Winchester Poetry Festival set to celebrate National Poetry Day

With six weeks to go, Winchester Poetry Festival is gearing up for its biggest and best year yet, with strong ticket sales and several events already full. The Festival will showcase some of the best and most exciting contemporary poets, both in the UK and abroad, with readings (some of them free), discussions and workshops (there’s even a poetry translation duel, and Tai Chi for creativity!) designed to stir, challenge and inspire, as only poetry can do.

Strong line-up of awardwinning poets

The line-up includes Hollie NcNish, Ian McMillan, Liz Berry, Gillian Clarke, Vahni Capildeo, Ishion Hutchinson, Luke Kennard, Clare Pollard, J O Morgan, Pascale Petit, Karen McCarthy Woolf and many more.

Artistic directors Sasha Dugdale and Sarah Hesketh (both poets) have created a weekend which excites them and they hope that poetry lovers – and those new to poetry –will share their enthusiasms. Said Sasha: “Sarah and I programmed the weekend like children in a sweet shop and it’s a line-up of poets we both loved and wanted to share. The world poets we’ve invited are stellar and the readings, we promise, will be memorable (and even life-changing!)”

International poets showcased

Poets are featured from across the UK, Ireland, the USA, Syria, Macedonia and the Caribbean. The Festival has forged an impressive reputation in bringing the very best in translated poetry to Winchester, providing a window into other lives and a realisation that whatever the culture, language or style from which their work springs, they are connected by similar concerns of identity and place.
Poets from all walks of life will be talking about their work, sharing their enthusiasms and poems that inspire them. They will be discussing how to make a living as a poet, and running workshops for aspiring wordsmiths.

Poetry awards

And there will be prizes – for the best new writing in this year’s international poetry prize, judged and announced by the poet Liz Berry; for best poem written by a Hampshire-based poet and for young writers.

Groundbreaking special projects

Winchester Poetry Festival seeks to foster and develop poetry across all ages and groups and has sponsored some groundbreaking community projects including, this year, a residency at Treloar School, for disabled students with poet and artist Sophie Herxheimer. Over the Festival weekend, Sophie – who is also the Festival’s poet-artist-in residence – will be displaying the poetry flags made by Treloar students and inviting Festival guests to make their own poetry objects.

During the year, the Festival has also worked with students and teachers from five local sixth forms (Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh, Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke and Peter Symonds College, St Swithun’s School and Winchester College in Winchester). A series of workshops led by Hampshire Poet Robyn Bolam has resulted in an anthology of poems and a presentation at the start of the Festival, during National Poetry Day.

The death last year of one of the Festival’s founder members, Robert Hutchison, is commemorated during the weekend with a special lecture, Local Visionaries. Professor Alexandra Harris will ask what we can learn from them, as we seek to understand our own relationships with the places around us. Robert Hutchison is also honoured in a new Young Poets’ Competition, in which Hampshire student poets aged 11-16 have been invited to submit work exploring any aspect of climate change.

Winchester Poetry Festival 2018: short listings paragraph

Friday October 5 to Sunday October 7
Winchester Poetry Festival draws from the deep well of contemporary writing and performance, featuring more than 40 of the best-known names in UK and world poetry and a range of thrilling new voices. Talks, workshops, and tours.