New Secretary

We are delighted to announce that Charley Barnes has taken on the role of Secretary for LitFest. Charley brings her many and various talents to bear on programming, and the website, as well as the more traditional aspects of secretarial duties.

Polly Stretton, who has been our secretary for the past four years, will focus on the LitFest competition co-ordinator role in addition to being one of the directors of LitFest.

We wish both Charley and Polly good luck in these essential areas.

LitFest Slam Champions

We’re pleased to announce the two new Slam Champions, Charley Barnes, Poetry Slam Champ, and Alan Durham, Flash Fiction Champ. Well done and congratulations to both and thank you to all who took part, we had an excellent end of fest party. Good news also for all of the Big Fat Raffle winners, a huge selection of prizes donated by businesses around Worcester – many thanks to them for their support of LitFest.

Charley Barnes with her Poetry Slam trophy and Alan Durham delivering his final Flash Fiction. Our two slam winners for 2016.

Rubber Sword Won By Kieran Davis!

This prestigious literary prize was forged by the dwarves of Poundsaver and presented to the funniest performer at Rubber Swordplay: Kieran Davis, better known as baldypoems

The event was hosted to much hilarity by local charlatan Tony Judge.

Congratulations Kieran.

Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016/2017

Excellent news!

Suz Winspear - Worcestershire Poet Laureate 1026-2017
Suz Winspear reads her winning poem for the Worcestershire Poet Laureate competition

Following a close fought battle, our congratulations go to Suz Winspear, the new Worcestershire Poet Laureate. Further, it was announced on Saturday that Suz is also the Poet In Residence for the Museum of Royal Worcester, and, as if that were not enough, Suz took the runner up slot in the LitFest Flash Fiction competition!

Suz Winspear with Caroline Engevi - Poet in Residence
Caroline Engevi with Suz Winspear, the newly appointed Poet In Residence at The Museum of Royal Worcester

Flash Fiction Winners

…and our fab LitFest Flash Fiction winners are:

Flash Fiction Results 2016

FIRST:    Susan Howe – A Sleeping Partner
SECOND: Suz Winspear – A Day In The New Paradise
THIRD:     Santino Prinzi – Corrections

Congratulations to all three of you and commiserations to all the other entrants, we had some amazing work sent in, a shame there can be only three prizes.

We’ll be announcing the launch date for the anthology soon.

Finalists Announced

The three finalists for the LitFest Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016 competition are, in no particular order:

Charley Barnes
Peter Sutton
Suz Winspear

Be there to hear them perform their poems and for one of them to become Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016, Friday 10th June, 7:00pm for a 7:30pm start at The Racecourse, Worcester. See the programme and get tickets here.

You can see the three poems below. Can you match the poem to the poet?

Poll now closed.

Vote For Your Favourite

Poll now closed.

Be at the Launch of the Worcestershire Literary Festival 2016 to see the finalists go head to head.

The three finalists for the LitFest Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016 competition are, in no particular order:

Charley Barnes
Peter Sutton
Suz Winspear

Be there Friday 10th June, 7:00pm for a 7:30pm start at The Racecourse, Worcester.

You can see the three poems below. Can you match the poem to the poet?

The judges make the final decisions at the competition during the Launch of the LitFest at The Racecourse, Worcester, starting at 7pm Friday 10 June 2016.

No correspondence will be entered into.

In no particular order, the anonymised numbered poems appear below. Read them all carefully…you have one vote only.

161. Everyday Anniversary

You realise it’s twenty-five years to the day?
I do.
Since the Malvern Hills Classic, the first,
the bicycle race, when we walked to the Wyche
and back to the café in Church Street for tea and a bun.

And it’s fifty today since we won the World Cup.
The Bluebell – I think that’s the pub where we went –
they shouted so loud that they must have been heard in Berlin.

And it’s seventy-five since they bombed your mum’s house.
We once saw a picture by Dame Something Knight
of ruins and Nazis on trial in an oddly shaped room.

And a hundred since Grandad was killed on the Somme.
One year we went looking but didn’t know where,
and all we could find was his name on a white limestone wall.

And a hundred and fifty since Thingy was born,
the Abbess at Stanbrook, the great friend of Shaw –
Laurentia, that’s it. We discovered her ten years before.

And two hundred years since the first Elmley died.
I jotted it down, when you had your bad fall
at Madresfield Court that last time, and they brought you a chair.

And it’s three hundred years since Whatsisname Brown.
We learnt who he was when we visited Croome,
remember? We bought a geranium that suffered from blight.

It’s four hundred years since Will Shakespeare’s demise.
They said that to marry in Lent was a sin;
he had to go crawling to Worcester to beg for consent.

And eight hundred years since King John upped and died.
They showed us him too, in two thousand and one;
one grave for the poor, we decided, and one for the rich.

I’m glad that my memory’s still active and clear;
I like to remember the visits we’ve made every year.
It will be a shame if we ever forget.

We won’t. You reminded me yesterday too, and I’ll bet
you’ll tell me the same thing tomorrow, my dear.

Don’t talk nonsense! It’s twenty-five years, did I say?

162. Anniversary

Each year as it passes
freezes faces into photographs;
the memories of views through lost windows
becoming a little less exact each time
till the only thing remembered is the memory itself.

Once again, the eleventh day of March comes round.
Five years since the earthquake, the tsunami,
those long uncertain online hours
waiting for friends to post a tweet,
update a status, send a word to reassure.
Afterwards came the photographs, that perpetual question
“Has anybody seen . . . ?” asked over and again,
answered only in silence, five years’ silence now,
as a blog is left with no new entries
and a demo-song on Soundcloud waits unfinished,
digital ghosts abandoned in the web
on the day time stopped – the date is held precise
though recollection now begins to grow a little vague.

Yet, other things I should commemorate
have no anniversary, no specific date,
things too subtle for a line in the diary –
the meeting of a stranger who becomes
a little closer over time
until a friendship grows, or maybe love.
No tagging in the calendar for that.
The time when routine crosses into boredom,
the time a situation might be saved,
are known quite imprecisely,
and that day I stood on the Malvern Hills
with the wind unstyling my hair,
watching the breeze-tossed birds
blown like paper scraps across the sky –
below stretched out the town, the fields,
a thousand lives continuing down there –
no anniversary for that day
only the moment and the lasting memory

163. Forget Me Not

We set the table with three place settings, pausing before
the space where the fourth would be. My sister brings out
cutlery enough for four people and takes a knife and fork
back into the kitchen, saying something about old habits.
Dinner is cooked, ready, holding steady in its various pots
and pans waiting for the demands of the hungry to arise;
as it has been for the past fourteen hours. We know
from experience how disinterested we’ll be in cooking,
eating, breathing for a while when we come home.
When we leave, we pause for a two-second breather
of mourning air before we set out to see you; stopping
on the way to source flowers appropriate for the occasion,
if such a thing exists. As a collective we decide on roses;
a flower of winter endurance, white to mark innocence
and as we tread the path to see you we ignore the thorns.
We find your plot in amongst headstones that relatives
have long forgotten; it seems that winter has been unkind
to your neighbours. We sweep away three-week-old
debris to see the epigraph underneath: Born: December,
Nineteen-Ninety-One, Died, January, Nineteen-Ninety-Three.
We didn’t celebrate your first girlfriend, good grade, bad grade;
your first car, your first crash, the first big mistake you made.
From a young age you were needed elsewhere, and those of us
left behind now find our anniversaries for you where we can.