Thursday 11th

Northern Poetry Symposium 2023: CELEBRATING COMMUNITY 11th May, Northern Stage, Stage 2

In person tickets for the Symposium here

Digital tickets for the Symposium here

Join the Poetry Book Society and Newcastle University to celebrate COMMUNITY on the 11th May at the Northern Poetry Symposium. We’re uniting all strands of the poetry community from readers to writers, students to publishers in a day of inspiring poet-led panel discussions and performances. It’s a unique opportunity to hear world-class poets discuss their craft and tackle key issues, so come and join our global poetry community!

10am: University Chancellor Imtiaz Dharker offers a warm welcome to our poetry community  

10:15-11:15 FESTIVAL FOCUS

What are the challenges of running a Poetry Festival? And what are the gains for poets, audiences and publishers? Do festivals contribute to a sense of community? What kind of research can contribute to their success? Clare Lees, Director of the Institute of English Studies, University of London, convenes a discussion with Linda Anderson (Founder, Newcastle Poetry Festival), Lily Blacksell (Literature Programmer at the Southbank Centre, Public Events and Partnerships Manager at the Royal Society of Literature), Kim Moore (Co-Director, Kendall Poetry Festival), Clare Shaw (Co-Director Kendall Poetry Festival) and Theresa Muñoz (Director, Newcastle Poetry Festival)

11:30-12:30 (4pm IST) FELLOWSHIP

Next stop, India! The British Council’s Literature Programme Manager Rebecca Hart chairs this exciting case study of global poetry community in action. We’ll be joined virtually by two of the British Council’s India-UK International Publishing Fellows: Hindi translator, poet and Copper Coin Publisher Sarabjeet Garcha and Marathi translator, poet and anti-caste Dalit publisher Yogesh Maitreya from Panther’s Paw Publishing. Plus the award-winning poet and Sanskrit translator Mani Rao (Wave of Beauty, HarperCollins). This is your chance to discover an exhilarating range of Indian poetries, consider how to engage marginalised communities and learn more about poetry in translation. Let’s build an international fellowship of poets!.

12:30-13:30 LUNCH

Lunch is included in the ticket price for the Symposium and will be served in the theatre mezzanine.


Director of the Complete Works and Nuevo Sol British LatinX writers, Nathalie Teitler kickstarts the afternoon with a panel discussion celebrating poetry collectives. Malika Booker (Pepper Seed, Peepal Tree Press)who founded Malika’s Poetry Kitchen to nurture generations of poets since 2001, joins the Forward prize winner and Ledbury Critic Stephanie Sy Quia (Amnion, Granta) and MPK alumni poet and playwright Inua Ellams (The Actual,PitM), who launched a Global Collective Poem during lockdown, and Jacob Sam La Rose who has been responsible for several impactful initiatives, including the Spoken Word Education Programme (Goldsmiths UoL), the Vineyard, and Shake the Dust (Apples & Snakes).
We’ll explore the shared challenges and successes, how poetry collectives have re-shaped the current poetry landscape and how we’re stronger together.


Our final panel tackles how poetry can represent and reach more diverse communities. The PBS Summer Choice Airea D Matthews joins virtually from the US to share her searing examination of race and economic inequality in Bread & Circus (Picador). We’ll also hear from LGBT+ Poet Laureate Adam Lowe’s new collection Patterflash(Peepal Tree). Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa on neurodiversity, notions of “blackness” and how to decolonise the page in Cane, Corn & Gully (Outspoken) and Jamie Hale (Shield, Verve Press), founder of the UK’s first “Disabled Poets Prize” and CRIPtic Arts, will reframe perspectives on poetry and disability. How can we make the poetry community more inclusive?



Join us for a powerful collective poetry experience to close the day’s discussions, featuring poems from Malika Booker and an electrifying choreo-poetry performance by Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa.



18.30-19.30: TS Eliot Showcase with Zaffar Kunial and Fiona Benson | £7/£5

In person tickets here

Digital ticket here

We are thrilled to to be working with the T.S.Eliot Foundation to bring you two poets recently short-listed for the T.S. Eliot prize, who will close the first day of the festival. Zaffar Kunial lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and was born in Birmingham. His debut collection, Us, was shortlisted for a number of prizes. He was a 2022 recipient of the Yale University Windham-Campbell Prize. England’s Green is his second book and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize.  Fiona Benson’s collections are Bright Travellers, Vertigo & Ghost, and Ephemeron, all of which were shortlisted for the T S Eliot prize. Her books have received many awards, including the Forward Prize, the Seamus Heaney Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. 

With thanks to the T. S. Eliot Prize and T. S. Eliot Foundation,