In view of the continuing uncertainty about restrictions arising from the pandemic, the festival’s trustees have decided it is not practical to continue to plan for the live Winchester Poetry Festival in October 2020. Instead we will re-schedule the main festival programme to take place 8-10 October 2021.
While we regret the need for postponement, this will ensure we can offer our audiences and participants the quality of event they have come to expect, and continue to plan for the involvement of a significant contingent of poets from America. It also gives us the opportunity to develop some valuable new ways of working. The decision has the support of our principal funder Arts Council England, and we are grateful to all our partners and supporters for sticking with us.
In the meantime the Winchester Poetry Prize 2020 will take place this year as planned – closing date 31 July – and we aim to produce a prize-giving event in October which will feature all the commended poets and can be broadcast online, significantly broadening our audience.
Following consultation with schools and other partners part of our education and community programme is being moved online from the autumn and the remaining activities are being deferred until early 2021.
While our research shows that the live shared experience is what makes the Winchester poetry festival such a stimulating, warm and celebratory encounter with great writing and performances, we also aim to expand the range of online material we offer. Our website already features poetry videos and podcasts, most recently Rebecca Goss reading her 2020 commission ‘Crossing’, and we will add to this over the coming months.
We are grateful for the support of all our funders, sponsors, donors and Friends. Moving the festival will incur additional costs, some of which we will meet from our reserves, but if you wish to support us there are several ways in which you can do so (see Support Us), including through a new Just Giving facility which will be available soon.