Monday 30 April 2012

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2012

"Winning the Foyle Young Poets of the Year changed the way I saw myself and my future. In short, it made me realise I could devote my life to the thing I loved, if I had enough determination". Former Foyle Winner and 2012 Judge, Helen Mort.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is an opportunity for any young poet aged 11-17 to accelerate their writing career. Since it began 15 years ago the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices, including this year’s judge Helen Mort. With over 7,000 young poets entering each year from across the UK and beyond, to reach the top 100 is to be marked out as a rising literary star. The fifteen overall winners will be published in an anthology and be invited to a week-long residential Arvon course or receive a poet visit to their school followed by distance mentoring (age dependent).  All 100 poets (15 overall winners and 85 commended) benefit from ongoing support and encouragement, via publication, performance and internship opportunities. Any young person writing in English (from the UK or far beyond) can enter the competition.

For full details and to enter online go to

Deadline: 31st July 2012. Judges: Helen Mort and Christopher Reid.

The Poetry Society Celebrate Edward Lear's 200th birthday

Happy Birthday Edward Lear: an illustrated tribute


The Exhibition

The Poetry Society are kicking off a mini-season of celebrations to mark Edward Lear’s 200th birthday (on May 12th) with an exhibition at the Poetry Society’s own Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX.

'Happy Birthday Edward Lear' features contributions from 40 big-name artists, illustrators and animators, including Glen Baxter, Vaughan Oliver, Jonny Hannah, Phil Shaw and Louise Weir. The exhibition is organised by artists Linda Hughes and Andrew Baker, and will run from Monday 7th May until Saturday 9th June. Some of the works are for sale.

Edward Lear for sharing
On Thursday, May 24th the Poetry Café will host a salon for Poetry Society members. They’re inviting you (and others, to be announced) to bring along and read a poem by Edward Lear, or inspired by Lear. (They’re hunting out hidden gems of the limerick art to share.) The bar will be open, and the exhibition will still be on display. Further details to be announced. Contact the Poetry Society for further information.

For teachers (and young poets)

The Poetry Society has also commissioned new lesson plans for teachers to celebrate the grandfather of nonsense verse.

Look out for details of other Lear-related events and projects in the coming months.

Recommended Reads for April 2012

Check out the reviews section of our website for the latest recommended reads - from children's fiction to poetry and classic reads we're sure there is something for everyone. We also welcome your reviews too - email them to 'Reviews' at and we'll let you know when we use it!
Below are the titles we recommended during April 2012:
'Mice' by Gordon Reece (Pan MacMillan)
'Cauldron Spells' by CJ Busby (Templar Publishing)
'That's Life' by Professor Robert Winston (Dorling Kindersley)
'VIII' by Harriet Castor (Templar Publishing)
'Doodlepedia' (Dorling Kindersely)
'Secrets of the Henna Girl' by Sufiya Ahmed (Puffin)
'The Name of the Star' by Maureen Johnson (Harper Collins)
'Daylight Saving' by Edward Hogan (Walker Books)
'Glow' by Amy Kathleen Ryan (MacMillan Children's Books)
'Fins are Forever' by Tera Lynn-Childs (Templar Publishing)
'The Hunger Games' / 'Catching Fire' / 'Mockingjay' by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Books)

‘The Squirrel, the Hare and the Little Grey Rabbit’ by Alison Uttley (Templar Publishing)

May's recommended reads will start to appear on the website from next week. A selection of reviews will be published here too, as well as on our Facebook page and links from our Twitter account.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Poetry as Healer by Melinda Tennison

Although the use of poetry for healing purposes can be traced back to primitive times and historically the first poetry therapist on record was Roman physician Soranus in the first century AD, poetry as a healing art largely remained obscured until medicine came to recognize and embrace its benefits in the 1960s and 70s. 

In late 1980, while I was a nine-year-old critically ill patient at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to experience the healing power of expressive poetry firsthand. As I spent the entire summer hospitalized while facing two potentially life-saving neurosurgeries, I became overwhelmed by unexpressed emotions - including fear, anxiety and depression all too common among hospitalized kids. After I become increasingly sullen and retreated from usual expressive creativity and play, the staff poetry therapist with whom I had been working knew how to engage me in precisely a way that would allow me to give expression to my feelings, process the experience, and find some much needed emotional relief. In weeks prior, I had spent a great deal of time recovering my health and maintaining my innate curiosity by taking observational walks around the hospital. Much to my delight, on one of those early walks I had discovered iconic American artist Robert Rauschenberg installing an elaborate commissioned mural in a vaulted corridor adjacent to the hospital atrium. For the next five weeks, I returned to note his progress and watch the master artist at work, captivated by the juxtaposition of his humble demeanor and grand perspective. Evenings, I would draw and write pieces in my room to liven up the plain wall opposite my bed.

When I became sad and uncharacteristically reluctant to get out of bed to explore, my poetry therapist suggested we visit the recently completed mural together. This was in all likelihood the only suggestion that could have peaked my curiosity and, needless to say, it positively worked. A few minutes later, standing before the finished artwork, I felt so inspired by the artist’s blend of color, light, texture and shape that I penned my first poem (“Rauschenberg Mural”). The poem came to be published by the hospital and engraved on the artist plaque that accompanied the mural for more than a quarter century. 

In my own experience, writing poetry in response to hospital art allowed me to make sense of difficult feelings, bring a sense of order to my situation and help me discover new hope. I found poetry therapy so transformative that decades later I am now in the process of writing an ekphrastic poetry collection for hospitalized children. Recent studies on poetry therapy confirm that the approach can help reduce stress and assist in recovery from depression and trauma and today an increasing number of hospitals, retreat centers, and nursing homes are employing poetry therapists to improve patient outlooks. Toward this, I recently enrolled in a leading arts-in-medicine training program through the Institute for Poetic Medicine to become a trauma-sensitive certified poetry therapist so I may help facilitate others healing through poetry.

A huge thank you to Melinda for writing this fascinating insight into poetry as a healer.

You can follow Melinda on Twitter at @MelindaTennison and subscribe to Facebook updates at MelindaTennison.

Melinda Tennison is a poet and guest column on mindful arts and healing for Young Expressions, the newsletter from New Horizons Cultural Arts Program (the program that sponsored both the mural by Robert Rauschenberg and the early poetry therapist who aided her own recovery) written expressly for current patients at Children’s Hospital In Washington, D.C.

Tom Palmer, Author - Free Literacy Tips and Ideas

I am launching a new Puffin children's series out 3 May, 'The Squad'. Book 1, 'Black Op' is set at Euro 2012, with a new teenage spy squad whose mission is save the England Team in Krakow.

Recent research has shown that children's reading achievement falls in those years with big sporting events.  I hope these ideas will help your pupils become Reading Champions despite the excitement of Euro 2012 and the Olympics.

On my website there are lots of new free resources for this summer including:
.      letter for schools to send home with Top Ten Tips for Parents on using sport to encourage children to read in Euro 2012
.       Squad : Black Op reading comprehension, suitable for home or class work
.       Spy pack - everything you need to set up a children's Spy Writing Group
.       Euro 2012 activity pack - suitable even for teachers and librarians who dread football!

On you can find details of my free events at festivals and bookshops - hopefully there's one near you.

On the National Literacy Trust site, I'll be writing a new daily classroom read and blog during Euro 2012.

Thanks for reading. I hope this will help you all link the excitement around Euro 2012 to your literacy work.

Tom Palmer -

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Guest Blog from Roger Stevens - "The Secret Life of a Poet"

Roger Stevens - "The Secret Life of a Poet"

Man Hits Train

It was a special day in the poet’s calendar, National Poetry Day. I was on my way to visit a school near Regent’s Park, in London. The train from Brighton to London was late and I was worried that I wouldn’t get to the school on time. Then I had a most peculiar and action-packed tube journey.
I boarded the tube at Victoria underground station. It was only a few stops to Regent’s Park and so I thought I would just about make it on time. But the tube train sat in the station for ages. Eventually, the driver announced that the delay was due to a man hitting a train further down the line.
I thought this was very odd. Usually, I thought, a train would (usually tragically) hit a person, not the other way round. I imagined a train going past and a man leaning over and slapping it. “Take that,” he’d say. “You naughty, naughty train!”
Eventually we started up and I glanced at my watch. I might still get to the school on time.
But we hadn’t gone much further when the train stopped – in a tunnel. The driver announced that as it was National Poetry Day, every passenger had to share a poem with everyone else in their carriage. I recited a haiku because, as you know, they are very short. A couple of passengers didn’t know any poems (hard to believe I know) and I thought we would soon be moving again. But then a tall guy with long dreadlocks stood up and began reciting a rap poem. He was very good. We all kept the beat by stamping on the floor and clapping. But the poem went on for ages and ages and I knew now that I would surely be late.
We finally got moving again and we were nearly there – when the train stopped once more.
“I’m really very sorry for the delay,” the driver said, “but there has been an incident. A zebra has escaped from its enclosure at London Zoo and run into the tube station. It scrambled down the escalator and is running around in the tunnel somewhere, but we don’t know exactly where.”
Well, that was it. Now I knew I would be late for sure. We waited for about five minutes until the driver announced, “I’m sorry, we’ll be here just a little longer, but we hope to have the situation under control soon. We’ve sent a lion into the underground tunnel to catch the zebra.”
I finally reached the school about half an hour late. Before I gave my poetry performance I apologised and told everyone why I was late. They all clapped. They thought I’d made it up! Especially the bit about a man hitting a train.

For further information on booking Roger please contact us at

You can follow Roger on Twitter at @PoetryZone
And visit his award-winning website the Poetry Zone

A huge thank you to Roger Stevens for his guest blog!

Pete (The Temp) Verses Climate Change - A theatrical stand up poetry show

Renaissance One presents
Pete (The Temp) Verses Climate Change
A theatrical stand up poetry show

Acclaimed poet Pete (Channel 4’s Random Acts) tells the story of the sticky situations he gets into in his quest to defeat the menace of climate change. A personal tale of temp jobs, bank sieges, oil orgies and arrest.  Will he succeed?

Thursday, 3rd May, 8pm
@ The Cockpit Theatre, LAUNCH
(introduced by Climate Justice Collective)          
Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH
Tickets: £8/£6
Part of 'Poets in the Pit' spoken word festival (1st- 5th May)

Monday, 14th May 8pm and Wednesday 16th May 8pm
@ The Albany Theatre, London                                                                                                    
Douglas Way, Deptford, London SE8 4AG
Tickets: £7/£5

Thursday 3rd May 8pm @ the Cockpit Theatre
Monday 14th May & Wednesday 16th May 8pm @ Albany Theatre

Written and performed by Pete The Temp
Current BBC Radio 4 South of England Slam Winner
His performances have been on Channel 4’s Random Acts, ITN, the Guardian Books Podcast, BBC Radio 4 and World Service.

For further show info visit

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Dominic Berry's Wizard Tour and Workshops

Wednesday 2nd May, 2pm-5pm Tickets: £5, including free entry to the performance of 'Wizard' at The Cockpit later that night (7.30pm). To book, call 020 7258 2925 (from noon, Mon-Sat) Limited spaces available - book now!
Here is a link with more details of what this workshop will cover:
 Wizard Tour
1st May at 19:30 until 10th May at 20:00

  • The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London, NW8 8EH
    Tue 1st - Wed 2nd May. 7.30pm. Tickets: £10/6
    Booking: / 020 7258 2925

    ACE Centre, Cross Street, Nelson, BB9 7NN
    Thur 3rd May. 6.30pm. Tickets: £8/4
    Booking: / 01282 661 080

    Oxford University, Corpus Christ College, Merton Street, OX1 4JF
    Thur 10th May. 8pm. Tickets: £7/5
    Booking: tickets available from the venue on the night
    When an agoraphobic Wizard shares his world of tea loving carpet goblins and a zombie slaying dish rack with a neighbour from the flat above, three days of magic change both their lives forever.

    A funny, delicate and imaginative show by Dominic Berry, champion of New York's Nuyorican Poetry Cafe slam and Manchester Literature Festival's Superheroes of Slam.

    "Really very inspiring. I love the seriousness and the humour.”
    Benjamin Zephaniah, Poet

    “From the moment he started to speak we were totally captivated- the incredible way he uses words, the expression and energy of the delivery and the subject matter made him irresistible.”
    City Life Magazine

    “He is one of Manchester’s finest poets of the stage. Fearless in his engagement with a wide variety of issues, his public works exhibit the same exuberance of spirit that mark him out as a person.”
    Pete Kalu, Artistic Director, Commonword

    “Dominic is an exceptional force in the poetry and spoken word scene in the North West, who is also starting to have an impact in theatre. I am always impressed by his desire and determination to push beyond his comfort zone and write work that will challenge himself and his audience.”
    John McGrath, Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales

    Written by Dominic Berry with additional material by Dave Viney.
    Performed by Dominic Berry and Ben Jewell.
    Directed by Martin 'Visceral' Stannage. Produced by Chris Jones.
    Arts by Ian Wallis and Paul Neads.
    Wizard has been produced with a Grants for the Arts / National Lottery award and support from Contact

Guest Blog from Jane Sharp, Crete

I’m Jane, I am a writer, poet and musician, priority going to whichever muse I get out of bed with. I am very luck to live in on the island of Crete, with its wonderful history, and its fantastic climate. Cretan people have a love of music (mainly lyra), and dance (most people know Zorba) and the food is extremely good for both vegetarians and meat eaters. There is the sea; there are mountains, wild flowers and birds, griffon vultures, the elusive whoop hoe, and lots of migrating finches that stop off on the way to or from Africa, and the air is unpolluted, fresh and fragranced with wild herbs such as oregano, rosemary, thyme and mint.

But the one thing I really miss is the company of fellow poets, the exchange of ideas, a fresh way of expression, learning from those more experienced. So I turned to Facebook to make contact with the world beyond Crete. That is how I came across Book a Poet. And it just so happens that almost simultaneously another opportunity presented itself. I heard that the famous poet Ruth Padel was to give a poetry workshop in Hania, Crete. It is a three-hour bus ride away from where I live, and it would mean staying in Hania for 5 nights, a bit of an obstacle for someone on as tight a budget as me. But I did a few calculations, and decided that this workshop meant more to me than eating lamb for Easter. 

There were only a few places so I had no time to lose. I picked up the phone and made enquiries. The voice on the other end asked if I was serious about my writing. Yes, I told him, very serious. I was accepted. 

Ruth Padel has published eight poetry collections, a novel and eight non-fiction works including books on reading poetry. She is a well-know radio broadcaster and currently presents Poetry workshop, a landmark BBC 4 series of programmes on writing poems. I hoped I was not going to be out of my depth, her list of achievements made my one novel and one poetry collection, look a bit thin. But I knew that I would learn from this much-esteemed teacher. 

We were a group of seven, eight including Ruth, that was a good start form me because 8 is my lucky number. When we all met up we were like old friends getting together for the umpteenth time, everyone got on so well. We were all at different levels with our work, but we listened to each other and criticized each other’s work, constructively of course. Ruth guided us as to how to approach specific material and themes. She shared some of her own poetry with us, reading from her latest work, ‘The Mara Crossing’, which I have to say is brilliant. And after four days of intense reading and writing, crossing out and re-writing, taking the re-written work to bed with me and re-writing it again, I had three polished poems. Finally we were all ready for a group reading in front of nearest and dearest, and a few others. 

It goes without saying that there has been no Sunday lunch in our house for the last two weeks, and the bread has gone unbuttered, but hey, not only did I get to meet some fellow writers here in Crete, I lost a few ounces of fat too. Best of all was the boost it has given me, just to know that my work is not rubbish, and that I can now proceed to seek a wider audience. 

If you do get the chance, go for a place on one of Ruth Padel’s workshops, or any of the well-known poets doing similar things, you are sure to benefit from the experience.

All the best with your writing,

Jane x 

Monday 23 April 2012

'Mice' by Gordon Reece - Book Review


By Gordon Reece
Published by Pan Macmillan Feb 2012
RRP £6.99 (softback)
ISBN 97803305256626 
Reviewed by Lynsey Evans

A gripping, unique suspense thriller with a chilling twist...

Shelley is 16, preparing for her GCSEs … at home. After enduring horrifying bullying, which sees Shelley the victim of verbal, mental and physical abuse. After being set on fire by 3 bullies, with no witnesses to the horrific attack, Shelley finally leaves school to be home tutored. Describing herself (and her mum) as ‘mice’ – weak, quiet, victims to everyone, never standing up for themselves until one night, when a life-changing occurrence, sees Shelley and her mum evolve from mice to something much, much more.

Despite the dark story, this tale is gripping, you want the mice to win, to have justice, to be compensated for the terrible things they have had to endure. Watching them evolve as you read is fantastic, you have a sense of relief – they’ll be OK, they’re going to make it and be able to cope with what life throws at them.

This is a gripping thriller that will have teens onthe edge of their seats, with an ending that will get everyone talking! Definitely worth a read!

Recommended for age 12+

If you, or someone you know, is a victim of bullying please visit for help, information and advice.

The Penguin English Library - New Book Collection

Penguin Books are pleased to announce the return of the Penguin English Library, a new, beautifully designed collection that celebrates 100 novels written in English.

Simon Winder, Publishing Director, said: "For some twenty years, beginning in 1963, millions of readers first encountered the most enjoyable works in the English language through the orange-spined Penguin English Library.  For many the series was a magic door, the start of a lifetime's engagement with the most vivid writing imaginable.  Now the spirit of the original Penguin English Library has inspired a fresh, contemporary new series."

Starting with Robinson Crusoe, the first novel in English and spanning two centuries until Dubliners published just before the First World War, this list (which includes titles in the original Penguin English Library) are some of the most scintillating, stimulating, bestselling and enlightening books in our culture.

Every novel has a stunning new look - award-winning designer Coralie Bickford-Smith has played on the history of Penguin's design with elegant, modern covers and a colour update on the iconic orange spines that draws the series together.  Each book will also contain an engaging essay at the end by writers such as Virginia Woolf to Zadie Smith. This new collection provides the ultimate readers' editions and invites you to celebrate the pleasures of reading.

The first twenty titles are published on 26th April 2012, £5.99 (paperback) each:

'Persuasion' by Jane Austen

'Lady Audley's Secret' by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë

'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins

'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens

'Oliver Twist' by Charles Dickens

'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens

'The Mill on the Floss' by George Eliot

'North and South' by Elizabeth Gaskell

'Far from the Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy

'The Private Memiors and Confessions of a Justified Sinner' by James Hogg

'Moby Dick' by Herman Melville

'The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Tales' by Edgar Allan Poe

'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley

'Dracula' by Bram Stoker

'Gulliver's Travels' by Jonathan Swift

'The Warden' by Anthony Trollope

'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' by Mark Twain

'The War of the Worlds' by H.G. Wells

'The House of Mirth' by Edith Wharton

Follow Penguin on Facebook at
or on Twitter -

Happy World Book Night!

Happy World Book Night!

Today across the UK, Ireland, Germany and the US almost 80,000 people will give over 2 million books to spread their passion for books and reading in their communities and encourage new people to fall in love with reading.

In the UK and Ireland, 20,000 givers including the Duchess of Cornwell and Stephen Fry will be giving specially printed copies of the 25 books. There are givers all across the country from the Shetlands to the Channel Islands and almost every populated corner in between. In addition more than 70,000 books will be going in to over 110 prisons for prisoners as well as their families (to enable shadow reading) and staff.

This year the books include an extract from another book recommended by the author to encourage recipients on to their next, as well as a Shakespeare sonnet chosen by poet Don Paterson to celebrate our greatest writer's birth and death day.

How you can celebrate
  • Tell everyone you know about what books and reading mean to you (as well as about World Book Night). If you're using social media, follow us on twitter @worldbooknight and use #worldbooknight to follow today's activities. On facebook you can like us and join in the conversation - we're asking everyone to share their favourite book as their status update to spread the word.
  • Give / share your favourite book with someone today
  • Visit your local library and bookshop. Join your library, ask your librarian or bookseller for a recommendation, buy or borrow an amazing new book you'd never otherwise have discovered.
  • Celebrate this evening at one of the hundreds of events taking place around the country from author readings to quizes and parties as well as candle-lit readings or you can watch our flagship London event live streamed on your computer. SImply login or register for an account and follow the link from the homepage this evening. Event starts at 7.15pm.
Many people are already asking about how they can sign up to be a giver and get involved with World Book Night 2013 as well as what the titles will be and which new countries will be celebrating. We won't be announcing anything for 2013 till later in the year but you will be one of the first to know, and if your friends and family want to stay up to date please tell them to join our mailing list

We hope you have a very happy World Book Night!

World Book Night 2012 Titles
Pride & Prejudice

Jane Austen
The Player of Games
Iain M Banks
Mark Billingham
Notes from a Small Island
Bill Bryson
The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho
The Take
Martina Cole
Bernard Cornwell
Someone Like You
Roald Dahl
A Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens
Emma Donoghue
Daphne Du Maurier
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro
Stephen King
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic
Sophie Kinsella
Small Island
Andrea Levy
Let the Right One In
John Ajvide Lindqvist
The Road
Cormac McCarthy
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
Maggie O’Farrell
The Damned Utd
David Peace
Good Omens
Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
How I Live Now
Meg Rosoff
Touching the Void
Joe Simpson
I Capture the Castle
Dodie Smith
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Copyright © 2012 World Book Night Ltd, All rights reserved.

World Book Night Ltd mailing address is:
World Book Night Ltd
4 Uxbridge Street
London, England W8 7SY
United Kingdom

Saturday 21 April 2012

Shakespeare Festival 2012

There is some great stuff showcasing at the World Shakespeare Festival starting on 23rd April 2012.

We're looking forward to the My Shakespeare digital project, involving the brilliant Tim Minchin and Kate Tempest. My Shakespeare can involve us all through digital media during the course of the festival as every one of us is invited to take part - to share our thoughts and ideas about what Shakespeare means to us today.

Find out more about the festival here:

Find out more about My Shakespeare here:

The Argument: Art V Poetry

Katrina Naomi and Tim Ridley are collaborating to spar with each other to produce poetry and art. Tim will post a piece of visual art within the next two weeks, which Katrina will respond to with a poem, again within two weeks. They will continue this process until ten pieces of work are produced: five art works, five poems.
Tim is a visual artist whose concerns are division and opposition in contemporary society. He graduated from Chelsea in 2011, where he won the Ovalhouse prize.

Katrina's first full poetry collection
The Girl with the Cactus Handshake was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award. She is a PhD student in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, with a focus on violence in poetry.  
Tim and Katrina are long-term partners. This is their first artistic collaboration.

Follow their blog at

Friday 20 April 2012

The Picador Book Room now on Tumblr

THE PICADOR BOOK ROOM is a group publishing blog maintained by the employees of Picador Books.

Check out their thoughts on all things literature at

Stylist magazine launches crime competition with Faber and Faber

Stylist magazine launches crime competition with Faber and Faber
Stylist magazine has joined forces with publisher Faber and Faber to find a writer who they believe is going to be the next big thing in crime fiction. The plotline could be anything, from grizzly serial killer to eerie suburban murder. The only requirements are that it must fall within the crime/thriller genre and that it has to feature a female protagonist (it isn’t just men who can solve crime, after all).

So whether you’ve been itching to write a book for years and just need that final push, are a huge fan of thrillers and think you could write one too, or just fancy the ultimate challenge for 2012, go to to find out more. Deadline for submissions: 12th July 2012.

Back 2 the Wall Publishing: new publisher seeks submissions

Back 2 the Wall Publishing: new publisher seeks submissions
A new independent publisher based in the north east of England is looking for submissions. The publisher, John Tyson-Capper, is looking for writing which engages and moves the reader. The publisher is also running a competition for new writers. See for more details.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Dinefwr Literature Festival

Friday 29th June - Sunday 1st July
Dinefwr Park and Castle, Carmarthenshire

More names have been added to the bill of the inaugural Dinefwr Literature Festival. This unique three-day bilingual festival will combine award-winning writers, poets laureate, fringe acts and musicians in a celebration of the written word and the mythical landscape. The festival promises an eclectic mix of high quality literature, music, comedy and visual arts from established names to up-and-coming new talent.

With its dedicated camping field, outdoor entertainment, stalls and excellent local food, the festival is set to be a top cultural destination this year, putting fun, family and a love of good literature at its very heart.

Caught by the River, a Port Eliot Festival favourite, will be delivering a mix of talks and music throughout the weekend. Guests include: The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess, Pat Long talking about the recently published History of the NME together with Matt Sewell, Richard King, Neil Ansell, Robert Penn and Jeb Loy Nichols.
Brautigan Book Club, which started out as a monthly night at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club in celebration of the American writer Richard Brautigan, presents a programme of performance, music and literary talks. A festival highlight is a sneak preview of Tonseisha, a production premiering next year inspired by Brautigan himself. Written by the award-winning LA screenwriter Erik Patterson, this is a live and recorded soundscape influenced byJapanese and American culture. Also on the bill is a performance by Super Furry Animals’ front man Gruff Rhys together with H. Hawkline and Martin Carr.
Alongside the main literary events will be workshops, walks and unusual performances including Naughty Boys Storytime with Jasper Fforde, Joe Dunthorne and Ed Holden who will be telling family bedtime stories of mystery, mischief and adventure.

There will be a chance to experience the breathtaking landscape of Dinefwr Park, take a guided walk to the castle with the Wildlife Trust, or embark on an exploration of local birds with travel writer Horatio Clare. The festival will also present a range of works by visual artists including: Jackie Morris, Anna Barratt, David Rees Davies, Penny Hallas, Katherine Bujalska and Lewis Wright, as well as a unique chance to see, up close, Philip Pullman’s original chapter-heading vignette prints from His Dark Materials.


Throughout the weekend Dinefwr will be packed with events by award-winning English and Welsh-speaking authors, poets, travel writers, graphic novelists, playwrights and sci-fi and fantasy writers. Names include:

Howard Marks, Sir Andrew Motion, Iain Sinclair, Luke Wright, Gillian Clarke, Joe Dunthorne, Jasper Fforde, Wendy Cope, Dewi Prysor, David Crystal, Horatio Clare, Claire Keegan, Jasper Rees, Huw Aaron (pictured), Lucy Caldwell (pictured), John Davies, Mike Parker, Paul Henry, Mererid Hopwood, Rhys Iorwerth, Tom Anderson, Ceri Wyn Jones, Robert Minhinnick, Peter Finch, Jasper Rees, Alistair Reynolds and Nat Segnit.

In addition, literature collectives theAbsurd, POETica, Jam Bones, Dal dy Dafod and In Chapters will be bringing their own blend of music, spoken word and live literature to the festival programme.


The weekend’s music is curated by SŴN’s John Rostron and BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens who together put on gigs year-round, predominantly in Wales. Along with Gruff Rhys, guests include Julian Cope, Emmy the Great, Georgia Ruth, Richard James, Gareth Bonello and The Staves (pictured).


 Festival comedy comes courtesy of The Junket Club, and features sets from performance poet and musician John Hegley, the award-winning Simon Munnery with his 2012 show Hats off to the 101ers and celebrated comedians Tom Wrigglesworth (pictured), Josie Long (pictured) and Celia Pacquola.

 Events for children

Children of all ages will be entertained by a selection of vibrant authors. The line-up features: the award-winning Philip Ardagh and Jeremy Strong; Welsh television presenter, poet and rapper Aneirin Karadog, Where’s My Teddy author Jez Alborough, plus the author and science writer Mark Brake and rap artist John Chase who will explore the science and fiction of time travel and alien biology in the Science Fiction of Dr Who. Over the weekend there’ll be creative fun and games with the Hunga Munga collective whose slogan is ‘Make Stuff, Make Friends, Make a Mess’. Further writers include: Catherine Fisher, Catrin Dafydd, Eurig Salisbury, Huw Aaron, Jackie Morris, Jenny Sullivan, Phil Carradice, David Orme and Helen Orme. Kids will also recognise their favourite presenters from the popular children’s television show on S4C, Stwnsh.

Theatre / Cinema

Extracts from Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s The Box will be shown in the festival cinema room, with a diverse programme of performance, animation, narrative and humour from artists working in Wales, across the UK and internationally. Elsewhere, Small World Theatre will present their giant puppetry performance The Fisherman and the Mermaid (pictured).
Dinefwr Literature Festival is a collaboration between Literature Wales, the National Trust and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (as lead partner in the Coracle programme).


Both weekend and day tickets are available for the festival. Adult Weekend passes are £65, with a discount for National Trust and Literature Wales members. Adult Day Tickets start at £25; children under 5 go free, and weekend and day tickets for children aged 6-16 are £10 and £5 respectively. Camping tickets are an additional £20 per tent for a maximum of four people sharing. Booking fees apply to all tickets.
To book your Dinefwr Literature Festival tickets, please visit:

Don't forget to follow the Dinefwr Literature Festival on Twitter and like our page on Facebook!
For further information and announcements,
keep an eye on the Dinefwr Literature Festival website:

News from The Poetry Society about their Annual Lecture

Paul Muldoon: The Poetry Society Annual Lecture
The Word on the Street: Parnassus and Tin Pan Alley 
London & Ledbury
As announced in the current issue of Poetry News, Paul Muldoon will deliver this year's Poetry Society Annual Lecture - London and Ledbury.  
How do we know when and why a poem is going to be a poem and a song a song? Muldoon asks in his lecture, 'The Word on the Street: Parnassus and Tin Pan Alley'. During the event Muldoon will introduce some new poems and song lyrics, and discuss the impact of one genre on the other in his and other writers' work.
TICKETS for both events are £8 but there is a special discounted price for Poetry Society members at £7
SATURDAY 30 JUNE, 4.30pm, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX
For the London event, please use the online code POSOC (in capitals) to claim your discounted tickets (note: there is a booking fee of £1.75 unless you are also a Southbank member)
(please note that the starting time for this event was previously announced incorrectly as 5pm)
Tel: 0844 847 9910 (the phone number was previously given incorrectly as 020 7921 0823)
SUNDAY 1 JULY, 4.30pm, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Herefordshire
Booking opens 21 May
0845 458 1743



This Saturday - 21 April - 4.30pm: Vicki Feaver, Ann Gray, Kim Moore, Panel Discussion: Prize-Winning Poets. Dorothy Wordsworth Festival of Women's Poetry, in association with the Poetry Society, Wordsworth Trust, Cumbria. Chaired by Poetry Society Director, Judith Palmer. Vicki Feaver has won both second and third prizes in the National Poetry Competition, Ann Gray was commended in the 2011 National Poetry Competition and Kim Moore won the Poetry Society's Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and an Eric Gregory Award in 2011. What role do awards and competitions play in a poet's development? Our poets will discuss the advantages, and perhaps even disadvantages, of winning prizes, and read their prize-winning poems. £5 advance payment, £6 on the door. To book, please call the Wordsworth Trust on 01539 435 544, or complete their contact form


26 June to 1 July: As part of Poetry Parnassus at Southbank Centre, London, we will be launching the summer issue of Poetry Review, guest-edited by George Szirtes (date to be confirmed). Come and meet us at the International Poetry Fair at the weekend, where we will have a stall. On Sunday 1 July, 7.30pm, there will be a Poetry Pub Quiz - Poetry + Pub + Quiz - what's not to like? Come along to Concrete Bar at Hayward Gallery for a glass (or three). [Poetry Parnassus: The world’s poets are coming to London - meet them, hear them and celebrate with them. There are over 100 free events, activities and workshops happening every day throughout the festival. The world’s most exciting poets, rappers, spoken word artists, singers and storytellers are gathering for this huge event that will make history as the largest poetry festival ever staged in the UK. Keep checking the Southbank Centre’s website for further updates or pop along on the day to find out what’s on.]

Saturday 7 July. In association with the Poetry Society, Tony Harrison will be appearing at Southbank Centre in London as part of the London Literature Festival. More details soon.


Thursday 4 October will be National Poetry Day. The theme hasn't been confirmed yet but we will notify everyone as soon as we know.

Best wishes, 

Paul McGrane
Membership Manager
The Poetry Society
22 Betterton Street
London WC2H 9BX