Worcester Poet Laureate prepares for spooky Halloween Workshop!

LitFest Halloween 2017 poster (1)

On October 28th, at St John’s Library, Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe will be running a drop-in afternoon packed with workshops, story-telling, and Halloween-themed mayhem – and we want YOU to come along and celebrate with us.

Nina Lewis, Worcester’s very own Poet Laureate, will be attendance and from 2 – 3:30pm Nina will be running a workshop for your little ghouls and goblins (read: children) to enjoy. Nina will run a variety of activities and readings during this time, including: drawing and colouring in response to a poem, creating our own cut up poems and Halloween-themed acrostic poems, as well as listening to some fun Halloween poetry and more.

The event is catered to 5 – 9 year olds, but younger attendees are welcome, too! There will be colouring and pumpkin carving aplenty so there’s enough fun to go around, no matter the age range.

The LitFest team will be at the library from 1pm onward so, if you’re in the area and up for some spooky fun, pop your head in and say hello to us all – and do spread the word!

For further information on this event please contact Festival Secretary Charley Barnes, at: charley@worcslitfest.co.uk.


World Mental Health Day: We want your poems!


Our lovely Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis, is passionate about mental health – and, in support of this year’s World Mental Health Day, she’s inviting you to get passionate, too! Nina is putting out an open call for poetry about, or in support of those suffering from, mental health issues. Entries are open to ANYONE, ANYWHERE in the world, so there’s no excuse to not get involved.

The maximum line count per poem is 40. You are allowed to send between 1 and 3 poems for consideration. All poems should be copied into the body of an email – NOT sent as attachments – to worcspl@gmail.com.

The deadline for this is October 8th – so get writing!

To keep up to date with Nina and all things Laureate generally, make sure you pop over to Nina’s personal blog where she posts regular updates on her latest ventures, endeavours, and plans for the Worcestershire poetry scene and beyond:



Nina’s WPL Blog – August 2017

Worcestershire Poet Laureate News and Reviews

I am delighted to be Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017/18. I cannot believe that two months have passed already. There are lots of plans in the making and several current opportunities you can take advantage of.



Submissions are now open for poems about Worcestershire. Send 1-3 previously unpublished poems in the body of an email to worcspl@gmail.combefore the 31st August.


I am producing several digital magazines during my tenure and work for this latest call out will appear in Contour in the Autumn, a free online magazine.

I am also looking for artwork/photographs for this issue.


Tickets are on sale for a workshop I am delivering on Monday 18th September at Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury. We are using the Sculpture Trail as initial inspiration. Tickets include free cake and tea/coffee, a marquee for the workshop and a tour of the Sculpture Trail.

Attendees have the chance to see their finished poems exhibited at the Jinney Ring and a possible reading later in November.

All this for just £7.00, book your tickets now as places are limited. Get in touch worcspl@gmail.com for further information.




August 12th From 1:15 PM

A whole bunch of Laureates performed in the Pen & Parchment Tent at Lakefest this weekend, 12th August, thanks to Ruth Inglis for organising this.

The programme was exciting and included: A Children’s Workshop with Pete the Temp.

A Lot of Laureates performances from Maggie Doyle, Suz Winspear, Chloe Clarke, Matt Windle and myself.

A Poetry Brothel with Matt Windle, Rick Sanders and myself.

A SpeakEasy Special with the Laureates plus Polly Stretton, Charley Barnes, Rick Sanders.

Poetry on Demand throughout the day.

A Poetry Slam.

The Anti-Poet.

It was a fantastic day, this is the first year Lakefest has had a poetry tent and it was a great success.


Huntington Hall – Worcester Festival

Poetry Open Mic Night with Ben Parker

August 23rd 7 PM


For £2.50 you can spend the evening listening to poetry. More information can be found here:

Ben Parker Poetry Event

All pre-booked slots are full, performers listed include myself, Myfanwy Fox, Timothy Stavert, Suz Winspear, Robin Hector, Cass Osborn, Bob Woodroofe and Sue Johnson.

Remaining slots filled first-come-first-served on the night. Whether you’re a seasoned performer, or new to the spotlight, this will be a welcoming and enjoyable event.


Future Opportunities

A Tale of Two Cities & Twinned Towns

I am currently negotiating two International Poetry Projects, one within Europe and another with the States.

I am looking for poets who are interested in being partnered with a poet across the Atlantic and/or Europe. Look out for more information at the end of the summer and register your interest by dropping a quick email to worcspl@gmail.com – participating poets can take part in both projects.

Open to poets based in Worcestershire.

And Now, A Step Back in Time…


What has happened so far? Well, you were probably there but just in case you missed it… June.

The Worcester LitFest Bit

What better way to celebrate my Laureateship than the 7th Worcester LitFest. It was an incredible programme this year – kudos and credit to the WLF team!

I loved that people came from far and wide to Worcester and events saw new audience as well as new faces perform.

My first official engagement as WPL was The Night at the Museum III, an evening at Museum of Royal Worcester, hosted and organised by the former WPL and Poet in Residence, Suz Winspear.

I performed alongside former Young Poet Laureate Chloe Clarke, the Young Poet Laureate of Worcestershire Oakley and Matt Windle the current Birmingham Poet Laureate.

It was also the official Launch of Suz’s Porcelain Pamphlet ‘The Aniseed Elite’, which she performed. This is a book I can thoroughly recommend and a snip at £4.00!


I spent the first week of my Laureateship immersed in WLF. I couldn’t attend everything as I was working but I managed a lot of the programme. This year excitingly, I was part of the bill with a show I created in collaboration with Kathy Gee and Claire Walker.

Something I had been mulling over for a year as I patiently redrafted my pamphlet ‘Fragile Houses’. I knew I wanted to do something dynamic with the poetry and was delighted when fellow V.Press Poets agreed to come on board.

We created 30-40-60 a multimedia poetry show which debuted at the festival on Sunday 11th June.


This special evening began with a host of poets on the mic including: Elaine Christie, Nigel Hutchinson, Neil Richards, Belinda Rimmer, Rick Sanders, Suz Winspear, Paul Woolridge and Kate Weatherby. I love the fact the show exposed new poets to Worcester and a new poet to all of us. Part of every Laureates mission is to find those who write poetry and are not already part of the network. A true bonus.

You can read more about it here 30-40-60.

With Worcester LitFest in full swing I attended and performed at 42 Festival Special, which featured The Anti-Poet and was an anarchy driven night of high spirits and the following night SpeakEasy with Pete the Temp, which was also the evening Suz and I did the official hand over and had a few more photos taken of the now engraved WPL award!


Beyond WLF

I attended the National Writers’ Conference in Birmingham, the day after the Launch of WLF. It is a great Writing West Midlands event, I went as a Room 204 delegate. It is a good investment if you ever get a chance.


I created a dedicated email address and blog – check it out https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/

I performed a Guest Spot at Licensed to Rhyme, a night co-hosted by Maggie Doyle (PL Emeritus) and Spoz, at the Artrix in Bromsgrove.

It is a night of open mics, two Guest Spots and a Headliner. Always a great night and this one saw Ben Parker and Gareth Owen perform.

I visited Croome Court for a National Trust Project I am involved in through Room 204 ‘Adam Speaks’. Room 204 is a Writing Development Programme with Writing West Midlands. I applied in February and was one of 15 successful candidates for this year’s cohort. Over 135 people applied, I am grateful I made it onto the 2017/18 cohort.


At the end of the month I Headlined alongside Tom Crossland at Spoken Trend, a night of Spoken Word and Poetry run by Tom McCann at The Bull’s Head in Kings Norton. I don’t get to events in Birmingham as often as I used to, always a pleasure.


The Poet Laureate Bit

I organised a poetry performance and picnic at an established event ‘SALT KING 200’ at the Chateau Impney – in celebration of John Corbett and put a call out for poetry submissions for a Refugee Anthology to mark World Refugee Day/ Refugee Awareness Week.

The poetry anthology can be found here.

World Refugee Day in Poetry

Showcasing established, emerging and beginner poets – Local, National & International poets represented. I was amazed by the response and with just 48 hours from call out to end result – it is a fine collective of voices. Strong points that need to be heard and should be made.

Salt King 200 brought eight poets together, again at incredibly short notice. Performers included: Mike Alma, Leena Batchelor, Holly Daffurn, Cass Osborne, Neil Richards, Timothy Stavert, Suz Winspear & myself.

It was a special start to being WPL, delighted that so many took the opportunity to research and write Corbett poetry. It was a fine day in every way. Ten poets originally signed up for Salt King 200, unfortunately they couldn’t all make it. I liked the correlation between being the 7th WPL and having 7 Poets at my first event!

Salt King 200 with added Poetry


I promoted National Writing Day, set up a radio slot with BBC Hereford & Worcester, wrote media content to announce my new role and started writing lots of Laureate plans in a pink, glittery (of course) notebook.

I performed at WLF event Words on Water, a beautiful Solstice Walk along the Severn, one I have enjoyed for a few years now.


The Poet Laureate Bit

I performed in my 4th official event as WPL for Evesham’s Festival of Words. This event had a great turn out and beautiful Sunday morning sunshine for the poetry walk, a gentle stroll across the green park around the Bell Tower in Evesham.


I performed some Evesham poems written especially for the event and enjoyed listening to poetry and prose. It was good to see some people who happened upon our merry group, stay and listen.

BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester

I had my first Radio slot with Tammy Gooding BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester. This was something Maggie Doyle instigated during her WPL tenure (2013/14). It is a tradition picked up by other Laureates and I am happy to continue with it.

I read ‘Gander’ one of the poems written for Evesham Festival of Words. Tammy is amazing at putting you at ease. She was impressed with an interview which needed no editing! It has been decades since I stepped foot inside a studio. I was nervous, but had such a great time!

I am already booked in for August, listen in from 1 PM on Monday 14th.

I had a Guest Spot as the new WPL at Licensed to Rhyme, Maggie Doyle & Spoz’s monthly poetry event at the Artrix. The other Guest Spot Poet was Claire Walker and Headlining was Suz Winspear. It was an opportunity for me to perform many of the poems created as WPL so far, the list is already fairly lengthy. There were a plethora of open mic-ers. It was a fabulous evening.

On the 22nd I was part of Watch Out Worcester thanks to Suz Winspear, who organised a fantastic event at St. Swithin’s with her DanceFest connection. It was a wonderful event and a pleasure to perform some of my Poetry Ballroom set again.

I was Poet in Residence at Droitwich Library for the morning as part of the Artsfest. It was a chance to wear my personalised WLF t-shirt and spread poetry joy. The children enjoyed making poetry kits, I wrote several library poems and chatted about all things poetry.


16 PHOTO CREDIT Rhys Jones

Photo credit Rhys Jones

After this I dropped some Poetry for Display into Canal Side Studio and talked about more WPL opportunities, so watch this space for more exciting Poetry Projects to sink your teeth into!


I headlined at Uncorked at the beginning of the month alongside Clive Oseman, Sean Colletti and Jake Scott. This is a great evening created by Holly Daffurn that happens at the lovely Bottles Wine Bar in Worcester.


I went to a workshop in Shrewsbury with Helen Ivory and Martin Figura, it was great to finally meet these two and catch up with Shropshire based poets. I managed to get a quality poem from this workshop too – and of course bought more books for my poetry bookcase.

I spent a day catching the end of Ledbury Poetry Festival with an action packed schedule starting with a performance of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ poetry at Coffee Morning with Malika’s Kitchen hosted by Jill Abram. Read more about it here. 21 Years of Gold Ledbury Poetry Festival

I performed in Cheltenham at Chapel Lates, an amazing night of poetry and prose as part of Cheltenham Music Festival curated by Anna Saunders (Founder Cheltenham Poetry Festival). Read all about it here Chapel Lates

Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories – poetry performed at the George Marshall Medical Museum. Charley Barnes asked me to participate in this project at the end of June along with Mike Alma and Polly Stretton.

We had access to historical archives (photographs) which are not on general display to the public and from these we created a 10 minute set of poetry.

It was a great project to be involved in, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Louise Price had the creative vision to intersperse the medical talks with poetry. We performed our poems with the images projected behind us.

I performed at Open Poetry in Walsall Arboretum (an event organised by David Calcutt), this month was a charity event to raise awareness of the refugee crisis in Greece. We raised funds for PIPKA – refugees in Lesvos.

I attended the Nine Arches Press Summer Party at Waterstones Birmingham with readings from Angela France, Gregory Leadbetter, Tania Hershman and Rishi Dastidar.

I went to Cheltenham for Angela France’s Book Launch, ‘The Hill’ is her latest collection, published by Nine Arches.

I had a workshop with Chris Alton, the Lead Artist on the Croome Court Project and another workshop with Angela France.

Droitwich Artsfest happened, this festival is something I have been involved in organising the poetry element for the past 5 months.

The 22nd saw Poetry in St. Andrew’s Square with myself, Antony Owen and Val Harrison and later in the evening Fergus McGonigal (former WPL) hosted Poetry Extravaganza at Park’s Cafe. A fantastic night of poetry and I was presented with my newly engraved WPL Award.

In between I managed to get across to Suz’s event for Watch Out Worcester, Poetry at St. Swithin’s.

I finished the month with a night of poetry and prose at Drummonds 42 and the pleasure of seeing Kevin Brooke in action as the Guest host, it was a ‘curious’ night of delight. Kevin did a sterling job!

And now… it is August and I have performed at Lakefest, attended my first WLF Committee Meeting and am busy reading submissions for Contour, finalising PR for the Jinney Ring Sculpture Workshops and liaising with International organisations over the Twin Projects, oh – and celebrating my birthday. Having realised I am the Youngest Worcester Poet Laureate, I don’t feel so old!

See you all soon!

Ben Parker brings poetry to Huntingdon Hall this August!

Ben Parker, Worcester Live’s current poet-in-residence, is putting together an exciting open mic event later this month, set to take place at Worcester’s own Huntingdon Hall (WR1 3LD). This is one of several open mic events that Ben has put together in recent months and, having been to a few ourselves, we can promise you that you’re in for a treat of an evening.

Ben Parker

With poetry readings taking place in the bar area of Huntingdon Hall, it promises to be an event packed with literary loveliness featuring some of Worcester’s finest wordsmiths. All open mic slots for the event have been taken so keep your ears open for the upcoming announcements on who we can expect to see take to the stage.

Pencilled in for Wednesday, August 23rd, doors will open at 7:10pm for a 7:30pm start, and Ben would be delighted to see as many friendly faces in the audience as possible. We’ll certainly be there!

Rotary Club of Worcester takes LitFest on their travels!

Litfest_Stephen Jone_Mayor

The Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe team are extending their thank yous and warm wishes to the lovely folks over at the Rotary Club of Worcester this week.

During their recent board walk around the city, Rotary Club of Worcester were kind enough to show their support for the LitFest organisation by popping details of our seventh festival onto one of their boards — and doesn’t it look wonderful!


Long-time friends and generous sponsors of Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe, we can’t thank the Rotary Club enough for their time, efforts, and support.

Thank you to everyone involved — we’re extremely grateful, and we know, all too well, that we couldn’t keep doing what we’re doing without the kindness and support of those around us. Here’s to another year of LitFest!

Meet your Worcestershire Poet Laureate at Droitwich Library this week!

20376180_1449264865110606_7131864148347134262_nThis Friday – July 28th – as part of Droitwich Artsfest, our current Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis, will be the Artist in Residence at Droitwich Library – with thanks to Droitwich Arts Network for their additional support in making this lovely event happen.

In this role Nina will be appearing at Droitwich library from 10am – 12pm, where she will be writing poetry, chatting to the public, and offering a whole host of creative activities for you lovely folks to engage with, too!

If you’re a budding poet, or a parent looking for a fabulous morning activity for your little ones – or perhaps even a glorious mixture of all of the above – then Nina has just the thing for you. From 11am there are activities on offer that will get some creative juices flowing and get some beautiful words written – we’re sure of it! PLUS there will be some of Nina’s own work on display throughout the event as well.

There will be BOOKS, there will be POETRY, with LOVELY PEOPLE in a GREAT SPACE as part of a WONDERFUL LOCAL EVENT! How much more persuading do you need?!

So pop along this Friday to see Nina in action – and maybe even get some words scribbled down yourself!