The Southwell Library Poetry festival is now in its eighth year and once again we have an eclectic, lively mix of poetry to enjoy.

Opening the festival is the witty and offbeat John Hegley, John is a performance poet, comedian, musician and songwriter. John has been described as the Spike Milligan for our time and is a consistent favourite at the Edinburgh Festival. With over a dozen bestselling books under his belt, he is not to be missed.

The Saturday night is taken over by the irrepressible Little Machine. Poems, classic and obscure, are given a new voice in songs crafted by this South London band. Acoustic instruments, strong melodies and watertight harmonies create songs that draw on a thousand years of poetry.

After the success of his workshop last year we have invited Bert Flitcroft to be our first Poet in Residence for the weekend. Throughout the Saturday and Sunday Bert will be on hand to write mini commissions and to give advice on writing your own poetry.

On Saturday, the ever popular workshops include: Nottingham Poet Joy James who writes on the social history of Nottinghamshire; our own Gill Starkey on twentieth century poets and Jacqueline Gabbitas exploring The Poetry of Independence, as America celebrates Independence Day Jacqueline will take you on a journey through American Poetry.
Another first for Saturday afternoon is a showing of a film, Much Ado About Nothing with a discussion to follow with Alison Hirst.

For children on Saturday morning, 10am to 12 noon, we have Dr Seuss on the Loose, fun and word games with The Cat in the Hat. This is a free event.

On Sunday we have three more workshops including our very own Not Scary Poetry Group, why not come along and bring your favourite poem with you! Dierdre O'Byrne explores poetry in small communities, followed by the 'Worth A Thousand Words' workshop, where Derbyshire Poet Laureate, Cathy Grindrod shows how pictures and photographs can be an amazing inspiration for poetry nd will help you write your own poems. No experience required!

Sunday afternoon is Dessert Island Poetry (not a spelling mistake) Sheelagh Gallagher tells us about her favourite poems and why they mean so much to her, then tuck into some favourite homemade puddings and cakes with a cuppa.

The festival closes with a performance by Southwell Theatre Group of an adaptation of Old Possum's Book of Practical cats.

The festival is on from 3rd July – 5th July for further details contact 01636 812148.

Nicola Ellis