Photo by Lyndon Douglas
One of the country’s most distinctive and valued poetry performers, Patience Agbabi is the author of three collections. Telling Tales is her major new book, re-telling the stories of Chaucer’s twenty-four pilgrims in the form of a poetry slam with her modern day characters travelling on a Routemaster bus to Canterbury. The medieval Pilgrim’s Way started in Winchester en route to Canterbury and this performance will bring an exceptional contemporary dimension to Winchester’s historic past.
Ros Barber was born in Washington D.C. to British parents and grew up in Colchester, Essex, before moving to Brighton at the age of 18. She has worked in IT as an analyst programmer, and taught Creative Writing at the University of Sussex for 12 years. Her second poetry collection with Anvil, Material (2008) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; the title poem features in Faber's "Poems of the Decade". Her critically acclaimed first novel, The Marlowe Papers (2012), was longlisted for the 2013 Women's Fiction Prize (former the Orange Prize).
Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in Birmingham. Her first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014), described as a ‘sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Liz works as a tutor for organisations including the Arvon Foundation, Writing West Midlands and Writers’ Centre Norwich.
David Constantine is a scholar, translator, poet and short story writer. He worked for thirty years as a university teacher of German language and literature, published several volumes of poetry (Bloodaxe), three short story collections (Comma Press), and translated Brecht and Goethe. He has won several major awards for his writing, including the BBC National Short Story Award in 2010. With his wife Helen he was editor of Modern Poetry in Translation from 2007-2012. His contribution to the festival will be a performance of his work, with reference to German poetry from the Great War, a Close Reading and a commemorative reading in Winchester College War Cloister.
Julia Copus was born in London and now lives in Somerset. All three of her collections are Poetry Book Society Recommendations. She has won First Prize in the National Poetry Competition and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (2010). In 2012, she was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for Ghost Lines. Her third collection, The World's Two Smallest Humans, was published in 2012 by Faber and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Poetry Award. This year saw the publication of her first book for children, Hog in the Fog (Faber). She is an Advisory Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund.
Photo by Ayesha Dharker Taylor
Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker. Her collections of poems include Purdah (Oxford University Press), Postcards from god, I speak for the devil and The terrorist at my table (all published by Penguin India and Bloodaxe Books UK) and Leaving Fingerprints (Bloodaxe Books UK). Her forthcoming collection is Over the Moon (September 2014, Bloodaxe Books UK). She has had ten solo exhibitions of drawings in India, London, New York and Hong Kong. She scripts and directs films, many of them for non-government organisations in India, working in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children.
Raised in Tottenham, North London, Zena Edwards has become known as a unique voice of performance poetry. Zena nominated for the Arts Foundation Award for Performance Poetry 2007 and won the Hidden Creatives Award 2012. Zena has been involved in writing for performance for 20 years and is Creative Director of Verse In Dialog, an umbrella company with a focus on cross art collaboration for Change. She has commissioned and written for the BBC and Birmingham Rep, and is Associate Artist at the Albany, London. Published in the tribute anthology for Ken Saro-Wiwa, Dance the Guns to Silence and No Condition is Permanent (Platform London).
Writer, poet, enemy of all that’s difficult and upsetting, Matt’s way with words has taken him from Totnes to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships via Saturday Live, the Edinburgh Festival and the Work section of the Guardian. He is host of Radio 4’s Wondermentalist Cabaret, creator of Empath Man, and author of The Hole in the Sum of my Parts, Where Earwigs Dare and Mindless Body Spineless Mind. Currently preparing a tour of Hampshire community venues – Matt's contribution will be a performance as part of a group reading.
Photo by Denise Else
Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. The Adoption Papers (Bloodaxe) won the Forward Prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council Prize. Fiere, her most recent collection of poems was shortlisted for the COSTA award. Her novel Trumpet won the Guardian Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the IMPAC award. Red Dust Road (Picador) won the Scottish Book of the Year Award, & the LONDON BOOK AWARD. It was shortlisted for the JR ACKERLEY prize. She was awarded an MBE in 2006, and made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002. Her book of stories Wish I Was Here won the Decibel British Book Award. She also writes for children and her book Red Cherry Red (Bloomsbury) won the CLYPE award. She is currently working on her new novel, Bystander. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.
Edna Longley lives in Belfast. She is a Professor Emerita in the School of English at Queen's University. She is the editor of Edward Thomas: The Annotated Collected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2008), and has coedited (with Fran Brearton) Incorrigibly Plural: Louis MacNeice and his Legacy (Carcanet, 2012). Her most recent book is Yeats and Modern Poetry (Cambridge University Press 2013).
Michael Longley lives in Belfast. He is a winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Hawthornden Prize. In 2001 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. His Collected Poems appeared in 2006, and A Hundred Doors in 2011. He is the editor of Robert Graves: Selected Poems (Faber, 2013), and his new collection, The Stairwell, will be published by Jonathan Cape in August 2014.His contribution to the festival will be a group reading with two other writers and a commemorative reading in Winchester College War Cloister.
Olivia McCannon was born on Merseyside and lives in Harlesden, London.
Her poetry collection Exactly My Own Length (Carcanet/Oxford Poets, 2011) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and won the 2012 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. She lived for nine years in France – eight years in Belleville, Paris – and her translations from French include Balzac’s Old Man Goriot (Penguin Classics, 2011), modern poetry in Poetry of Place: Paris (Eland, 2014) and contemporary plays for the Royal Court theatre in London. She also writes short fiction, lyrics and libretti.
Brian Patten made his name in the 1960s as one of the Liverpool Poets, alongside Adrian Henri and Roger McGough. Their main aim was to make poetry immediate and accessible for their audience, and their joint anthology, The Mersey Sound (1967), now in Penguin Modern Classics, has been credited as the most significant anthology of the twentieth century for its success in bringing poetry to new audiences. Brian Patten's individual strength within this trio lay in his ability to write and perform a powerful mix of serious and humorous work. His many books include Selected Poems (Penguin) and The Collected Love Poems (HarperPerennial.) Brian Patten broadcasts on radio frequently and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Photo by Jerry Bauer
Christopher Reid is the author of a number of books of poems, including A Scattering (winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award) and The Song of Lunch (both 2009). From 1991 to 1999 he was Poetry Editor at Faber and Faber, and worked with Ted Hughes on such books as Tales from Ovid and Birthday Letters. Christopher has been Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull and is now a freelance writer living and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Jacqueline Saphra has won several awards including first prize in the Ledbury Poetry Competition. Her pamphlet, Rock’n’Roll Mamma was published by Flarestack and her first full collection, The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye) was developed with funding from Arts Council England and nominated for The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. A book of illustrated prose poems is forthcoming from The Emma Press in 2014.
Mike Brearley OBE is a retired English first-class cricketer who captained Cambridge University, Middlesex, and England. He was the President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in 2007–08. Since his retirement from professional cricket he has pursued a career as a writer and psychoanalyst.
David Rayvern Allen
David Rayvern Allen – who sadly died shortly after the festival aged 76 –was a cricket writer and historian, as well as an award-winning radio producer and presenter. He is the author of Arlott: The Authorised Biography.