Top names for Ripon Poetry Festival 2018

Coming to Ripon - Ian MacMillan, one of the expected highlights of Ripon Poetry Festival 2018.
Coming to Ripon - Ian MacMillan, one of the expected highlights of Ripon Poetry Festival 2018.

An exciting arts festival which put Ripon on the national map last year is returning in 2018 with another impressive line-up - and a famous author is coming to play music!

Held last October, the inaugural Ripon Poetry Festival saw poetry readings in cafes in the town centre, a visit by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, poster-poems in shop windows and a ‘crowd-poem’ collected by pupils from Ripon Grammar School.

Organised by Ripon poets Andy Croft, David McAndrew and Paul Mills, such was its success, despite being run by volunteers on a shoestring, the second Ripon Poetry Festival will now be held over four days in the city from October 11-14.

The event’s rising reputation befits a city where the likes of Wilfred Owen, Lewis Carroll and Daniel Defoe all found inspiration for their writings.

Chief organiser Andy Croft, who runs his own publishing company Smokestack Books, is particularly pleased that the second annual Ripon Poetry Festival will see the return of the popular poetry competition.

Open to local writers of all ages, the winners will share hundreds of pounds worth of books in prizes and be collected in a new book.

The deadline for entries is July 31 and they must be sent in physical form to the festival office at 21 Wellingston Street, Ripon HG4 1PH.

Although poems can be on any theme, organisers are looking, in particular, for poems about ‘Peace and War’ to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The entries will be judged by Ripon poets Elizabeth Spearman, David McAndrew and Paul Mills.

The return of the festival’s poetry competition is a sign of organisers’ commitment to supporting local talent and supporting Ripon as a city, though October’s events are not short of big names from the world of literature.

Highlights of the 2018 festival programme will also include readings by Ian McMillan, Kate Fox, Kate Wakeling, Julie Egdell, Jane Routh and Ian Scott Massie.

Other events planned include poetry workshops for children at the Workhouse, Courthouse and Police museums, book-launches, pop-up readings and a poetry performance in the Leper Chapel.

As a pre-festival treat, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin author Louis de Bernieres will be reading from his own poetry and playing music in Ripon on September 13.