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.
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!