2018 festival highlights
Our 2018 festival brought to Winchester voices from far and near, from the Caribbean to the Middle East, from Old Norse to Scots, Welsh and Irish. All very appropriate for a programme that was themed on questions of identity and place.
Among many highlights Ian McMillan entertained us uproariously, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Rebecca Goss, Nick Makoha, Caroline Bird, Golan Haji all gave arresting readings bringing that element of surprise and delight which we hope is a hallmark of the festival. Annie Freud was revealing and entertaining in conversation with Jon Sayers; Alexandra Harris spoke with wit and insight about the threads that bind the work of local visionaries William Cowper, Stanley Spencer and Ford Madox Ford; artist and poet Sophie Herxheimer was a constant presence drawing on conversations with audience and poets to record personal stories and giving a joyful reading featuring her collection Velkom to Inklandt, and Hollie McNish closed the show with a typically punchy and engaging performance.
This year we extended our involvement with young people by introducing the Young Wordsmiths programme and a Young Poets competition alongside school visits by three of our poets and a children’s event in the library. The 2018 Winchester Poetry Prize, judged by Liz Berry, produced a startling crop of original and well crafted poems – all featured in our prize anthology The Blaze in Father’s Breath.