Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016

The search is ON for Worcestershire’s SIXTH Poet Laureate – could it be you? Enter today! Closing date Friday 25th March 2016.

Fancy a chance at becoming Worcestershire Poet Laureate? The competition to find the Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016 is NOW OPEN!

If you are a poet or budding poet this could be a great opportunity for you to showcase your work and promote poetry as an art form across the County. The remit of the Worcestershire Poet Laureate is as follows, but is not limited to:

  • To act as an ambassador for poetry for the County of Worcestershire and to promote poetry as an acceptable art form and form of writing.
  • To write poems throughout the year as The Poet Laureate for occasions such as, but not limited to: “300th Anniversary of Capability Brown’s birth”, “400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death”, “50 years since England won the World Cup”, “20th Anniversary of Dolly the Sheep clone” and more.
  • To make personal appearances as The Poet Laureate at key events throughout the County during the year of tenure as The Worcestershire Poet Laureate and to perform live at events as requested. It is The Poet Laureate’s responsibility to arrange his/her own events and inform the directors of any proposed event. Proposals are taken to committee. Travel expenses will be paid for journeys to official engagements once agreed with the directors. The rate is 40p per mile. Where invitations are received, schools and other venues will normally pay a fee and/or expenses as negotiated with and by the Poet Laureate. All Poet Laureate invitations will be discussed with committee.
  • To write a bi-monthly blog to appear on the worcslitfest.co.uk website
  • To prepare a collection of poems for publication. Publication of the collection is paid for by LitFest.
  • To promote the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe during the tenure as Poet Laureate.
  • To organise an event for National Poetry Day – Thursday 6 October 2016 – theme: ‘Messages’.
  • To respond to enquiries as The Poet Laureate in a timely and proactive manner.
  • To promote poetry within schools and organisations.
  • To undertake press, media, radio and TV interviews as and when appropriate.
  • To be present and willing to perform their winning poem at the launch event next year, Friday 9th June 2017.
  • To work closely with the LitFest organisers and directors and to maximise PR and Promotional opportunities as far as possible. Opportunities to collaborate with The Worcestershire Poet Laureate Emeritus and The Young Poet Laureate may also arise.
  • To maintain contact via email/phone with all three directors

How To Enter

To enter the Worcestershire Poet Laureate competition, please send us two poems, one on the theme of ‘Anniversary’ and one original poem of your choice. Entries should be in Word or as an .rtf, single line spaced and no more than 40 lines in length not including the title line. Poems should be on separate pages. Your name must not appear on either of the poems.

If you are short-listed, you will be invited to attend a shortlisting interview Thursday 12 May 2016. The interview will last approximately ten minutes. In this time you should be prepared to read one of your submitted poems and one published poem by another poet of your choice – both poems should be no more than 40 lines long. This will be followed by an informal chat with at least two of our judges.

The entry fee for the competition is £5.00 and you can pay via PayPal:

btn_buynowCC_LG  Please quote your PayPal transaction number in the body of your email when you submit your poems.

Alternatively you can send a cheque made payable to “Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe” to: Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition, Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, Appletree Cottage, 7 Nursery Road, St John’s, Worcester WR2 4HB.

Entries sent without the entry fee will not be considered.

The closing date for the competition is Friday 25th March 2016.

Interviews will take place between 4pm-6pm Thursday 12 May 2016.

Good luck and we look forward to receiving your entries!

Conditions of Entry

Closing date is Friday 25th March 2016.

One entry only per poet. Do not submit work more than once.

You must be age 20 or over and be resident in the County of Worcestershire to be eligible for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate.

Submitted pieces must be unpublished and the entrant’s own original work. Translations of anyone else’s work are not eligible. Copyright remains with the writer.

Copyright of each entry remains with the author; entries may be published on the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe (WLF&F) website and social media, read at WLF&F events and may be included in an anthology later in the year.

Entries must be in English.

Submit entries as a Word.doc or .rtf attachment in an email to the WLF&F Secretary. The subject line of the e-mail should read: ‘Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2016”.

Please include a Statement of Interest in the body of your email. This should demonstrate why you would like to be considered for the position, what experience you have (if any) in performing and promoting poetry, as well as detailing what you would bring to the position. The statement should ideally be no more than 250 words to include a circa 100 word profile / biography.

You must be available should you be invited to interview Thursday 12 May and, if shortlisted, on the evening of Friday 10th June 2016 for the LitFest Launch event at Worcester Racecourse to perform your poems.

The theme is ‘Anniversary’ and one poem must be submitted on this theme, plus one additional poem of your choice. Poems must be original and unpublished in any format.

All entries will be acknowledged within 48 hours. If you have not heard from us during that time, please contact us. It is your responsibility to confirm your entry has been received.

No alterations can be made after receipt, fees will not be refunded.

The judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence can be entered into. No entrant may win more than one prize.

There are four judges this year, County Arts Officer Steve Wilson, Worcestershire Poet Laureate Heather Wastie, Young Poet Laureate Ellie Courtman, and judge and moderator both a LitFest Director and the Secretary Polly Stretton.

Prize winners will be notified at the Launch event. The results will also be published on the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe website.

Entry implies acceptance of all the rules. Failure to comply with the rules will result in disqualification.

An Evening with Elvis McGonagall at The Hive


Wednesday, September 24th at 7.30pm


World Poetry Slam Champion 2006, UK Slam Champion 2006

UK All-comers’ Poetry Slam Champion 2004

‘funny, angry and tightly written…McGonagall combines anger, polish and carefully crafted verse in a way which recalls John Cooper Clarke’ 4-star The Scotsman

‘verses shot through with a moral umbrage and rhetorical power…a bracing throwback to the days when comedy made room for militant eccentrics with a knack for scansion and a bolshie hankering to change the world’ 4-star The Guardian

‘side-splittingly funny’ The Reading Rant

Stand-up poet, armchair revolutionary and recumbent rocker, Elvis McGonagall is the sole resident of The Graceland Caravan Park where he scribbles verse whilst drinking malt whisky and listening to Johnny Cash. Elvis is the 2006 World Slam Champion, the compere of the notorious Blue Suede Sporran Club and a regular guest of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live. His new R4 series is Elvis McGonagall Takes A Look On The Bright Side.

Elvis has written and performed for BBC’s Saturday Live, The Today Programme, The Culture Show, Arthur Smith’s Balham Bash, Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show, A Good Read, The World Snooker Championships, BBC Radio Scotland’s MacAulay & Co, Random Acts (C4), Café Direct and Greenwich Dance Agency. He was Glastonbury Festival Poet-in-Residence 2007.

‘comic poetry with a stand-up charge, coupled with intelligent leaps of the poetic imagination’ Shortfuse

‘flamboyant, razor-sharp text, intense energy…reminds me of Adrian Mitchell, John Cooper Clarke and Linton Kwesi Johnson, all the right people’ Simon Vinkenoog

 ‘the fire is withering, even if it is delivered with a smile and a twinkle’ Greg Freeman, WriteOutLoud

‘A poet of panache & zip & steely politic & unadulterated tartan’ UK Touring


His poetry collection Mostly Dreich is published by Nasty Little Press.

Tickets are available via PayPal and at Worcestershire LitFest events – £10 each – links below.

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For four tickets:




Brought to you by Worcs LitFest & Fringe at The Hive

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