Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a former starving musician who transformed into a starving poet in 2015, entirely by mistake. He lives in Leeds and appears regularly at events in Yorkshire and beyond, and has been published in numerous anthologies and in magazines online and in print. In 2017 he won the prestigious Open Mic Competition at Ilkley Literature Festival.




Williams masterfully navigates between subtle wit and nostalgia; both of which are warm and cosy, but with a vulnerability which never tries to hide. These poems exist in all of us. He provides the perfect ingredients for them to spring to life, without ever having to spell it out. Wonderfully crafted, and a joy to read from start to finish. Bravo!

Matt Abbott

Joe Williams’ poems walk a tightrope strung between the quotidian and the absurd, from watching snooker on the telly to Virgil turning up at an open mic night. Stripped of all excess, they stand exposed in the page’s spotlight, coolly staring down the white space in which so much of their impact resides. It’s a deft balancing act.

Oz Hardwick

A lot can happen in fifteen pubs.

A young man sits alone in Woodies, waiting for his friends. It’s the same day as Sarah’s hen party. They’re all doing the Otley Run pub crawl.Will they make it to The Dry Dock, and what will they discover on the way?

‘I read “An Otley Run” from start to finish in one sitting, nodding in recognition all the way through. Packed full of believable characters, familiar settings and painful fancy dress, this filmic and strangely beautiful verse novella will bring nostalgia to any pub-crawler, not least those who have experienced the joys of the Otley Run.’

            Maria Ferguson, Saboteur Award winning poet


‘Joe Williams’ pub odyssey, “An Otley Run” took me straight back to my gargantuan drinking days in Headingley as a younger man. Working on so many different levels, I found this picaresque verse-novel both brilliant and intoxicating.’

            James Nash, poet and writer