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Clare Pollard appointed as Artistic Director

We are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Artistic Director. The poet, editor and writer, Clare Pollard, joins the festival team at a time when we begin developing and shaping the programme for the fifth festival in October 2023.

Clare Pollard will be taking over from Sasha Dugdale who has been in the role since 2015 and who decided to step down to concentrate on other projects at the end of the 2021 festival.

Festival Chair, Jane Bryant, said ‘It is a huge pleasure to welcome Clare to our small team. Her wide-ranging experience of the diversity of the literary landscape and of the poetry world in particular, make her an exceptional choice as Artistic Director. I’m very excited about the imagination, innovation, and verve she will bring to Winchester Poetry Festival 2023.’

Clare has published five collections of poetry with Bloodaxe, most recently Incarnation, and a pamphlet The Lives of the Female Poets, published by Bad Betty Press. Her play The Weather (Faber, 2004) premiered at the Royal Court Theatre. She has been involved in numerous translation projects, including co-translating The Sea-Migrations by Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf (Bloodaxe, 2017) which received a PEN Translates award. Clare has also translated Ovid’s Heroines (Bloodaxe, 2013), and Trust by Anna T. Szabo (Arc, 2021). She is the current editor of Modern Poetry in Translation and poetry editor for The Idler. Her latest book is a non-fiction title, Fierce Bad Rabbits: The Tales Behind Children's Picture Books (Penguin), and her novel Delphi is forthcoming in Summer 2022 (Fig Tree).

Clare said, 'The last two years have given people such a hunger for live literature, whilst also teaching us much about community and accessibility. It is an exciting time to be joining one of my very favourite poetry festivals, that has always combined a sense of the local with an ambitious and international outlook. I can't wait to start planning for 2023!'

Winchester Poetry Festival is a biennial three-day festival established in 2014, which attracts local, national, and international audiences and poets. In 2021 the festival responded to the pandemic restrictions by presenting four months of online events followed by a weekend of live poetry readings, workshops and talks at the Winchester Discovery Centre.

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