Hurry! Your unmissable Oxfordshire showcase for poetry: 8th Woodstock Poetry Festival – this weekend!

Friday to Sunday 15 – 17 November 2019

For tickets and information: 01993 812760 or

Festival ticket giving entry to all events – £60. Children & students half price. Tea and cakes are included in the price of all afternoon events.

Friday’s readings are held in St Mary Magdalene Church; Saturday & Sunday readings take place upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall.

The final event is in Woodstock Social Club where drinks are available very reasonably from the bar


7pm Hugo Williams reads from Lines Off, his first collection since 2014, written following transplant surgery – ‘haunting, shining, untidy poems… vivid with emotion and experience’ (Fiona Sampson, Spectator); ‘Williams has a gift for making poetry read as effortlessly as conversation – a huge accomplishment’ (Kate Kellaway, Guardian). £10 (Wine and sandwiches will be served between this and the following reading and a joint ticket for the evening is available at £15)

8.30pm Kei Miller reads from In Nearby Bushes, his highly anticipated new collection that explores his strangest landscape yet – the placeless place. Here is a world in which it is possible both to hide and to heal, a landscape as much marked by magic as it is by murder. His previous collection won the Forward Prize. £10


5.30pm Niall Campbell & Vidyan Ravinthiram, published by Bloodaxe, are shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize. Both collections start from the domestic – Campbell’s Noctuary, a diary for late hours, reflects on fatherhood; The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here began as personal sonnets for Ravinthiran’s wife. £10

7pm Patrick McGuinness & Giorgia Sensi, poetry in translation. Giorgia Sensi has translated many British poets into Italian, including Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Gillian Clarke and Kathleen Jamie. She and Patrick McGuinness discuss Déjà-vu, her parallel-text edition of his poems. £8

8.30pm Julia Copus & Jane Clarke. In Girlhood (‘this phenomenal collection’, Kate Kellaway, Observer) Julia Copus exposes the shifting power balance between things on the verge of becoming and the forces that threaten to destroy them. Jane Clarke’s second collection with Bloodaxe, When the Tree Falls, bears witness to the rhythms of birth and death, celebration and mourning, endurance and regrowth. £10


2pm Laureate’s Choice – Faith Lawrence, followed by Open mic. A chance to hear one of the poets selected by Carol Ann Duffy read from her new pamphlet Sleeping Through. Faith is a producer on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. Open mic is introduced by Jenny Lewis of The Poet’s House, Oxford. This popular platform for local and unpublished poets is open to all but should be booked in advance. The format is informal and supportive – we welcome first-time readers. Please email the bookshop if you would like to read. £6

4.30pm Hannah Sullivan & Mary Jean Chan. Mary Jean Chan’s first collection Flèche has just been published by Faber: ‘Sparkling and vulnerable… the arrival of an essential new voice’ – Sarah Howe. Hannah Sullivan was the winner of last year’s T.S. Eliot Prize for Three Poems, her first collection: ‘ A magnificent debut…challenging the parameters of what poetry can do’ – Sinead Morrissey. £10

6.30pm Raymond Antrobus reads from The Perseverance, winner of the Ted Hughes award and the Rathbones Folio prize, shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize: ‘…an insightful, frank and intimate rumination on language, identity, heritage, loss and the art of communication. Ranging from tender elegies about his father to frank interrogations of deafness, Antrobus highlights the persistence of memory and our need to connect’ – Malika Booker. £10

8.30pm Legendary folk singer and songwriter Peggy Seeger joins poets Bernard O’Donoghue & Tom Paulin with Judith & Nick Hooper (fiddle and guitar) for the welcome return of our final session – an evening of music and poetry. Both poets have published many poetry collections with Faber. Tom Paulin is also well known for his appearances on BBC’s Newsnight Review, and his readings of the poetry of W.B. Yeats; Bernard O’Donoghue is currently translating Piers Plowman. This event is held in Woodstock Social Club. £10

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