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Winchester Poetry Festival 2023

Sunday 15 October


The ARC - Learning Rooms


Bengali Poetry Translation 

Workshop with Shamim Azad, Helen Bowell

Sunday 15th October

10:30 - 12pm


Presented by The Poetry Translation Centre

There is no need to know the language being translated. Simply come along and share your passion for words, writing and understanding.

Translation offers a new perspective on language and culture. At this Bengali poetry translation workshop the group will start with a rough guide translation provided by Shamim Azad, and work towards a translation that works as a poem in English, guided by experienced poet-facilitator Helen Bowell. The process invites endless insightful questions and encourages problem-solving and playfulness as everyone works together to understand and reassemble the poem in its new, translated form.

Shamim Azad is a British bilingual poet, storyteller and writer of Bangladeshi origin. Her work ranges from Bangladeshi to European folktales. Her performance fuses the lines between education and entertainment and her workshops are rooted in Asian folk, oral traditions and heritage. She has published books including novels, collections of short stories, essays and poems in both English and Bengali and has been included in various anthologies. Shamim also features in The Celebration Of Bengali Poetry event in the festival programme.

Helen Bowell is a London-based poet and co-director of Dead [Women] Poets Society. In 2020, she co-guest-edited an issue of Modern Poetry in Translation (focus on dead women poets). She is a Ledbury Poetry Critic and her debut pamphlet The Barman was published by Bad Betty Press in 2022. Helen will be delivering a Close Reading during the festival programme.


Suitable for: all abilities, no prior knowledge of Bengali language necessary.

Duration: 1.5 hours

Format: in person


The ARC - Performance Hall

£6 for 3-17yrs

£12 for 18yrs+

I Am A Poetato 

Family show with John Hegley

Sunday 15th October 

10.30 - 12pm


This show is aimed at anyone who has been seven years old. It has joining in and singing and lasts for an hour, with sections about John Keats who once walked the streets of Winchester and sword fenced with celery in his home in London, and lost.

John Hegley began his performing career with Interaction Arts and has carried on their ethos of involving audiences physically and emotionally. He has been poet in Residence at Keats House London, completed two sessions for John Peel with The Popticians and remains glad to wear glasses. His picture book with Neal Layton, Stanley’s Stick has been translated into Icelandic and he particularly looks forward to returning to Winchester now knowing that John Keats once walked its streets.


Suitable for: all ages

Duration: 1hr

Format: in person

Access: relaxed performance


The ARC - Performance Hall



Things Being Various

Sasha Dugdale, Jon Sayers

Sunday 15th October

12 - 1pm

Award-winning poet, translator, and previous artistic director of the Winchester Poetry Festival, Sasha Dugdale will discuss five ‘things’ that have inspired her or are symbolic of important stages in her personal and artistic development. She will accompany the discussion with readings from her work. Between 1995 and 2000, Sasha worked for the British Council in Russia and, alongside her own poetry she specialises in translating Russian poetry and plays.




Sasha Dugdale is a poet and translator. She has published five collections with Carcanet. Joy (2017) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and the title poem was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her most recent collection Deformations (2020) was shortlisted for the 2020 T. S. Eliot and Derek Walcott Prizes, and her forthcoming collection The Strong Box will be published by Carcanet in 2024. She has translated numerous Russian women poets and her translation of Maria Stepanova’s In Memory of Memory was shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize.

Jon Sayers has published poems and translations in journals in the UK and USA, including Magma, The Rialto, Kaffeeklatsch, Literary Review and The Squaw Valley Review. He has served as Chair of Winchester Poetry Festival, Magma Poetry, Deputy Chair of The Poetry Society trustees and was Poet in Residence at Sunday Assembly, London. He teaches creative writing for wellbeing in London and co-runs the Kent and Sussex Writing and Wellbeing Network.


Suitable for: all

Duration: 1hr

Format: in person


The ARC - Community Space

Free (booking advised)

Poetry In Motion

Laura Wilcock and Susan Cunningham

Sunday 15th October

12 - 1:30pm

Explore poetry and song lyrics through the expressive form of British Sign Language in this relaxed workshop for all ages. No experience of BSL required.

Sign Language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language. It is used mainly by people who are Deaf or have hearing impairments. BSL is the preferred language of around 145,000 people within the UK, and is the most common form of sign language used in Britain.

Drop in and join us between 12 and 1:30pm to witness, learn and participate in how to translate English poems into this eloquent mode of total communication.

Workshop facilitated by Communication support worker Laura Wilcock who is a CODA (child of Deaf adults) and BSL user Susan Cunningham, BSL teacher and tutor for children's workshops.


Suitable for: all ages and abilities

Duration: 1.5hr drop-in session

Format: in person

Access: relaxed performance, BSL interpreted


The ARC - Learning Rooms

Free (booking advised)

Close Reading

Helen Bowell

Sunday 15th October

1:15 - 1:45pm

Close readings are a firm favourite with the festival audience. Here is your opportunity to sit with a poet who features in our festival programme as they discuss with you a poem which they have found important or inspirational to their own particular journey.

Chosen poem is The Murderer by Luke Kennard. Helen will also be facilitating a Poetry Translation workshop as part of the festival programme.


Helen Bowell is a London-based poet and co-director of Dead [Women] Poets Society. In 2020, she co-guest-edited an issue of Modern Poetry in Translation (focus on dead women poets). She is a Ledbury Poetry Critic and her debut pamphlet The Barman was published by Bad Betty Press in 2022. 


Suitable for: all

Duration: 30mins max

Format: in person

Access: poem transcripts available


The ARC - Performance Hall

Free (booking advised)

Winchester Poetry Prize 2023

Presented by Zaffar Kunial

Sunday 15th October

2 - 3pm

Our internationally renowned Winchester Poetry Prize goes from strength to strength, with entries pouring in from talented poets each year.

This exciting live event is an opportunity to hear us count down the commended poems, right through to the winners. Hear the poems being read live by the poets themselves in this special prize giving ceremony, as we celebrate the winners and launch the 2023 anthology.

The Winchester Poetry Prize judge for 2023 is Zaffar Kunial, who will be presenting this event. Zaffar will be reading his own work at our Sunday headline event as part of the festival programme.


First Prize £1000 | Second Prize £500 | Third Prize £250

Special prize for the best poem written by a Hampshire-based poet.

With many thanks to our competition sponsors Warren & Son and Paris Smith


Suitable for: all

Duration: 1 hr

Format: in person and online


The ARC - Performance Hall

Free (booking advised)

Reaching Across Continents

Short poetry videos presented by Nathalie Teitler, Leo Boix

Sunday 15th October

4 - 5pm

To combat isolation during Covid, Director of ‘Un Nuevo Sol: British Latinx Writers’ Nathalie Teitler embarked on a collaborative project connecting US and UK Latinx poets with a visual artist in Latin America. The results are unique pieces of work that speak to the power of art and poetry to unite us, even in times of crisis.

Featured poets: Leo Boix, Alex Regalado, Carlos Andres Gomez and Maia Elsner. Introduced by Nathalie Teitler and Leo Boix.

Dr Nathalie Teitler HonFrsl was born in Buenos Aires, and has been working to promote inclusivity in British literature for over 25 years. She was the Director of the Complete Works Poetry program, founded by Bernardine Evaristo, that had a significant impact on the UK poetry landscape. Since 2018 she has been developing British Latinx writers, as well as building links with Latinx/Latin American writers around the world as Director of Un Nuevo Sol, along with Leo Boix. Nathalie also runs the company Dancing Words making poetry dance films that have been shown around the world.

Leo Boix is a bilingual Latinx poet born in Argentina. His poems have featured in numerous anthologies, his debut English collection Ballad of a Happy Immigrant (Chatto & Windus, 2021) was awarded the Poetry Book Society Wild Card Choice. Boix has been included in many anthologies and has received the Bart Wolffe Poetry Prize, the Keats-Shelley Prize, a PEN Award, and The Society of Authors’ Foundation and K. Blundell Trust.

Suitable for: all

Duration: 1hr

Format: in person

Access: poem transcripts available


The ARC - Performance Hall

£12 in person

£6 online

Sunday Headline

Zaffar Kunial, Matthew Hollis 

Sunday 15th October

5:30 - 7pm

This event brings together two exceptional talents whose recent books explore the language, landscapes and difficult histories of these islands: cricket games, woodlands, roses and ruins.

This event will open with readings from guest Kathryn Bevis


Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham and lives in Yorkshire. He was a recipient of Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize and his first poetry collection, Us, published by Faber & Faber in 2018 appeared on a number of shortlists including the Costa Poetry Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. His second collection, England’s Green, published by Faber in 2022, was named as The Sunday Times best poetry book of the year.

Matthew Hollis's debut Ground Water (Bloodaxe Books, 2004) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread Poetry Award and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas (Faber & Faber, 2011) won the Costa Biography Award and the H.W. Fisher Biography Prize, was Radio 4 Book of the Week and Sunday Times Biography of the Year. He is the author of The Waste Land: A Biography of a Poem (Faber & Faber, 2022) which he is delivering a lecture on as part of the WPF programme this year. His latest poetry collection is Earth House (Bloodaxe, 2023) which he will be reading from at this event

Kathryn Bevis is former Hampshire Poet Laureate (2020-22). Her pamphlet, Flamingo, (Seren) was one of the Poetry Society’s ‘Books of the Year’ for 2022 and her debut collection, The Butterfly House, will be published by Seren in 2024.


Suitable for: all

Duration: 1.5 hours

Format: in person and online

Access: BSL interpreted

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