Saturday 11th

10.00am-11.00am ‘A Walk To Morden Tower’ and The People’s Theatre Young People event | free but ticketed

We are pleased to present ‘A Walk to Morden Tower’, a series of performances by Newcastle University students inspired by this iconic literary landmark. Led by poet and lecturer John Challis, a group of NU students went on a guided walk to Morden Tower and explored its history and legacy. The students will be performing their work inspired by tower at Northern Stage. This project is in conjunction with an exhibition about Morden Tower in the Robinson Library led by archivist Rachel Hawkes and PhD researchers Maisie Drummond, Steven Kendall and William Kerr.

This event will also present a performance by People’s Theatre Young People group. This year marks 70 years since the BBC broadcast Dylan Thomas’s verse radio play Under Milk Wood. This performance draws on the idea of the relationship between place and voice. A group of young performers from the People’s Theatre, Newcastle, have worked with the poet Linda France and director Tony Childs, visiting an iconic street in Heaton, Newcastle – Shields Road – and drawing on the inspiration of conversations, sounds and sights of their visits there to create their text. This performance at Northern Stage is supported by the BBC and will be broadcast by them.

Book tickets here.

This event is supported by the Catherine Cookson Foundation and the BBC.

11.30-12.30pm Newcastle Poetry Festival showcase & Chancellor Poetry Prize | free but ticketed

This event is a presentation of our commissions and our competition winners. In partnership with Newcastle City Council, we commissioned a Poet in Residence at Grainger Market to engage with vendors, market stalls and customers and create an original work based on their experience. This will be their opportunity to share their findings and new work.

Jake Morris-Campbell was also commissioned to lead the ‘South Shields Poetry Walk’. Jake guided participants to locations in South Shields that inspired poems in his 2021 book, Corrigenda for Costafine Town, which was Highly Commended in the 2022 Forward Prizes and longlisted for the 2022 RSL Ondaatje Prize. Jake’s first book of prose, Between the Salt and the Ash, is being published by Manchester University Press in early 2025. He is Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University.

This event will also present the winner of The Chancellor’s Poetry Prize. Newcastle University students were to submit poems that explore the ideas of ‘Place’. The entries are judged by the Chancellor Imtiaz Dharker and Neil Astley, Editor and Managing Director of Bloodaxe Books Ltd.

Book tickets here.

This event is supported by Newcastle City Council and Creative Central Arts Team and Newcastle University.

1.30-2.30pm Pavilion Poetry 10th Anniversary Celebrations | £8/£6/£3

This event celebrates ten years of Pavilion Poetry, one of the most successful small poetry presses in the UK, with a remarkable record of publishing prize-winning, international poets.

An off-shoot of Liverpool University Press, Pavilion poetry is edited by Deryn Rees-Jones, herself a prize-winning poet and joint Director of the Centre for New and International Writing at Liverpool University.

Hannah Copley’s recently published second collection is Lapwing. A Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation, it explores restlessness, addiction, and ecological and personal grief. Hannah is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Westminster University, and a poetry editor at Stand magazine.

Alice Hiller published her debut collection, bird of winter, in 2021 and it was subsequently shortlisted for the Forward first collection prize and the John Pollard prize. This book explores how creativity can open up paths to redemption, beyond childhood hurt and abuse, and beyond society’s silencings. Alice has founded Voicing Our Silencings to resource poets responding to difficult materials:

Book in person tickets here.

This event is live streamed and digital tickets are available here.

This event is supported by Pavilion Poetry.

3-4pm Fleur Adcock & Liz Berry £8/£6

We are pleased to present two award-winning poets whose work unravels family connections as well as themes of home, childhood and place.

Fleur Adcock’s poetry is widely recognized in her birthplace of New Zealand and in the UK, where she now resides. Her books are published by Bloodaxe Books in the UK and in New Zealand by Te Herenga Waka Press (formerly Victoria University Press). They are now brought together in her Collected Poems which is published this year. She received an OBE in 1996 and has held positions as writer in residence, including the Northern Arts Literary Fellowship 1979-1981, living in Newcastle. In 2006 she was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and in 2019 the NZ Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry.

Liz Berry’s collections include Black Country (Chatto, 2014); The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018); The Dereliction (Hercules Editions, 2021), and The Home Child (Chatto, 2023), a novel in verse. Liz’s work has been described as “a sooty soaring hymn to her native West Midlands” (Guardian) and celebrates the landscape, history and dialect of the region. Liz has received the Somerset Maugham Award, Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and two Forward Prizes and the Writers’ Prize.

Book tickets here.

4.30-5.15 pm Royal Society of Literature lecture with Anthony Joseph | £8/£6/£3

Nostalgia: Architectures of Longing

This event features a lecture by poet, academic and T.S. Eliot winner Anthony Joseph. In this lecture , he asks: how does nostalgia become poetry? What is its texture and its central emotion?

For a writer born in the Caribbean, Anthony Joseph’s acts of remembering are also acts of retention. In this lecture, he considers how memory becomes nostalgia in exile, integral to an understanding of selfhood, and shaping the poetic impulse. Anthony reflects on the uses and varieties of nostalgia in his own work, exploring the ways in which memory and place are negotiated through the lens of longing.

Book in person tickets here.

This event is live-streamed and digital tickets are available here.

This event is supported by the Royal Society of Literature.

5.45-7pm Carolyn Forché, Suji Kwock Kim and Patricia Smith £8/£6/£3

We are honoured to have three esteemed poets from the US to share new work and discuss themes of creative practice, refuge and human rights.

Carolyn Forché is the author of five poetry collections. Her most recent, In the Lateness of the World, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the American Book Award. Her memoir, What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance was a finalist for the National Book Award, The James Tait Black Memorial Prize and others, and won the Juan E. Mendez Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America. Her anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, was praised by Nelson Mandela as “a blow against tyranny.” She completed her doctorate at Newcastle University in 2021. She is Distinguished University Professor at Georgetown University and is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Suji Kwock Kim is author of Notes from the Divided Country, Notes from the North, Private Property, and Disorient: Fugues & Assimilamentations, which is forthcoming. She is 2023 Poet-in-Residence at the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, 2024 Writer-in-Residence at the Gladstone Library, Wales, 2025 Writer-in-Residence at the James Merrill House, Stonington, and serves as a Trustee for Connect: North Korea, formerly the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea, a charity based in New Malden, Surrey, home to the largest community of North Koreans in the world outside Asia.

Patricia Smith, recipient of the Ruth Lilly Prize for Lifetime
Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, is the author of
Unshuttered, a volume of dramatic monologues accompanied
by images of 19th-century African Americans; Incendiary Art
(winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, the LA Times Book
Prize, and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize); Shoulda Been Jimi
(winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the
Academy of American Poets), and Blood Dazzler (a National
Book Award finalist). Her work has been published in the
anthologies Best American Poetry, Best American Essays and
Best American Mystery Stories. She is also a 4-time
individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most
successful poet in the competition’s history. Smith is a
professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton
University, a former Distinguished Professor for the City
University of New York, an Academy of American Poets
Chancellor and a member of the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences.

Book in person tickets here.

This event is live-streamed and digital tickets are available here.

This event is supported by the Institute of English Studies.

7.30-8.30pm Fred D’Aguiar and Jackie Kay| £8/£6

The Festival ends by welcoming back two poets with long connections with Newcastle, to read from their new collections and to talk with each other about poetry, politics and activism.

Jackie Kay was for many years Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, having first been Northern Arts Literary Fellow. She went on to be the third modern Makar, the National Poet of Scotland, from 2016-21, and has since become Professor of Creative Writing at Salford University. She has published a novel, Trumpet, which won the Guardian Fiction prize, three collections of stories from Picador, and a memoir Red Dust Road which was Scottish Book of the Year. Her poetry collections include The Adoption Papers and Darling from Bloodaxe, and more recently Fiere and Bantam from Picador. May Day is the new collection, hot off the press from Picador, which is a personal chronicle of activism over six decades. It also includes poems of grief at the recent losses of Kay’s parents, poems which are also infused with love and celebration.

Fred D’Aguiar, like Kay, was Northern Arts Literary Fellow. He also held a Leverhulme visiting professorship at Newcastle University. Born in London, of Guyanese parents, he grew up in Guyana and returned to the UK as a teenager. Now emigrated to the USA, he is currently Professor of English at UCLA. Like Kay he is also a distinguished writer in multiple genres, including novels – he has written six, the most recent of which is Children of Paradise (Granta 2015) – and a non-fiction book, The Year of Plagues (Carcanet, 2021), which recounts a time of both protest and personal survival. He has written eight poetry collections, including Mama Dot, his first, Continental Shelf, which was shortlisted for the T.S Eliot prize in 2009 and Letters from America, which was a PBS choice. His latest collection is For the Unnamed (Carcanet, 2023), which recovers and reimagines the story of the anonymous black jockey, who won a famous race in 1854.

Book tickets here.

This event is supported by the Newcastle University Institute for Creative Arts Practice.