High Hopes for Inaugural Poetry Festival


Posted by Andy Goddard

Posted in News

Poetry Festival

An expose on the upcoming poetry festival by Alex Gidden. Picture Credit,  Theo Moye


Excitement continues to grow for the upcoming poetry festival in Winchester.

The newest addition to the national poetry calendar will see a variety of exhibitions on offer, with well renowned international and local poets reading some of their most famous work.

There are several other events that feature during the festival, with the majority taking place at the Winchester Discovery Centre on Friday 12th to Sunday 14th September.

Co-Artistic Director of the festival, Stephen Boyce, feels the weekend will prove to be significant for poetry in the Winchester area:

“We felt there was a lack of large scale poetry events in the south of England. Winchester is ideal due to its literary heritage.”

He hopes that the occasion will inspire people of all ages to become more involved with poetry and stated that audience participation is a key part of the event:

“There is something for everyone. The festival is not just about listening to readings; we want them (the public) to engage with the poets themselves.”

Numerous competitions for young aspiring poets are being held throughout the three days, with the winners of the Wilfred Owen International Poetry Competition being announced on Sunday 14th.

The competition is being held to mark the centenary of the Great War.

Also available is the Walking Tour which has been created by editor of the Literary Winchester Blog, Keiren Phelan. This will offer people a guided tour of Winchester, centring around places of poetic interest.


Workshops will see the greatest interaction with the writers, offering a variety of opportunities – with chances to both publish and improve your poetry performance skills not to be missed.

As well as all of these events, perhaps the most exciting is the chance to see famous poets such as David Constantine and Brian Patten reading their best work.

There will be a diverse range of literary pieces being celebrated, with Indian Poet Amarjit Chandan discussing wartime Punjabi folksongs, whilst there is a modern take on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales by Patience Agbabi.

Having worked closely with one of the country’s leading poetry magazines, Magma, organisers of the festival are hoping that the ground-breaking event will prove to be a success.


Indeed another important first sees Magma launching a series of National Conversations about poetry across the country.

The conversation is hosted by Christopher Reid on the Sunday and will make all lovers of poems think more deeply into the art; considering what makes poetry.

As the weekend approaches, those involved are preparing the finishing touches which will see a banner put up along the high street to showcase the event.


Popular demand has already seen a high proportion of tickets sold, with the remaining ones expected to be purchased before the festival begins.

The Discovery Centre asks people to book tickets for all of the events in advance, so as to avoid disappointment on the day.

To find out more about what’s on throughout the weekend or ticket availability; speak to the Discovery Centre or visit the festival’s website.


Some of the country’s most exciting young poets will be lighting up the stage at the Winchester Poetry Festival, in a dynamic evening of performance poetry.


One of them is the award-winning Zena Edwards.

PIC poetry zena edwards

Raised in Tottenham, North London, Zena Edwards has become known as a unique voice of performance poetry. Zena was nominated for the Arts Foundation Award for Performance Poetry 2007 and won the Hidden Creatives Award 2012.


Zena has been involved in writing for performance for 20 years and is Creative Director of Verse In Dialog, an umbrella company with a focus on cross art collaboration for Change.


She has commissioned and written for the BBC and Birmingham Rep, and is Associate Artist at the Albany, London. Published in the tribute anthology for Ken Saro-Wiwa, Dance the Guns to Silence and No Condition is Permanent (Platform London).