For the last 18 months our creative team have been putting together our fourth biennial festival due to take place in October. Our theme for 2020 is the special relationship between British poetry and poets and their counterparts in America.
In normal circumstances we would be holding a launch event this month and opening the box office for bookings. Clearly these are far from normal circumstances and, given the restrictions and uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus epidemic, we’ve decided to delay the launch of the festival for a couple of months.
We’re continuing to plan for the festival itself to go ahead in October when we hope that the healing and restorative power of poetry can play a part in bringing a sense of renewal to all our lives. When we’re able to confirm arrangements for October, we’ll announce them through social media, in our newsletter and here on the website. So please check back.
In the meantime, on this website you can find links to videos of some of the great poets we’re planning to bring to Winchester. These include Raymond Antrobus, Safiya Sinclair, Jericho Brown, Roger Robinson, Mary Jean Chan and Layli Long Soldier.
You can also find Rebecca Goss reading her poem ‘Crossing’, which we’ve specially commissioned for this year’s festival.
The Winchester Poetry Prize is open for entries – closing date 31 July. You can find full details on the Prize page of this website including some thoughtful advice from judge Andrew McMillan on what he will looking for in making his selection. Do send him your best poems and remember there is a special prize for the best poem from a poet based in Hampshire.
I’d like to thank all our supporters – funders, sponsors, donors, volunteers, partners – and our audience for sticking with us, and to wish you all well.
As Maya Angelou said: “Poetry can tell us what human beings are. It can tell us why we stumble and fall and how, miraculously, we can stand up.”