many who are in recovery will relate to the concept of taking it one day at a time. Recovery is a life-long journey, and everyone has their own way unique way of motivating themselves to stay sober. Mark chose words. Once he’d started his ever-expanding collection of poetry, his focus turned to getting his work out there to help others in the same situation. To do this, Mark applied for a grant from Red Rose Recovery, who ended up giving him funding to buy a PC and printer to make his poetry publishing dreams possible.“I wasn’t even PC literate at the start. Now I’ve not only designed and edited my book, but I’ve also helped other people do theirs too”, Mark stated.

Using the writing skills learned from reflective journaling during recovery and the PC provided by Red Rose Recovery, Mark compiled his poems into his very first book. ‘One Day at a Time’ isn’t just a story of Mark’s life either – it’s a collaboration of stories from others in recovery, which came to fruition with thanks to Facebook. Mark set up his own group on Facebook as a community space for others to collaborate and communicate. ‘Creative Writing in Recovery’ has given Mark a platform to get stories from up and down the country, receiving submissions from Preston, Huddersfield, and Newcastle to name a few. Mark said: “This book isn’t about me. It’s people’s stories, poems, and personal letters to make people aware of how writing can help recovery.” Many of the poets from his book are joining open mic night – and some will even be taking to the stage to share their talents with Burnley.

The proceeds from One Day at a Time are being donated to Casual Minds Matter. You can download an e-book or order a copy at creativewritingforrecovery.com.

Special thanks to Burnley Together

Mark has been a regular face at Down Town for years. In fact, he even used to volunteer when it was still known as BFC in the Community. Like many others, Mark has enjoyed the consistent support of Down Town and now gives back as a regular visitor. Mark said: “Down Town was the starting point for me. It got me back in the community when I needed it most. They offer great support and advice.”I love coming back to say thank you for everything they’ve done for me. I always speak to the staff, they’re great and always support my creative writing.”

Mark is also putting on his event-organiser hat, helping the staff at Down Town organise the open mic night and ensure the whole evening is a roaring success. He continued: “It’s not just a food bank and café. It’s a community hub. People who are struggling know there’s always a place to go and feel welcome – it’s an amazing place to be. The coffee and butties are great too!”.

Beyond open mic night

In the future, Mark is looking to get funding to open a book stall on Burnley’s Artisan Market, which will give him a place to not only sell books, but to get together in the community. The stall will sell books from other writers he’s helped publish, creating a platform to build creativity and share valuable stories within the recovery community.He concluded: “One person came up to me and really thanked me. She said she totally connected with my poems and stories because she was in the same position. It’s always nice knowing I can help other people who are on the same journey.”If something good or bad happens, write it down. When you share something, it becomes even more powerful”