2016 festival highlights
The 2016 Winchester Poetry Festival took place 7 - 9 October with preview events and a programme of community engagement in the weeks leading up to the festival weekend. The programme included 40 poets, 36 events from readings to workshops, talks and exhibitions. The translation duel was a noticeable highlight and, with the Stanza Stones collaboration and demonstration featuring Simon Armitage and letter-cutter Pip Hall, fulfilled the festival’s ambitions to surprise and delight.
The mix of events and diversity of poets clearly appealed to our core audience and was a factor in attracting larger numbers. The workshop programme once again sold out quickly and was well received. Audience numbers exceeded targets and were 16% up on the inaugural festival in 2014. Feedback from participants and audiences alike was overwhelmingly positive.
New relationships were established with key community organisations: Treloar College, Alton; Solent Mind, and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. An important innovation was the introduction of an international poetry competition, the Winchester Poetry Prize, presented in association with Hampshire Cultural Trust. The festival's trustees have decided to make the Winchester Poetry Prize an annual event.
Overall the festival broke even with the prize making a valuable contribution to the charity’s reserves. We are immensely grateful for the support of all our funders, sponsors, Friends and partners and volunteers.