Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe: The halfway mark!

If you haven’t checked in with the Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe team yet this year then you really are missing out! We have been dotted at various venues around Worcester City Centre since last Friday, rolling out a stellar display of literary talent.

Our most recent events were Monday night’s Worcester Writers’ Circle and Friends’ evening, that took the form of Short Stories, Sketches, and Scurrilous Scribings. I am delighted to say that this evening was an absolute cracker of an event! We laughed, we emphasised, we shook our heads and groaned, and overall it was a marvellous evening with a supportive audience.

Last night saw something different brought to LitFest. The Hive, in partner with our fine selves, housed a theatrical work titled The Murderer – inspired by the Luke Kennard poem of the same name – performed by Clown Funeral. We didn’t know what to expect – although we were all excited by the prospect of seeing something so new and fresh. Well, we were NOT disappointed! The hour-long (ish) performance was moving, emotive, and unexpectedly amusing at times. Without giving too much of the concept away – it really is a surprise that you should experience for yourselves, should you get the opportunity – The Murderer is a refreshing and unexpected take on a controversial topic, and it made for wonderful viewing!

And that brings us to today! What can you look forward to from here on out? PLENTY! The Anti Poet are set to bring down the house at Drummonds Bar this evening and then we’re back to Cafe Bliss tomorrow (Thursday) evening for a PACKED night of open mic performers AND a featured appearance from Pete The Temp. So get booking, folks, because tickets are still available online and you’ve still got time to enjoy this year’s LitFest and Fringe!

For questions regarding events and ticketing, please email secretary@worcslitfest.co.uk.

Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe: What’s happened so far?

We have absolutely SMASHED our festival opening this weekend with not one, not two, not even three events taking place, but FIVE over a total of just three days. Friday saw the official launch of the festival, though, and for those not yet privy to the news (where have you been?) we are delighted to announce that our new Poet Laureate was revealed for the coming year and that poet is… NINA LEWIS!

Nina has been a determined supporter of Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe in past years, and we are delighted to see her take up the position of Worcestershire Poet Laureate. We know that she’ll make us proud!

Saturday saw Holly Daffurn drop a workshop in St John’s Library in the afternoon followed by Suz Winspear – out-going Poet Laureate – putting on a stellar display of poetry at Worcester’s porcelain museum (she was accompanied by a fair amount of laureates, past and present, might we add).

Sunday’s events started off with another workshop – Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know – that taught attendees of the wicked wonder of hard-to-like characters. AND to round the weekend off we had the marvellous 30-40-60 event taking place at The Hive. It was a new event – new concept, even! – but audiences were in awe of the stunning poetry delivered, accompanied by wonderful multimedia elements, too.

So there you have our weekend round-up. But of course, it doesn’t stop there…

The festival team will be heading back to the beautiful Cafe Bliss this evening for the exciting Short Stories, Sketches, and Scurrilous Scribings (doors open at 7pm for a 7:30pm start).  Tickets can be purchased on the door for this event, and we hope to see many of you there!

We are delighted to announce our Flash Fiction Shortlist for 2017!

After months of preparation from writers and judges alike, the team of Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe are delighted to announce the official shortlist for this year’s Flash Fiction competition.

Please note, the numbers that appear alongside the shortlisted works are how we identify the entries during the judging process:

FF shortlist 2017

Congratulations to our shortlisted writers and commiserations to those who did not make our shortlist this time around. There has been such a high standard of talent this year more so than ever so please do not be disheartened, and please do enter again next year!

Keep your eyes peeled in the coming days for our official announcement of who has ranked in the winning position for this year…

And the Worcestershire Poet Laureate finalists are…

After wading through a pool of impressive applicants, our WPL Competition judges have made their decisions regarding this year’s final three.

Remember, the Worcestershire Poet Laureate for the coming year will be announced at our festival launch, which is taking place at Worcester Racecourse on June 9th (doors open at 6:30pm for a 7:30pm start). During this event the judges and the audience members will hear performances from all three finalists ahead of a final decision being made.

And, at long last, your three finalists for this year are, in alphabetical order…

Nina Lewis

Damon Lord

Louise Reeder

Our sincere congratulations to all three poets for making it this far in the process. We wish them all the very best of luck in the next stages of the competition, and we hope that as many as of you as possible will join us next Friday to see the lucky winner crowned as Laureate for the year!

Poetry Salon doors to swing open once more this Thursday!

This Thursday (May 25th), Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe will be opening the doors to their Poetry Salon, for the second year running. A unique and intimate evening, the Poetry Salon allows audience members to experience one to one readings from a selection of local poets. Alongside this – to keep those not attending the Salon entertained – there will be an open mic section hosted by Worcester’s very own Poet Laureate, Suz Winspear.

Inside the Salon itself, audience members will have 15 minutes in which they can visit three of our poets. And, if you’re wondering who the wonderful performers are this year…

Alan Durham

Nina Lewis

Kieran Davis

Holly Daffurn

Kevin Brooke

Charley Barnes

These six will be waiting, poems at the ready, to read to you, answer any questions you have about their work, and generally share their poetic-loveliness with anyone who comes along to listen.

So, this Thursday, do come along to The Old Rectifying House in Worcester (WR1 3NN); doors open at 7pm and the Salon event itself will start at 7:30pm. Don’t miss your chance to be involved in this unique evening of poetry and performance!

If you want to book 6 minutes in our open mic section, you can email: secretary@worcslitfest.co.uk to do so now.

Have you seen our action-packed programme yet?

The team of Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe are delighted to announce the full details of their 2017 festival programme!

We have worked tirelessly in recent months to bring you the best that the West Midlands (and beyond) has to offer in terms of lovely literary talents. Unfortunately, the festival only has one week to spread its wings and so we have had to make some difficult decisions in regards to which applications to pursue this year. However, our final decisions are now complete, compiled, and ready to be perused.

You can access an online version of the programme – AND start buying your tickets – in our Programme & Tickets 2017 section.

If you have any questions or queries about tickets, or the festival generally, please do contact our Secretary, Charley Barnes, by emailing: secretary@worcslitfest.co.uk.

We’ll see you all in June!

Suz’s WPL blog – March 2016

Breaking Boundaries

It’s March already, and my year as Poet Laureate is into its final quarter. The time has passed so quickly – I can’t believe it’s coming to an end! My aim this year has been to celebrate the creativity of Worcestershire people and to form links between writers, artists and performers on the local scene, breaking the boundaries and divisions between the disciplines. I didn’t anticipate last June that my attempts to break boundaries down would happen at a time when so much of the political discourse would be about building new boundaries and re-enforcing old divisions, so it’s been an interesting experience!

I’ve had two commissions for the Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery, one for a poem and performance for the opening of the Jeremy Deller – ‘Battle of Orgreave’ film and exhibition, and (by complete contrast) one for a poem to accompany the current exhibition, ‘David Cox and his Contemporaries’ – visitors to the gallery can see the enigmatic nineteenth century landscape paintings and read my poem in the leaflet.

My monthly broadcasts on BBC Hereford and Worcester and my articles in SlapMag have been successful, and I’m continuing to network with members of the music, film and visual arts communities, as well as working in my role as Poet in Residence at the Museum of Royal Worcester. However the major event of my laureateship came from one of those odd random late-night ideas that don’t really seem practical and usually get forgotten by the morning. Somehow this one survived the onslaught of daytime common sense, and turned into the Poetry Ballroom – a collaboration between LitFest and Dancefest for an evening of poetry and dance – poets performing work inspired by dance, dancers performing work inspired by poetry. It’s surprising how well the two art-forms work together! The dance rehearsals have been going on for a while now, and it has been fascinating to sit in on them and watch a piece come together from its first inception to its finished form. This is going to be an evening like no other! It takes place on April 2nd, at the Angel Centre in Worcester, at 7.30pm.

What happens after that? Well, the remaining weeks of my laureateship may be flying by at a horrible speed, but there is one final project I have been working on. I can’t say too much about it yet, but having brought poetry and dance together, my next challenge involves . . . poetry and sculpture!