Season’s Greetings

On the cusp of a restricted Christmas and a New Year that may well open with another lockdown we would like to share our optimism for delivering an even bigger and better festival than our marvellous 2021 offering in 2022. We would also take this opportunity to thank those who helped us make it happen.

If you enjoyed last year’s festival and would like to be more actively involved please contact us. We will make good use of your talents whatever your area of expertise or interest. For the latest news you can follow us here on the website (link in the footer of every page) or on any/all of our social media accounts. We’ll be adding new ways of supporting the festival and keeping abreast of all the latest goings on early in the New Year. In the meantime, have wonderful holidays all, despite the complexities and restrictions.

Goodbye 2021, Here’s to 2022

Following an amazingly successful series of events for 2021 the festival committee met on Friday evening to officially wind up this year and start planning for 2022. Early days, but with a packed two week programme now under our belts despite the uncertainties arising from Covid and its lockdowns we feel confident that we can deliver an even bigger and better festival next year.

This year has been a major learning curve, but the universally positive feedback we have received has reassured us that we’re very much on the right track. Our aim from the outset was to deliver “poetry for all, big and small” and our community events certainly lived up to that intention. Next year, with fewer restrictions (we hope!) to contend with we’ll be offering many more opportunities for local poets to share their writing, for lovers of poetry to share their enthusiasm, and for those who might think that poetry isn’t their thing to discover that they DO like poetry after all!

As the final word on 2021 we would like to thank again everyone involved in getting the festival off the ground and all those who contributed their time and skills to creating the various events and workshops. A huge thank you too to all who attended those events, whether online or in the real world: we couldn’t have done it without you!

The gallery below features some highlights from this year. We were mostly too busy reading or listening to get our cameras out, so forgive us if your favourite event isn’t featured. Better yet, if you took pictures or video why not send them in and we’ll add them to the website…

That Went Well…

Charlie Bell: “Selfie”

The final event in our 2021 festival took place on Friday evening with festival committee chairman, Charlie Bell, hosting his “Lockdown Selfie” before a sell-out audience. As well as showcasing Charlie’s poetry and his personal reflections on the world events that have thrown all our lives into turmoil over the past eighteen months, the evening included music from The Gastric Band and further readings from guest poet Natalie Thomas. Raising over £500 in ticket sales and donations for McMillan Nurses, “Lockdown Selfie” proved a fitting end to our festival fortnight, which achieved everything we had hoped for and more.

Our goal when organising the festival was to provide a series of events that would offer “poetry for all, big or small”. This goal was certainly accomplished, most notably within our Wordplay Fun Day takeover of the Tunbridge Wells Forum, which catered for children of pre-school and school age at all skill levels with a series of writing workshops and art activities in the garden area. Adults were equally well catered for inside the building, with open mics and panel discussions, and an evening staged event celebrating humorous verse in popular culture throughout the ages. We were also delighted to offer a platform to Arts Without Boundaries, who shared their community poem, “Food”, to a highly entertained and appreciative audience.

It would be foolish to attempt to do justice to all of the events within the festival fortnight in this summary: our headline act, Luke Wright, the workshops and reading events, the open mics… If you found us too late for 2021 take a look at what you missed HERE, and make sure to book your seats early next year, when, Covid and other disasters – natural and unnatural – willing, we’ll be offering an even bigger and better bill of fare.

Finally, thank you to all who contributed to the festival fortnight, and to those who bought tickets, reserved places, or just dropped in on any of the events that took place. See you next year!

A Week On…


A day late, in fact, with a progress report as it’s now Tuesday of week two, but we needed to catch up on our sleep after Sunday’s Fun Day and Pam Slam. An exhausting but exhilarating close to a week of events that leaves us glowing with pride and admiration for all who have contributed.

We will be curating photographs and other memories of the festival to offer a retrospective in the fullness of time, but for now let’s just concentrate on week two and the events still to come.

Tonight, of course, we have the first of our final two staged events, with Steve Walter’s and Roger West’s Remember the Earth… This promises to be something very special, blending poetry and mixed media in real time in one of the loveliest venues our town has to offer. Amazingly there are still a (very) few tickets left available, so if you haven’t yet got yours now is the time to hit the link above.

Our fortnight concludes on Friday with festival chair Charlie Bell’s Selfie: The Lockdown Edition, and if you’ve left it this late for tickets you’ve left it too late, which is why we haven’t included a link! Those of us who have got tickets will bring you all up to speed…

Between Remember the Earth and Selfie there remain several reading and workshop events too, some of which still have a handful of tickets available. Grab them while you still can.

A Cracking Start…

As the heading suggests the festival is now well underway and the first two events have been wonderful successes. Thank you to all who logged in for Arrival at Elsewhere and to those who joined us at Grub & Liquor for our Voices Special Poets in the Pub. Heavens we had fun!

Still plenty to come in this first week, though, with a wide selection of workshops and readings and two major staged events before the weekend is out, the first being our headline performer, Luke Wright, at Saloman’s tomorrow (Thursday 19th) evening and the second our combined Wordplay Fun Day and Pam Slam takeover of Tunbridge Wells Forum on Sunday 22nd.

While the clock is very much ticking there may still be just enough time to sign up for today’s (Wed 18th) Ashdown Forest workshop, readings and open mic Poetry Bathing.

As advised, we have MUCH more to come during the festival this week so please do check our full listing for details.

And then there’s next week, of course, with an equally impressive line up of online and real world workshops, readings and open mic opportunities, as well as two more staged events (more about those in our next blog) to enrich your evenings.