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.

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

Creative Writing Workshop

LitFest Appearances workshop posterA chance to enjoy an informal creative writing workshop with Claire Walker, based on the theme of ‘Appearances.’ Appropriate for all levels of experience.

Tickets £7.50 each

10:30-12:30 Sunday 3 April 2016 at St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX

Refreshments will be provided.

To book a place click on the PayPal button, make your payment, print and bring the receipt along with you, this is your ticket.


Queries? Contact:


Two pieces of news from LitFest.

First, our newest Director is Ruth Inglis. Ruth has been a committee member and has maintained contact with LitFest since its inception. We are delighted to welcome her as a Director. We wish Maggie Doyle, who has moved on to focus on her own writing, all the very best for the future and thank her for her contributions over the past three years.

Ruth Inglis

Our newest recruit is Charlotte ‘Charley’ Barnes.

Charlotte Barnes
Charlotte Barnes

Charley is a Worcestershire based writer and poet who enjoys crime fiction, gender studies, and tea (but struggles to get all of these things into her poetry). She is currently studying towards her PhD in Creative Writing and English Literature and, alongside her own studies, she also teaches a number of Creative Writing workshops around the West Midlands, where she is an active member of the performance poetry scene.

Charley will be helping Ruth with Social Media, PR and press releases. Look out for her Tweets starting at the March SpeakEasy.

Welcome Charley 🙂

Earth Hour 2016

To take part in Earth Hour, ‘all you need to do is switch off your lights for one hour at 8.30pm on Saturday 19 March 2016. How you spend the hour is up to you’ so say WWF-UK. Come along to the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, Transition and the Green Party celebration of Earth Hour, a low impact evening of poetry, music and fun. St John’s Library from 7pm.

LitFest Earth Hour poster 2016

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 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.