01. Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collections

The judges, Linda Gregerson and Lachlan Mackinnon,  announced the winner of this prestigious prize (with a £5,000 purse). Hear the vibrant, diverse collections by the shortlisted poets: James Womack, David Tait, Rory Waterman, A.K. Blakemore, Danez Smith and Adam O’Riordan.  

02. Roger McGough joinedupwriting

Roger McGough, one of Britain’s best-loved poets, is the author of over seventy books of poetry and editor of numerous anthologies. His exuberant new collection joinedupwriting ranges from forgotten friendships and the idiosyncrasies of family life to the trauma of war and contemporary global politics. These poems explore the human experience in all its shades…

04. German Translation Duel

Two poet-translators use their pens as swords in this duel of words. Join Clare Pollard as Jen Calleja and Annie Rutherford’s translations of contemporary German poet Odile Kennel battle it out. A translation duel is a great way to learn about the dangers and thrills of translation! Sponsored by Alison and Nigel Falls In partnership…

05. Andrew Motion and Hannah Sullivan, readings and conversation

For this fascinating event one of Britain’s most revered and celebrated poets, Andrew Motion and dazzling newcomer Hannah Sullivan will read their poems an05. Andrew Motion and Hannah Sullivan, readings and conversationd interview each other about their work. They share similarities – particularly the long-form approach and the autobiographical qualities of their poetry. Andrew Motion…

07. Reprieve readings hosted by Clive Stafford Smith

with Roy McFarlane, Jane Commane, Jacqueline Saphra, Casey Bailey, Ruth Stacey, Vidyan Ravinthiran and David Morley In a unique collaboration, Ledbury Poetry Festival and Reprieve commissioned seven poets to write a poem inspired by Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve founder and respected human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith OBE introduces this event and gives a personal insight…

08. I am a Rohingya – discussion and reading

How does poetry emerge from one of the largest refugee camps in the world? What is artistic expression to a traumatised, displaced people, often denied the most basic education? I am a Rohingya is the launch of the first anthology of Rohingya poetry published in English (Arc Publications, 2019). Editors Shehzar Doja and James Byrne…

12. Fiona Sampson and Phoebe Power

Fiona Sampson’s poetry has received awards around the world, and is published in 37 languages. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she’s received an MBE for Services to Literature, various awards and prizes, as well as shortlistings for the T.S. Eliot and Forward Prizes. Her forthcoming poetry collection is Come Down.   Phoebe Power…

13. Yu Yoyo and A.K. Blakemore

Celebrated Szechuanese poet Yu Yoyo reads from her new book, My Tenantless Body, published by the Poetry Translation Centre, alongside her poet translator A.K. Blakemore. The poems in this sensitive yet forceful selection lead us through the haunted nightscapes of China with suitably dark wit, colliding the oblique with the plain-spoken, their young protagonist forever veering…

15. Ilya Kaminsky and Aleš Šteger, reading and conversation chaired by Sandeep Parmar

Ilya Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union and is now an American citizen. He is the author of Dancing in Odessa and an eagerly anticipated new collection forthcoming with Faber & Faber called Deaf Republic. ‘How is it that one poet can make the silence visible? How is that one poet can illustrate…

16. Versopolis Poetry

With Augusta Laar, Josep Pedrals, Maja Lee Langvad, Indre Valantinaite and Doireann Ní Ghríofa. A fascinating exploration of Europe, as seen by poets from Ireland, Austria, Spain, Denmark and Lithuania. Each of these poets is highly respected in their own country, garlanded with awards and prizes, and the aim of Versopolis is to bring them…

18. Community Showcase

Join some of the participants in the Festival’s vibrant Community Programme who take part in Festival poetry workshops across the county. The workshops are held in both closed and open settings, are inclusive and supportive, and are all free to attend. Here is an opportunity to showcase the beautiful poetry that has been written within…

24. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Place: A day conference – Session 1

Between 1809 and 1832 the woman who would become one of the nineteenth century’s most famous poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, grew up and established her career near Ledbury. In this day conference, part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival, a number of experts on Barrett Browning examine the wider idea of place in the poet’s life…

24. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Place: A day conference – Session 2

Between 1809 and 1832 the woman who would become one of the nineteenth century’s most famous poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, grew up and established her career near Ledbury. In this day conference, part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival, a number of experts on Barrett Browning examine the wider idea of place in the poet’s life…

24. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Place: A day conference – Session 3

Between 1809 and 1832 the woman who would become one of the nineteenth century’s most famous poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, grew up and established her career near Ledbury. In this day conference, part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival, a number of experts on Barrett Browning examine the wider idea of place in the poet’s life…

24. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Place: A day conference – Session 4

Between 1809 and 1832 the woman who would become one of the nineteenth century’s most famous poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, grew up and established her career near Ledbury. In this day conference, part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival, a number of experts on Barrett Browning examine the wider idea of place in the poet’s life…

27. Poetry of the Holocaust

Jean Boase-Beier, and co-editor, Marian de Vooght, present this powerful, unique collection of poems written not only by members of Jewish communities (representing the largest group persecuted by the Nazis), but also poems by people who were targeted on other grounds. Some belonged to political or religious groups who openly opposed the Third Reich, or…

29. Immersion Day – The Life and Poetry of Bertolt Brecht

Session 1 Tom Kuhn and David Constantine in discussion on how they got to translate Brecht’s poems, why Brecht the poet matters to us in our times now and what the pleasures and difficulties of translating him are. This session included some brief surveys of Brecht’s life and times and of his being translated into…

30. Get Ready for Unleashed Young Voices

An incredible opportunity to hear and witness a selection of young people’s poetry written in supported workshops with practitioner Toni Cook as part of the Festival’s Community Programme. Feedback from last year: “This is important poetry from people who might not ordinarily be showcased”. Expect raw, direct and beautifully crafted language conveying life as it…

31. National Poetry Competition Reading

The most recent National Poetry Competition saw 10 prize winners chosen, from over 14,000 poems, by the judges. This is your chance to hear readings from three of those fantastic winning and commended poets at Ledbury Poetry Festival: Commended poet Ella Frears, whose pamphlet Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity was published in 2018 by Goldsmiths Press; second…

32. Brecht the poet now performance

Narrated by Tom Kuhn and David Constantine and illustrated with his poems and songs. Directed and performed by Sue Parrish. Music performed by singer Sarah Gabriel and pianist Joseph Atkins. Celebrating Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) as a poet whose work, rooted in his own day and age, still (like all great poetry) speaks to us in…

35. Under A Cold Sky: The poetry of Wilfrid Gibson, Ivor Gurney and Jean Atkin

Gibson’s tram passengers will be coming to town: the sallow faced clerks, genteel in black…and his tale of Anthony Earnshaw asleep in drifting snow. While Gurney shivers in Flanders and sees Cotswold spinnies and mist on meadows. Along the way, if we are lucky, Jean Atkin may introduce us to her Crofter’s recipe – Bessiewalla…

37. Talk on The Alvarez Generation with William Wootten

William Wootten is a literary journalist, writing for the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian. He is Lecturer in English Literature (Poetry & Creative Writing) at the University of Bristol William Wootten’s acclaimed book The Alvarez Generation focuses on poets who would, in the words of the introduction to A….

38. Desert Island Poems with Alexei Sayle

Comedian, actor, presenter and writer, Alexei Sayle shares his favourite poems with Jonathan Davidson. Alexei Sayle’s television work as a writer and performer includes The Young Ones, Alexei Sayle’s Stuff, and The All New Alexei Sayle Show. His books include Thatcher Stole My Trousers and Mister Roberts.

39. The Making of: Hush Now

Earlier this year, Feral Productions and The Courtyard presented Hush Now, an arts and heritage collaboration inspired by the Magdalene Homes and maternity institutions of Herefordshire’s past. Written in a series of nine poems by Sara-Jane Arbury and transformed into songs by composer, Olivia Preye, the production gave voice and visibility to the resilience of…

40. Eric Gregory Award Winners

The Eric Gregory Award is a literary award given by the Society of Authors to British poets under 30 on submission. The awards are up to a sum value of £24,000 annually. The award is the result of a bequest made in 1959 by Eric Craven Gregory (also known as Peter Gregory), chairman of publishers Lund Humphries, from his estate to the Incorporated Society of…

42. UA Fanthorpe event with RV Bailey and Alison Brackenbury

Alison Brackenbury and R V Bailey introduce Beginner’s Luck, a collection of previously unpublished poems by the late great U A Fanthorpe, who died ten years ago, and whose ninetieth birthday would have been this July. Witty, erudite, humane, Fanthorpe’s poetry – as the celebrated Gillian Clarke put it – ‘changed the way we see,…

43. Festival Showcase: John Masefield High School Students, Foyle Young Poets

This event showcases poets at all stages of their development: John Masefield High School Students have worked with the school’s poet in residence Kurly to create their poems. The Foyle Young Poets Award for poets aged 11 – 17 is one of the largest and most prestigious literary prizes and past winners include Mukahang Limbu,…

45. Brian Bilston and Nikita Gill

Brian Bilston has been described as the Banksy of poetry and Twitter’s unofficial Poet Laureate. Diary of a Somebody shows that ‘The English comic novel is alive and well… And it comes, of course, with the added bonus of Bilston’s poetry, sparkling here with its habitual wit, intelligence and humanity.’ – Jonathan Coe. Nikita Gill…

47. World Poets Series: Laura Wittner, with Pedro Serrano

Mexican poet Pedro Serrano has published five collections of poetry. He has been published in the UK as part of Arc’s celebrated Visible Poets series, in a collection called Peatlands. Wide ranging and passionate poems that are linguistically thrilling; they explore the world of snakes, swallows, valleys and skyscrapers, weariness and love. Laura Wittner was…

48. Ledbury Poetry Competition Winners

Hosted by 2018 Competition judge Nia Davies, who was joined by all three adult winners R.T.A. Parker, Pam Thompson and Robbie Burton, plus winners from the young people and children’s categories. One of the young people appearing is Georgie Woodhead, who won 2nd place in the young person’s category and who also happens to be…

49. Ali Smith’s Poem selection

Hear one of Britain’s great writers, Ali Smith share her best-loved poems with Suzi Feay. Ali Smith is the author of many novels, including most recently Autumn, Winter and Spring in the acclaimed ‘Seasonal’ quartet. How to be both won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel of the…

50. Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers is a novelist, poet and playwright, winner of the 2018 Wilfred Owen Poetry Award. His BAFTA nominated film-poem, The Green Hollow has recently been published by Faber, who also published his BBC film-poem to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS, To Provide All People and Unicorns, Almost about the life and poetry of WWII poet…

51. Margaret Atwood Poetry Reading

Introduced by Ursula Owen Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939. Canada’s most eminent novelist and poet, she is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye and Alias Grace have all been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and she has won many literary prizes in other countries. Her…

Pop-up event featuring Kickstarter Poets

This was an extra event to showcase the overseas poets who the Poetry Festival were able to bring to The UK for this year’s festival thanks to funding raised by a Kickstarter campaign earlier in the year. In addition there was an open mic slot where a number of other poets were able to showcase…

56. Thomas Dilworth on David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet

The story of the eccentric and exceptionally talented David Jones, who couldn’t wait to go off to the trenches, makes for a fascinating biography and is the subject of this talk by Thomas Dilworth. ‘Those interested in Jones’s art…or in his singular poetry, will not be disappointed with the careful, delicate way Dilworth connects them…

57. World Poetry Series: Shivanee Ramlochan and Enrique Winter

Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian poet, critic, and book blogger. Her first book of poems, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press, 2017) was was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Prize-winning Chilean author  Enrique Winter’s four collections of poetry include Rascacielos (Skyscrapers) and Lengua de señas (Sign Tongue). He is also a translator of Emily…

59. Ishion Hutchinson and Jay Bernard: Poetry Reading and conversation

Hosted by Sandeep Parmar ‘Exquisite’ (New Yorker), ‘breathtaking’ (Los Angeles Times), ‘baroque and moon-lit’ (Boston Globe) – House of Lords and Commons enthralled readers in the Americas, winning the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and being widely applauded in ‘books of the year’. Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He makes a rare…

60. Margaret Atwood’s Favourite Poems

Margaret Atwood shares her favourite poems with Ursula Owen, Founding Director of Virago Press. Atwood, who has published with Virago since 1979, is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her recent novels are The Heart Goes Last and the MaddAddam trilogy – the Giller and Booker Prize-shortlisted Oryx…

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