12-14 September 2014: 3 days, 30 poets, 26 events
The cream of Hampshire’s poetic talent will be centre stage at a major new literary event in the South of England: Winchester Poetry Festival.
Poets with a connection to the county – young and old, established and emerging, past and present – will be featured, including one of Britain’s most successful and popular poets Brian Patten. Normally associated with Liverpool, Patten lived in Winchester during the late Sixties when the famous Merseyside poet wanted to escape the media circus. He found the city ‘misty, ancient and quiet’ and it provided a productive and creative environment for his writing.
Kate Firth, who was brought up in Winchester, will lead a workshop on performance skills for aspiring writers who want to deliver their poems live. Formerly an actress, Kate is the expert’s expert: she coached her older brother Colin to prepare for his role as George VI in The King’s Speech.
Joan McGavin, Hampshire Poet 2014, is joined by six other leading local poets, who will present a snapshot of the county’s contemporary poetry scene in a joint reading. Student poets from three of Hampshire’s sixth form colleges (Alton College, Itchen College and Peter Symonds College) showcase their work in Slamdunk Hants the county’s first-ever school poetry slam.
In its debut year, Winchester Poetry Festival commemorates World War One with a number of key events, including Roads from Hampshire, a talk by Professor Edna Longley on the life and work of Edward Thomas, Hampshire’s foremost poet and one of the country’s most enduringly popular writers.
2014 also sees the centenary of the birth of Hampshire legend John Arlott. Before his remarkable career as a ‘the voice of cricket’ Arlott was a BBC poetry producer and practising poet. He is celebrated in an affectionate tribute by former England cricket captain Michael Brearley and his acclaimed biographer David Rayvern.
Visitors to the Festival can enjoy a free walking tour, which explores sites of special poetic interest around Winchester.
Stephen Boyce, one of the Festival’s two artistic directors and himself a published poet said: “We want to put poetry on the map in this part of England and give audiences a shot in the arm with some of the UK’s best, including Hampshire’s home-grown talent.”
Winchester Poetry Festival
Date: Friday September 12 – Sunday September 14 2014
Main venue: Winchester Discovery Centre
Tickets: Most tickets £7-£12.50. Some events free.
Winchester Discovery Centre Box Office: 01962 873603 or online via www.winchesterpoetryfestival.org homepage