Poets performing at this year’s festival include:.
INUA ELLAMS is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer. Born in Nigeria, he has published four books of poetry, Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen, and (in 2017) #Afterhours. His first play, The 14th Tale, was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth, Barber Shop Chronicles, sold out its run at England’s National Theatre. He is currently touring An Evening With An Immigrant and working on The Half God of Rainfall – a new play in verse. He lives in and works from London, where he founded The Midnight Run, a nocturnal urban excursion, and is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories.
“Poetry saved my life,” he says. “It is the cheapest way to be free.” Ellams is living proof of that. – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
ANNE-MARIE FYFE was born in Cushendall, Ireland and now lives in West London. An award-winning poet, creative-writing teacher and former Chair of the Poetry Society, her collections include Late Crossing, Tickets from a Blank Window, The Ghost Twin, Understudies and House of Small Absences (2015). Her poem ‘Curaçao Dusk’ won the Academi Cardiff International Poetry Competition. She has read throughout the world at festivals and events, and on BBC radio and television. Since 1997 she has run Coffee-House Poetry’s readings and classes at London’s leading live literature venue, the Troubadour. She is currently on a unique 18-month teaching/writing/performing tour, The Voyage Out, exploring coastal regions and lives in Britain, Ireland, US & Canada, leading to a new hybrid poetry/prose/travel-writing memoir (due from Seren, Spring 2019).
A writer concerned with the close work of poetry, the tight dance around the lyric moment and the precise stab at capturing details. –Magma
ALYSON HALLETT’s pamphlet Toots was shortlisted for the Michael Marks and Callum MacDonald Memorial Awards. She has collaborated with artists, musicians, composers, sculptors and glass-makers and curates an international poetry as public art project, The Migration Habits of Stones. She has held many residencies, including poet-in-residence at the Charles Causley house, writer-in-residence at the University of the West of England, and a Leverhulme-funded artist-in-residence post in Exeter University’s geography department in Cornwall. As well as two full volumes and several artist’s books of poetry, she has also published short stories, an afternoon play and audio-diary for Radio 4, an essay on chalk for Radio 3. At the festival she will be launching Lzrd, a collaboration with Penelope Shuttle.
I LOVE her – as fresh as anything, the voice just jumps straight out at you. And the poems make me laugh too – Jackie Kay
Gerður Kristný emerged as one of Iceland‘s most interesting poets with her first book, Ísfrétt (1994) and has since published several books of poetry as well as short stories, novels and children‘s books. Awards for her work include the Icelandic Literature Prize and a nomination for the Nordic Council Literary Prize for Blóðhófnir (Bloodhoof), the Icelandic Journalist Award for her biography Myndin af Pabba – Saga Thelmu (The Picture of Dad: Thelma’s Story), the Icelandic Children‘s Book Award for her book Marta Smarta and the Halldor Laxness Literary Award for her novel Bátur með Segli og Allt (A Boat with a Sail and All). Earlier this year, Arc Publication published her long poem, Drápa – A Reykjavík Murder Mystery, in English translation by Rory McTurk.
Kristný succeeds in the singular feat of conveying a set of very threatening and bloody situations in language which is both delicate and meditative.
– Ian Pople
ISAIAH HULL has made an enormous impact on the contemporary performance poetry scene – and he’s still just 20. He’s performed with Kate Tempest, Saul Williams and Lemon Sissay, and on BBC Radio I’s Big Weekend Festival. He was recently commissioned by Brighter Sound to commemorate Manchester soldiers who died in World War One, and by the BBC for Wayne McGregor’s Winged Bull in the Elephant Case. At the 2017 Manchester International Festival he performed at the Imagine Homeland Symposium on the 70th anniversary of the partition of India, and he also starred at the Hull 17 Contains Strong Language. He is currently working on Nosebleeds, a multiversal involving poetry, photography and music. He appears in two musical groups, lupin and hitch and BADD GANG.
Absolutely stunning – five stars and more! – Shirley May
SEAN O’BRIEN is a poet, critic, editor, translator, playwright, broadcaster and novelist. His poetry has won multiple awards, including the T S Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize (three times), and the E M Forster Award. His eighth poetry collection, The Beautiful Librarians, won the 2015 Roehampton Poetry Prize and his ninth, Europa, was published this year, as was his second collection of short stories, Quartier Perdu. His second novel, Once Again Assembled Here, was published in 2016, as was Hammersmith, a chapbook of poetry and photographs. Born in London, Sean grew up in Hull and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Powerful, resonant and thought-provoking… a formidable wordsmith at the very height of his powers. – Sarah Crown, The Guardian
SANDEEP PARMAR has published two critically acclaimed books of poetry: The Marble Orchard and Eidolon, winner of the Ledbury Forte Prize for Best Second Collection. She is also the author of Reading Mina Loy’s Autobiographies: Myth of the Modern Woman, and of scholarly editions for Carcanet Press of The Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees and The Collected Poems of Nancy Cunard. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books, the Financial Times and the Times Literary Supplement. A Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool, Sandeep is also a BBC New Generation Thinker and Co-Director of Liverpool’s Centre for New and International Writing. In 2017, she founded the Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics Scheme for BAME reviewers and the Citizens of Everywhere project, which focuses on broadening ideas of citizenship and belonging.
One of the most exciting emerging voices in British poetry.
– Dominic Smith
PENELOPE SHUTTLE has lived in Cornwall since 1970 and is the widow of Peter Redgrove, Falmouth Poetry Group’s founder. She is now its President. Her recent work includes Four Portions of Everything on the Menu for M’sieur Monet (Indigo Dreams, 2016) and her eleventh collection, Will You Walk a Little Faster? (Bloodaxe, 2017). She has read at many major festivals and her 2005 collection, Redgrove’s Wife, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize and the T S Eliot Award. At the festival, she will be launching Lzrd, her new collaboration with Alyson Hallett.
Shuttle relates complex emotions with a light earnestness, humour, and electric imagination. – Ben Wilkinson, The Guardian
ANDREW LANYON was born and still lives in Cornwall. An artist, filmmaker, author and creator of extraordinary books, his work is in private and public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His limited-edition artist’s books include the Rowley series, as well as larger-run publications such as A Fairy Find (Portobello Books) and Circular Walks Around Rowley Hall (Atlas Press), both 2006. He has written and produced numerous films, including Splatt dhe Wertha (Plot for Sale), which won the Golden Torc award at the 18th Celtic Film Festival in 1997. His solo show of installations, paintings and writings with an accompanying book, Von Ribbentrop in St Ives, Art and War in the Last Resort, opened at Kestle Barton in Cornwall in 2010 and went on to Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge in 2011.
An entirely new kind of literary medium, as much visual as verbal, and each sparks off the other continuously in quite the most delicious manner. – Lionel Miskin
CAHAL DALLAT’s poetry has been widely published and his many awards include the Keats-Shelley Prize and the Strokestown International Prize. His latest collection is The Year of Not Dancing (Blackstaff Press). He writes regularly for journals including the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian, and is a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s weekly arts magazine, Saturday Review. He plays bandoneon, musette-accordion, flute, mando-fiddle, piano, clarinet, soprano-sax and more, and is the resident musician at Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour, London. He was the Causley 100 musician and poet-in-residence at Charles Causley’s house in Launceston in 2017.
Cahal Dallat is that rarest of things, a genuine renaissance man. – Peter Geoghegan
DAVID DEVANNY’s poetry has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies. His pamphlet wasps on the way (Mews Press, 2012) was awarded the Ictus Prize. He co-runs the New Fire Tree Press, which produces hand-bound limited edition volumes including single-author pamphlets for both debut and established poets, community anthologies, and hosts an e-library that publishes experimental poetries and collaborative web-design literature projects. David is developing Coastline, a collaborative multi-media poetry app focusing on the Cornish coast. He also teaches in the School of Writing and Journalism at Falmouth University and in 2018 was Charles Causley Trust writer-in-residence.
SALLY CRABTREE, aka the Poetrie Postie, has delighted and inspired audiences of all ages all over the world, from the United Nation’s Palais des Nations and the V&A to the Glastonbury and Womad music festivals. She has worked with the British Council, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Apples and Snakes, and numerous other local and national museums, galleries and festivals in the UK. As a children’s author/book designer and creative literacy expert she has been invited via Authors Abroad to schools as far afield as China, the Middle East and Borneo.
One of Britain’s richest inventions – Lars Gustafsson