Nina’s WPL Blog – November/December 2017

What a fantastic 5 months it has been. I am enjoying being Worcestershire Poet Laureate and still pinch myself some days. What excites me most is discovering secret poets and helping people turn to and return to poetry. I have met new-to-me poets and encouraged them gently into the wonderful world of poetry. These were some of my targets, and I am delighted that they have already been realised…

Poetry Magazine

My last blog post in August mentioned Contour. The first issue was released on 29th October; it launched at the end of INKSPILL, an online writing retreat I run annually over at awritersfountain. You can read a digital copy of Contour now just here.

Let me know as soon as you can if you would like a printed version as a limited run is being ordered. Drop me a line; cost will depend on the size of the order, it will be around £5 plus P&P.

The next issue is scheduled for February and submission details go live on the WPL blog TODAY (you can have a peek now by clicking here).


I was booked for my first talk as a poet by Evesham Festival of Words for Second Friday Stories; I organised an Open Mic Poetry Event to celebrate the Salt Day Festival in Droitwich Spa; met with Janet King to discuss the European Twin Town Poetry Project – we are currently gathering poets based in Germany; headlined SpeakEasy and Permission to Speak; and wrote poems for The Unremembered of WW1, a Living Memory Project published by Black Pear Press.

I facilitated the Sculpture Trail Poetry Workshop at the Jinney Ring (18th September) and poets gave positive feedback on the experience. Since the workshop I’ve compiled 16 poems for an exhibition in the Restaurant at the Jinney Ring Craft Centre and am meeting with Carolyn Baldwin (Events Manager) in the New Year to finalise plans. We hope for an Easter time exhibition.

To celebrate National Poetry Day (28th September) I compiled the 2nd WPL anthology, on the theme of Freedom, which you can find details of just here.

National-Poetry-Day-News-Piece-Image (1) edinburgh city of literature

Later on in the month I received a commission from Liz Johnson (Composer) to write for Credo, Creative Synenergy and perform on the 29th September at Elmslie House, Malvern. This was a fabulous project to be part of. Liz had collaborated with Visual Artist Dora Williams to create Credo, and the evening event celebrated the launch of the exhibition. My poem ‘Terra Firma’, based on one of Dora’s abstracts, was exhibited too. I wrote 7 new poems for this collaboration, and you can click here to read more about that experience.



I compiled a 3rd Anthology, dedicated to Mental Health Awareness poems, for World Mental Health Awareness Day, and submissions for this remain open for the rest of my Laureateship. Details can be found on my blog.

I also performed at the SpeakEasy Special for Mental Health Awareness & Wellbeing event.

Halloween was covered both by the creation of a Poetry Film of your poems and, as a one off, some flash fiction was published alongside poetry on the blog. I also devised a children’s workshop for LITtleFest over at St. John’s Library as part of the WLF Halloween Event on 28th October.

I spent the majority of October working with Hanbury Hall Poets. We wrote ekphrastic writing based on artwork by Droitwich Arts Network. 15 poets visited the Long Gallery over 3 weeks and wrote poems, and over 3000 visitors attended the exhibition.

hanbury hall LG malcolm ross

Polly Stretton won a competition to read at the closing event on 30th October. She and I went and read to the artists, shared their lunch and generally did lots of networking! I met one of my artists, Stephen Evans, and my poem will appear in his next exhibition in December.

A reading of our poems was planned for 14th November at Parks Cafe, Droitwich.


I was a Guest Speaker for Worcester University Creative Writing Society and a week later at the U3A Worcester group.

Rosie Philpott and I collaborated on collecting images of the artwork from DAN for the reading that was scheduled for this month. Rosie created a show of all the Artwork which was displayed as 9 Hanbury Hall poets gathered to read their work. The readers included a first time reader and poets from Gloucestershire. It was a great success and a fantastic example of cross-arts work. It also marked my final event as WPL for 2017; you can click here for more information about this event.

I also worked on a new commission. Peter Sutton asked me to take part in his Elgar Poetry Event (you can find more details of this event just here). I wrote 14 new poems about Elgar and Worcestershire. The event was held at the Elgar School of Music, Worcester; other readers at this event were Lesley Ingram and Michael W. Thomas. Peter cleverly tied our work together in a performance that flowed beautifully and included poetry from Elgar’s contemporaries as well as some facts and memories. It was a superb experience!

poster elgar

I compiled my 4th anthology for Remembrance. I received submissions well into triple figures and had to make lots of hard, editorial decisions. The results are incredibly powerful, though. This collection includes International Poets and you can access it now by clicking here.

I had meeting with the Basement Project, a charity who help young homeless (16-25), for a proposal I offered in July. I have organised 3 community workshops for 2018 between March and April. I am looking forward to this new challenge and promoting the work they do. For more information on what to expect from this work, head over to my blog.

It is amazing how long projects can take in planning stages. I already have several stacked up ready for the New Year!

Other projects and performances include:

September: Performance Birmingham Literature Festival, V. Press

Performance at Free Verse Poetry Book Fair, London V. Press

Worked as WMRN Reader in Residence at Rugby Library (ongoing)

October: V. Formation, Reading at Poetry Swindon Festival V. Press

INKSPILL Online Writing Retreat

November: Verve Poetry & Spoken Word Festival Launch

Adam Speaks, Croome Court.

To find out more about what I have been up to please visit my personal blog, available here.


Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe invites YOU to the launch of this year’s Young Writer Anthology!

YW Launch 17

Hardly a week goes by without something exciting happening here at Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe, and this weekend we’re delighted to be launching this year’s Young Writer Anthology, published by Worcester’s own Black Pear Press.

The event will take place this weekend (November 19th) at Titania, Security House, in Worcester. Doors will open at 3:30pm for a 4:00pm start, and the event itself will be made up of readings from the anthology. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear a new wave of writing voices, picked from our very own county – AND you can grab yourselves a copy of the anthology while you’re there.

Excellent readings, light refreshments, and an afternoon of stellar entertainment to break up a gloomy November weekend; this is definitely one for the calendar!

For further information about the launch, or any other LitFest and Fringe events, please email Charley at:

Remembrance Anthology goes LIVE today!


Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis, recently put out an open call for your Remembrance poems, with the intention of publishing an online anthology of the successful submissions. Now, in a record turnaround time, the lucky pieces have been picked by our own lady Laureate and they are now available to view online here:

The submissions flooded in from all around the world and Nina has done her absolute best to read through them and judge them fairly, resulting in a stellar collection of work. Do have a read, and share if you can, to help us celebrate this special occasion in the historical calendar.

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe invites you to the Flash Fiction Anthology Launch 2017!


The Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe team would like to officially invite you – yes, you, you lovely thing – to the launch of this year’s Flash Fiction Anthology, titled Wired. The anthology follows our annual Flash Fiction competition and so you can rest assured that it is PACKED with some of the best flash authors in Worcestershire – AND it will be on sale at the launch event itself, so what better time to grab yourself a copy?

The launch will take place on November 12th – just one week away – at Drummonds bar. The doors will open at 3:30pm for a 4:00pm start, with several readings set to take place over the course of the afternoon.

Organised by Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe, sponsored by Andrew Grant, and published by Black Pear Press, the competition and anthology is a labour of love held together by so many individuals. Please do come along to celebrate their efforts, and the efforts of the marvellous writers who have submitted to this publication.

For further information on the launch event itself please contact the Festival Secretary via email:




Worcestershire Poet Laureate plans poetic tribute this Remembrance Day!


Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis, is opening her email inbox once again for another round of poetry submissions. This time our Laureate would like to use poetry as a means to pay tribute to fallen soldiers this Remembrance Day, and that’s where you come in…

Nina is looking for poems of no more than 40 lines in length; you are welcome to submit between 1 and 3 pieces for consideration. Please DO NOT send something that has already been published elsewhere. All poems must be on or around the theme of war, relating to either WWI or WWII. All submissions should be sent in the body of an email to The deadline for this is November 10th, 2017.

Due to the fast turn around of this project, successful submissions will be notified by receiving a link to their published work. Successful submissions will be made available in an online collection, to be published on November 12th.

You can find full details of the collection – including some pictured writing prompts – over on Nina’s blog by clicking here:

Worcestershire Poet Laureate wants YOUR writing this Halloween!

Halloween Prose Poetry

Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis, has put out an open call for all things gruesome and ghoulish this Halloween, and she is asking for your best poetry or prose, written in celebration of this spooky holiday.

The deadline for this open call is October 30th, and Nina will announce the poets chosen in time for your Halloween celebrations!

All submissions should be sent in the body of an email to Please send a maximum of THREE pieces of work in your email; each poem should be NO MORE than 40 lines and each piece of prose NO MORE than 1000 words. All work must be unpublished, too.

For further information on this – and a general catch up with our lovely laureate – you can find Nina’s personal blog here: