The Winchester Poetry Festival has been rescheduled to October 2021.
The bi-annual festival, which has a reputation for innovative programming and for sponsoring and nurturing new talent, was due to take place from 9 to 11 October. However, in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic, the Festival’s trustees have decided to postpone the event until next autumn.
Stephen Boyce, Chairman of the Trustees, said:
While we regret the need for postponement, this decision will ensure we can offer our audiences and participants the highest quality of live event they have come to expect from the Winchester Poetry Festival.
We will continue to plan for next year’s event, which includes involvement of a diverse contingent of poets from America. It also gives us the opportunity to develop some valuable new ways of working and broadening our audience.
Our decision has the support of the Arts Council England, our principal funder, and we are grateful to all our partners and sponsors for supporting us.
The Winchester Poetry Prize 2020, which launched in March, will continue as planned. The annual poetry competition celebrates the best in new writing for the year and is being judged by Andrew McMillan. The closing date remains 31 July and the Winchester Poetry Festival aims to hold a prize-giving event in October, which will feature all the commended poets and will be streamed online.
Following consultation with schools and other partners, part of the Festival’s education and community programme will be moved online in the autumn and the remaining activities are being deferred until early 2021.
The Festival is also regularly updating its website with new poetry videos and podcasts, the most recent of which is poet Rebecca Goss reading her 2020 commission ‘Crossing’.
Stephen Boyce added:
The Coronavirus has affected everyone in some way, but poetry has the ability to help support, guide and heal. We will continue to develop our plans for the Festival to ensure that it is the best event yet. We are extremely grateful for the support of all our funders, sponsors, donors and friends and look forward to seeing our Festival attendees next year.
Photo: Poetry Fest 2018 – Credit Gilbert Yates Photography