Poetry decorating the walls.
BBI newly decorated ready to welcome the public.

Barrett Browning Institute

We’re delighted to announce our move into the Barrett Browning Institute, a remarkable historic building in the heart of our market town, built in 1895 in memory of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning who lived at Hope End near Ledbury. It is owned by Ledbury Places whose volunteers are working tirelessly to secure the building’s future for the community.

Lockdown means that the move will be gradual. We hope to open the building to the public in Spring 2021.

It’s Ledbury Poetry Festival’s mission to enable everyone to enjoy poetry and to develop and nurture the creative use of language. Given the poetic heritage of Ledbury, our vision is that our town will continue to be seen as the home of poetry – welcoming everyone, developing creativity, changing lives.

Ledbury Poetry Festival’s aim is that the space will become a flexible home throughout the year for our Community and Education outreach programmes. The building will also offer us the chance to develop pioneering projects such as Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics, and new digital initiatives including poetry workshops online.

A diverse range of sources provide our main funding and we are very grateful to every trust, charitable foundation and individual sponsor for supporting the Festival’s valuable work. If Ledbury Poetry Festival is to occupy this Barrett Browning Institute for the long-term, then it will be vital to work closely with Ledbury Places to raise capital funding to fully renovate and refurbish the building.

John Masefield pupils with Margaret Atwood

Ledbury Poetry Festival and Schools

Throughout the year, we work with local schools and teachers to develop and nurture a love for language, creative writing and literacy.

We do this through poet workshops (both in interesting locations and in schools), special readings and performances, poetry trails, classroom activities plus inset sessions for teachers.

Ledbury Poetry Prize for Second Collections
Now open for submissions from publishers for books published in the UK and Ireland in 2019 and 2020

Judges are Naomi Shihab Nye and Sandeep Parmar

Ledbury Poetry Prize Announcement
Ledbury Poetry Prize Submission Guidelines
Ledbury Poetry Prize Submission Form


Ledbury Poetry Festival Reading Group

On Zoom * Hosted by Chloe Garner, Festival Artistic Director * Free to attend.
Participants need to purchase their own copy of each book in advance from their preferred outlet.
This will be a friendly, relaxed and informal group. Through conversation and reflection, sharing responses and considering questions or confusions, we will enhance our appreciation and enjoyment of each collection we read.

Monday 15 March, 7pm – 9pm, Ocean Vuong, Night Sky with Exit Wounds,
Published by Cape Poetry

Monday 19 April, 7pm – 9pm, Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, Published by Penguin

How to Join

Please click on the link below to register. You will only need to click on the link once to be able to participate in all the sessions on Zoom. There is no requirement to attend every session.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Zoom link here to register

If you would like to suggest books for future Reading Groups sessions please email Chloe on director@poetry-festival.co.uk and similarly if you have any questions, do get in touch.

Ledbury Poetry Festival Online!

Ledbury Poetry Festival happened online last year, on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July, with a special The Verb preview, on Friday 3 July, on BBC Radio 3 hosted by Ian McMillan (if you missed it you can listen to it at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000kgwn).

The Festival events all happened on Zoom and were an opportunity for anyone who has enjoyed Ledbury Poetry Festival to gather together and hopefully lots of first-timers as well!

Ledbury Poetry Festival Online was not a version of the Festival that would have happened. Instead it was a small and specially curated selection of events that reflected our current times and spoke to what is happening in the world now, from Covid-19, to Lockdown, to Black Lives Matter. This Festival Online explored the many ways that poetry matters in these times, as a creative expression, offering an opportunity for reflection, insight, solace and inspiration, sparking conversation and speaking to culture and politics in the present moment.

All the events were FREE. Ledbury Poetry Festival is pleased to have offered all events free of charge in the spirit of fellowship with poets, poetry and the poetry community in these challenging times, so that income was no barrier to joining these vital happenings.

However donations are welcome and we would appreciate all the support you can manage.

Details of the events are now on the Festival Online page – the recordings have now expired.

Special Moments from Ledbury Poetry Festival 2019!

Thanks to @PaulLigas, Official Festival Photographer

Become a Friend of Ledbury Poetry Festival

If you are interested in becoming a Friend of Ledbury Poetry Festival please contact Sandra our Finance Manager on 01531 636232 (email finance@poetry-festival.co.uk) or you can visit the Friends page where you can now sign up on-line.

Some of our Sponsors

The Pennington-Mellor-Munthe
Charity Trust