Winchester Poetry Festival
Friday 7 – Sunday 9 October 2016
Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry St, Winchester SO23 8SB

A three-day celebration of inspiring poetry with readings, discussion and workshops. Featuring Simon Armitage, Sinead Morrissey, Roger McGough, Bernard O’Donoghue and many more award-winning poets and rising stars. Special commissions, competitions and – new this year – events for children. Most tickets £8-£12.50. Visit the Festival website for link to online booking or call the Discovery Centre box office 01962 873603.Workshops £20 (conc £17.50). Many events free.


Share it with a poem: Winchester Poetry Festival weekend (7-9 October) follows straight on from National Poetry Day 6 October) and will be celebrating a feast of imagination, with poems of all kinds to share and famous poets to share them. Many events are free.

Roger McGough, Simon Armitage, Sinead Morrissey, Helen Mort, Jo Shapcott and Bernard O’Donoghue and many other popular poets will be reading and talking about their work  – and inspiring young and old to enjoy poetry in many different forms, from writing verse on stone to performing it live.  There will even be an Emergency Poet helping visitors find the right curative poem for any complaint. Aspiring poets can also take advantage of special workshops where world-renowned poets share their skills.

Winchester Poetry Festival is not just about inviting well-established and world-renowned poets. Its aim is also be a catalyst by encouraging and stimulating new work. This year the Festival has commissioned poems, both from Simon Armitage and seven regional poets who were invited to respond to the chalk landscape of the South Downs and whose work will be published by Winchester Poetry Festival in a specially produced booklet.  The Festival also launched a major open poetry competition (judged by the distinguished and much admired poet Mimi Khalvati) and a schools ballad competition. All winners will be announced at events during the Festival weekend and their work published in a special anthology.

The Festival embraces poetry with a connection to Winchester – this year John Keats’ stay in the city is highlighted  – as well as poetry with a wider European context. With Sasha Dugdale, editor of Modern Poetry in Translation, as artistic co-director the Festival is developing a notable reputation for championing talented poets from around the world. In association with National Poetry Day this year, a translation duel will take place on Saturday 8 October between two of the UK’s top translators of German poetry: Karen Leeder and Iain Galbraith will read and discuss their translations of the same German poem.  Not only will the audience be invited to give an opinion, they will also receive a lovingly produced leaflet of the poems themselves, both in German and in translation.

“Our aim is to surprise and delight” said artistic co-director Keiren Phelan, “We hope that this year’s Festival, alongside National Poetry Day, will be entertaining and thought provoking. And by supporting emerging talent we aim to encourage the stars of the future. “

For more information on all events (many of them free) and how to book, visit the festival website.