Friends launch photo
Friends launch photo

Poetry Festival - Gilbert Yates Photogra
Poetry Festival - Gilbert Yates Photogra

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Friends launch photo
Friends launch photo

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2018 Festival 

Artistic Co-directors Sasha Dugdale and Sarah Hesketh programmed a diverse and stimulating menu of events aimed at fulfilling our intention to ‘surprise and delight’. Loosely focussed around themes of place and identity, and bracketed by riotously entertaining performances from Ian McMillan and Hollie McNish, the festival included poets from Macedonia, Iran, Ireland and Jamaica. 

 

Audiences responded especially well to readings by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Rebecca Goss, Nikola Madzirov, to Annie Freud’s ‘Things Being Various’ and the inaugural Robert Hutchison lecture given by Alexandra Harris. Artist/poet ‘in residence’, Sophie Herxheimer,  animated the festival space.
 

The pilot Young Wordsmiths writer development scheme was well-received by teachers and students and has kicked off a comprehensive education strategy.

Ian McMillan
Ian McMillan

Ian McMillan at Winchester Poetry Festival

Young Poets' Prizegiving
Young Poets' Prizegiving
Rebecca Goss
Rebecca Goss
Frances Leviston Workshop
Frances Leviston Workshop
Winchester Poetry Festival audience
Winchester Poetry Festival audience
Sophie Herxheimer
Sophie Herxheimer
Nikola Madzirov
Nikola Madzirov
Selfie with Hollie McNish
Selfie with Hollie McNish

2016 Festival 

Our second festival bore the hallmark of Sasha Dugdale, working as artistic co-director alongside Keiren Phelan. Sasha brought a strong internationalism to the programme, the translation duel being a noticeable highlight. 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. was the Stanza Stones collaboration and demonstration featuring Simon Armitage and letter-cutter Pip Hall.

We built new community partnerships – with Treloar College (one of the country’s leading providers for young people with disabilities), Solent Mind and the Basingstoke and Winchester NHS Foundation Trust –  and 180 sixth-form students enjoyed a dedicated event featuring poets Ian Duhig and Sinéad Morrissey.

 

The inaugural Winchester Poetry Prize attracted 1500 entries from over 600 poets. The prizes were presented at a special reading on the Sunday by judge Mimi Khalvati, and the winning and commended poems were published as Salt on the Coals.

Eve Ellis
Eve Ellis
Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage
Emergency Poet
Emergency Poet
Sinead Morissey
Sinead Morissey
Jo Shapcott & Jon Sayers
Jo Shapcott & Jon Sayers
DSCF8214 ed
DSCF8214 ed
DSCF7533
DSCF7533
Inua Ellams
Inua Ellams

2014 Festival 

The inaugural Winchester Poetry Festival was held 12-14 September 2014 at Winchester Discovery Centre and venues around the city. The festival brought together more than 30 world-class poets and writers, from Brian Patten to Jackie Kay, as well as young writers of the future, to inspire poetry-lovers of all ages. We commemorated the poetry of the First World War and celebrated  local poets past and present with readings, talks, workshops, exhibitions and a reading tour.

One of the major poets at Winchester’s first poetry festival, Michael Longley, told an appreciative packed audience that “This is not just a good festival, it’s a great festival and this city should be very proud to have it.”

We were particularly pleased with the enthusiastic reception given to all the poets, including Patience Agbabi, Christopher Reid, Michael Longley and Jackie Kay, and also with the quality of the new young voices – hugely promising poets like Rosemary Brooke-Hart and Dom Cramp from Peter Symonds College, the latter the stunning winner of the festival’s pop-up poetry competition organised by Magma magazine.

Peter Symonds slam team
Peter Symonds slam team
Patience Agbabi
Patience Agbabi
Sasha Dugdale
Sasha Dugdale
WDC audience
WDC audience
Michael Longley
Michael Longley
Kate Firth workshop
Kate Firth workshop
David Constantine
David Constantine
Brian Patten & Imtiaz Dharker
Brian Patten & Imtiaz Dharker