Friday 12th

10:00 –12:00 Poetry Live, School Event, Frederick Douglass Centre

This is a special event for pupils in the Newcastle area to hear and meet the authors whose poems feature on the GCSE syllabus.  This year the featured poets include former UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Newcastle University Chancellor and poet Imtiaz Dharker, and European Poet of Freedom winner Sinéad Morrissey, Forward Prize winner Daljit Nagra, Wales Book of the Year Award winner Owen Sheers, along with Chief Examiner Tony Childs.

11:00-12:00 Poems inspired by Paths to Abstraction and Dear Neighbour commissions | Free

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This dual event showcases work by Newcastle University students and winners of the ‘Dear Neighbour’ commissions. Curated by John Challis, we will first hear poems written by Newcastle University Creative Writing and Fine Art Students in response to the exhibition of paintings by the artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Paths to Abstraction, currently on show at the Hatton Gallery. The exhibition is open until 20th May, and this event should be combined with a visit to the exhibition:

We are also pleased to present the ‘Dear Neighbour’ commissions. In February 2023, we invited UK creative practitioners to explore the theme of ‘Dear Neighbour’ in original, specially-created performances across poetry, music, art and film. We are pleased to announce the following performers: Jack Arthurs, who will be performing a solo acoustic set including a new song written specially for the Festival; Ilisha Thiru Purcell, who has created a spoken-word piece that explores the unsung ways that neighbours support each other; Emma Holliday, who will be showcasing a specially-created artwork; and Mary-Jane Holmes and Steve Kendall, who will be performing a Renga (a Japanese collaborative poem) inspired by the theme of Dear Neighbour.

This event is in partnership with the Newcastle Institute of Creative Practice

12:30-13:30 Sarala Estruch, Anita Pati, Yvonne Reddick | £7/£5

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This event explores family migration, legacies of trauma, and climate emergencies, in powerful works. Sarala Estruch’s debut collection After All We Have Travelled is a Poetry Book Society Spring 2023 Recommendation. Her pamphlet Say was a Poetry School Book of The Year. Anita Pati’s debut poetry collection Hiding to Nothing was recently longlisted for the Jhalak Prize. Her first poetry pamphlet, Dodo Provocateur, won The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition. Yvonne Reddick is a poet, nature writer and environmental humanities researcher. Her publications include Burning Season (Bloodaxe, 2023), Ted Hughes: Environmentalist and Ecopoet (Palgrave, 2017) and Anthropocene Poetry (Palgrave, under contract). She is the recipient of awards from the Poetry Society, New Writing North and Creative Future.

14:00– 15:00 Kim Moore, Clare Shaw, Mary Jean Chan | £7/£5

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This event offers meditations on the dynamics of romantic and family relationships, and how these relationships affect our identities. Kim Moore’s recent collection All The Men I Never Married won the 2022 Forward Prize. Her first collection The Art of Falling won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and her non-fiction book What The Trumpet Taught Me was published by Smith/Doorstop in May 2022. Clare Shaw has four poetry collections with Bloodaxe: the most recent, Towards a General Theory of Love, was a Poetry Society Book of the Year 2022. They are Co-Director of the Kendal Poetry Festival, a Royal Literary Associate, a regular tutor for Wordsworth Grasmere and the Arvon Foundation. Mary Jean Chan’s debut collection Flèche, won the Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. Their second poetry collection, Bright Fear, is forthcoming from Faber in summer 2023.

15:30-16:30 Karen Solie, Sheri Benning, Patrick James Errington | £7/£5

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The work of these poets shares themes of myth and histories, eco-criticism and environmental philosophy, and all three poets hail from the prairies of Canada. Karen Solie was born in Moose Jaw and grew up in southwest Saskatchewan, Canada. She is the author of five collections of poetry. Her most recent, The Caiplie Caves, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Derek Walcott Prize. Sheri Benning grew up on a farm in central Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory. Her most recent collection Field Requiem was shortlisted for The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Patrick James Errington is a Scottish-Canadian poet and has won the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada’ and the Callan Gordon Award from the Scottish Book Trust. His books include the chapbooks Glean and Field Studies and his debut collection, the swailing.

Please note that Karen Solie and Sheri Benning will be appearing via zoom.

17:0018.00 Owen Sheers and Daljit Nagra | £7/£5

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This event with two award-winning poets explores home, landscape and language. Owen Sheers is a poet, author and playwright. He has been twice-winner of Welsh Book of the Year and was he was the recipient of the 2016 St Davids Award for Culture and the 2018 Wilfred Owen Poetry Award. His second collection Skirrid Hill won a Somerset Maugham Award. Daljit Nagra has published four poetry collections which have won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Book, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University and Chair of the Royal Society of Literature.

18:30-19:30 Carol Ann Duffy, Imtiaz Dharker, John Sampson 

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The special event will feature the luminous words of Imtiaz Dharker and Carol Ann Duffy, who will also be accompanied by the musician John Sampson. Carol Ann Duffy was UK Poet Laureate for a decade from 2009 to 2019. She won the PEN Pinter Prize in 2012 and was made a DBE in the 2015 New Year Honours list. In 2021, she was awarded the International Golden Wreath for lifetime achievement in poetry. Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and video film maker. She is Chancellor of Newcastle University and was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014. Her six collections, all published by Bloodaxe Books, include Over the Moon and Luck is the Hook. John Sampson has collaborated with poet Carol Ann Duffy in live performance since 2003. They have performed at literary festivals around the UK, New Zealand, Hong Kong. He works as a musical director and has composed for radio, theatre, ballet and television.

This event is in partnership with the Institute of English Studies.

20:00-22:20 Born Lippy Open Mic + Special Guests | Free

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Hosted by Donald Jenkins and co-created with Poet in the City Producers

Born Lippy, the North-East’s leading spoken-word night, will present an open mic night to shine a spotlight on our local writers and performers.

Calling all wordsmiths out there, this is an opportunity to share your words. You don’t need to be famous or published -if you have a burning urge to share your poems this is the space for you. To Book a slot – email or send a DM @bornllippyne FB/Insta

This event is co-created with Poet in the City Producers, a group of talented young creatives producing events, provoking discussions, and driving campaigns to ensure young people have a stake in the future of poetry.

The evening will feature two headliners: Zia Ahmed and Becksy Becks. Zia Ahmed is a writer from North-West London. He is part of the London Laureates, having been shortlisted for London’s Young Poet Laureate 2015/16. He is a former Roundhouse Slam Champion and a Writer in Residence at Paines Plough as part of Channel 4’s Playwright Scheme 2017. In 2019, Zia’s stage debut I WANNA BE YOURS premiered at the Bush Theatre. He is a recipient of the Royal Court Jerwood New Playwrights Programme 2021. Zia’s last project, PEACEOPHOBIA, won Best Stage Production 2022 at the Asian Media Awards.

Becksy Becks is a South Sudanese FLO poet, event host and Slam Poetry Finalist. Driven by her three life pillars of Laughter,
Love and Literature, her writing explores a variety of personal life experiences, which she delivers in a relaxed, relatable,
conversational style, often exploring the dichotomy between humour and tragedy. She curated Bedroom Poetry in 2018, recognising it as a safe space and a portal for her imagination to escape and
merge with her reality.

This evening will be hosted by Donald Jenkins. Don is a spoken word poet & rapper who loves to rant and rhyme. Great Gateshead Poetry Slam Winner, he has performed at The Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury Festival. He produces & hosts Born Lippy, and has curated stages for Lindisfarne, Words Weekender, Summer Streets & Newcastle Poetry Festivals. 

This project is supported by the Newcastle University Humanities Research Institution.