Competition: Truth and Confession – OPEN!

And the Truths and Confessions competition is OPEN!

A few reminders:

  • Entries for the competition are £2 per poem
  • There is no limit on how many entries any one poet submits
  • Poems should not be longer than 40 lines in length
  • ALL entries will be anonymised before being shared with anyone
  • The competition will close on September 2nd, at midnight
  • Competition results will be announced in the week of September 16th
  • ALL proceeds from the competition will go towards printing a pamphlet of longlisted poems
  • The big finale of this event will take place in celebration of National Poetry Day, the day after, on October 4th at The Hive

ALL entries must be emailed to!

ALL entries must be paid for by using the following our PayPal link:

Competition: Truth and Confession

Roll up, roll up! It’s time for a competition.

The theme for National Poetry Day (October 3rd) is Truth. In a radical interpretation of theme, Charley Barnes, Worcestershire Poet Laureate, is launching a competition on the theme of Truth and Confessions.

This is a competition for all of the home truths, the harsh realities, and the things you won’t own up to – but with a twist.

Every single entry of this competition is to be anonymised. Charley acknowledges that people will be emailing their submissions, so things won’t be completely anonymous. That said, Charley will never part with the names of the poets and she will be judging this competition alone, so identities won’t be shared beyond the initial submission email.

So, here’s how to get involved:

  1. Get your home truths and confessions at the ready
  2. Ping them over to our competition email (which we’ll reveal later this week)
  3. Await the results

There a few aims for this competition overall. Firstly, entries for the competition will be £2 per poem but there’s no limit on how many poems any one person can submit. The reason that entries are £2 is because at the end of this experience, Charley would like to publish the longlisted poems as a small pamphlet, titled Anon. This will be a collection of the finest poems from the competition round-up and, even when they hit the printing press, we still won’t give your names away!

How does this tie in to National Poetry Day? Well, on the day itself Charley will arrange for an exhibition of longlisted poems to be displayed at The Hive, Worcester. There will also be readings of the poems taking place too. When longlisted poets are notified of their achievement, they will be invited along to read at the blessed event – providing they don’t mind their identities being shared. If, however, people would like to remain anonymous, then we can arrange for someone to read your poem on your behalf.

We’ve got a little bit of everything covered with this one!

The timeline for these events are:

  • August 2nd, competition opens
  • Midnight on September 2nd, competition closes
  • During the week of September 16th, longlisted poets will be notified
  • October 3rd, we celebrate!

So standby for the official competition launch on August 2nd (just a few days to wait).

Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe welcomes a new Director!

16 PHOTO CREDIT Rhys Jones

At Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe we are always keen to recognise talent and to give credit where it is deserved.  After a stellar year as Worcestershire Poet Laureate, including projects that stretched all the way to the US, we are delighted to announce that Nina Lewis will now be joining the LitFest team in a more official capacity — as our new Director!

Nina will be joining the team, effective immediately, and she’s bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm to this role by the bucket-load, so stay tuned for some exciting developments in the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime though, if you could join us all in giving Nina a very warm welcome aboard then we’d be very grateful. We can’t wait to see what she’s got planned!


The Great NHS Sell Off – A Worcester LitFest Special!

The great NHS $ELL OFF film poster

On July 14th, as a one-off special event, Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe will be setting up camp at The Hive, Worcester City Centre, for an evening dedicated to talk of our great NHS healthcare system.

The evening will consist of talks from those in the know, detailing how the healthcare system has worked to date while also discussing some of the challenges it is likely to face off in the future.

If you’d like further information about the event itself then LitFest and Fringe Director Martin Driscoll will be only too happy to answer any queries that you may have, just drop him an email at

If you’d like to purchase a ticket for the evening they are £5 (£3 for concessions which include NHS staff, students, and the unwaged) and they can be purchased via PayPal or on the door of the event on the night itself.

Ticket x1: btn_buynowCC_LG

We hope to see many of you in attendance for this informative and worthwhile event!

Please note: At this time we are only able to make the standard £5 ticket available via PayPal. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. To make arrangements for concession tickets please email either or Thank you.


The morning after the finale before – From LitFest with Love


What a festival week it’s been! We started off with our launch on Sunday, June 10th, where one Worcestershire Poet Laureate was thanked and praised, and another Worcestershire Poet Laureate was crowned and welcomed. Nina Lewis has been a credit to this county’s literary scene and we are, as an entire team, delighted to have worked with her over the last twelve months. However, we are equally delighted to be welcoming Betti Moretti into the laureate role, and we cannot wait to see what her twelve months in the post will bring.

From the launch we moved through Worcester Writers’ Circle’s annual showcase, Suz Winspear’s Night at the Museum, and then we cruised into the firm favourites of 42, SpeakEasy, and the festival quiz, bringing everything to a head on Saturday, June 16th, with our double whammy slam (another congratulations to Kevin Brooke and Io Osborn who bagged the flash fiction slam champ and poetry slam champ titles respectively).

Now it’s all over and we can, as a team, breathe a sigh of relief, it seems only right that we extend our love and gratitude to the unofficial committee members of LitFest – which is, of course, the audience members who turn up to event after event, year after year, to support us.

You were there so you know exactly how our 2018 festival went down, and we just want to take a moment to thank you for it. Thanks to every judge, every performer, everyone who has emailed, telephoned, rallied around and supported in one way or another. It has been an absolute blast and you will never know just how sincere we’re being when we say that we really couldn’t have done it without you all.

We’ll all go into hiding for a bit now to recover – until the July SpeakEasy, that is – but know that we are both knackered and exceptionally grateful, and we think you’re all flippin’ lovely! We’ll be back with a bang next year —

From LitFest, with love xxx

A poetry performing platform – by Daniel Burton

Poetry has the potential to move audiences to tears, make people laugh, and tackle some of the most difficult topics in our world. Every poet, whether they’ve been honoured as a Poet Laureate or whether they simply enjoy it as a hobby, has a voice. And that voice should be heard.

At Litfest, we love hearing passionate poets delivering their work and wowing expectant audiences. Poetry is what gets us going, and it’s always a great feeling helping aspiring poets along their journey.

 It’s always been our mission to make poetry and prose accessible for everyone. We’ve seen poets perform sets about everything from mental health through to environmental awareness and everything in between.

“How do you give these poets a platform?” we hear you ask. Through our festival and fringe events!

Each year, our festival committee bring together a week-long extravaganza of open-mic nights and slams which are open to anyone who has something to share. Throughout the last eight years, we’ve seen an amazing mix of poets with a range of abilities and each time, it’s been a pleasure to see them grow and develop.

It’s not unusual for us to see performers reappearing at our fringe events, like our SpeakEasy open mic night for example, after the festival draws to a close. And we’re always delighted to welcome them back time and again!

Connecting poets and the public is a key part of what it means to be the Worcestershire Poet Laureate. We crown a new Laureate each year, and each time they’ve left a lasting impression.

This year’s Laureate, Nina Lewis, took poetry to a global scale. One of her many projects, A Tale of Two Cities, brought together poets from here in Worcester, UK, with poets from Worcester, Massachusetts. And what an amazing collaboration! The UK poets were paired up with a poet from the USA. One would send a poem to the other and the other wrote a response based on that poem and so on, until each pair had four poems in total. Nina then set about bringing them all together in one collection which was released in a special edition of Nina’ own Contour magazine, which she launched as part of her laureateship.

A Tale of Two Cities was a fascinating eye-opener on both sides of the Atlantic. It showed just what is possible through collaboration and the power of poetry – bringing together whole countries and cultures!

But it’s not just through our events that we have given poets a platform to perform and develop their work; it’s through our people, too. Everyone involved in LitFest, from the committee teams to the poets who compete in our slams, has poetry in their hearts and are always happy to give advice to aspiring poets.

So for a taste of the platform we give to poetry and prose writer extraordinaires, come along to our festival events taking place from the 10th to the 16th of June (the full programme of events is available here) to see what Worcester LitFest and Fringe is bringing to this brilliant city.

From Leicester to Worcester, and back to poetry!

Moving to a new city is a huge step in anyone’s life. For Dan Burton, one of our LitFest and Fringe committee members, a move from Leicester to Worcester has opened the door to all sorts of opportunities for him.

With the launch of our eighth festival on the horizon, Dan shares how visiting Litfest for the first time last year helped him to rediscover his poetic spark.

Why Worcester?

 I was asked that question a lot when I first moved. And the simple answer is I love the city! It’s always nice to walk down the river or take a seat on the bank and relax for an hour. Plus the whole place just felt right for me; as though this was where I was meant to be.

A year on and I still feel the same. If anything, I’m even more certain that Worcester is the place for me to grow and develop in all areas of my life, especially with my writing.

A first taste of a literary festival

I came across LitFest last year by searching for literary festivals nearby. Before moving to Worcester, I’d always wanted to go to one but for one reason or another, I’d never had the chance. So when I saw LitFest, I was like, ‘I have to go to this!’

The launch that year (2017) was amazing. I loved the quality of the potential Worcestershire Poet Laureates and the night really got me thinking about taking up poetry again. I’d written a few poems at university but I’d lacked the confidence to do anything with them or take them further so I focused instead on my novel writing, which I felt was more natural for me.

I remember driving home that night replaying the performances in my head and thinking that maybe it was time to try getting back into poetry. That thought only got stronger as I went to the events throughout the week. By the end of the festival, I knew for definite that I wanted to get back into poetry again.

Taking to the open mic stage for the first time

During the end of festival slams, I remember watching the performers (or contestants if you prefer!) and becoming curious about giving performance poetry a shot. So during the next couple of months, I wrote a few poems and put myself forward for the September SpeakEasy open mic night.

And what a night! Genuinely, I could not stop smiling from start to finish. Of course, with it being my first performance, I was terrified but the audience was so supportive.

Since then, I’ve been writing and performing my poetry on a regular basis, and I still think back to how and when it all started; by coming to LitFest and learning from some amazing poets. It really is a great platform for anyone looking to get into poetry or even if they’ve been writing for a few years.

What does this year’s LitFest have in store?

I’m proud and delighted to be on the committee for LitFest 2018. We’ll be revealing the new Worcestershire Poet Laureate – who will have some big shoes to fill! – and there are plenty of events taking place all across the city to enjoy.

We’ve got the famous Night at the Museum (Tuesday, June 12th) hosted by the amazing Suz Winspear and if prose is your thing, then the Worcester Writer’s Circle will be taking over St. Swithun’s Institute in the City Centre as well (Monday, June 11th).

This year’s line-up of events really does have something for everyone and the end of festival slams are always great to get involved in. So if you’re looking to see the writing wonders Worcester has to offer, then be sure to check out the full programme!