Ledbury Poetry Festival 30th June-9th July 2017

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Ledbury is the prettiest market town in Herefordshire. The Ledbury Poetry Festival is held at The Master’s House, St Katherine’s, Bye Street. En route you will see the streets’s distinct black and white timber architecture and lot’s of indie shops and hidden cafes serving local produce leaving you with a cosy feeling inside. So quaint and so convenient to roam in between events.

Upon arriving in Ledbury you’ll notice the Black and White Market Hall adjacent to it the bus service that runs to and from the town and as you cross the street you’ll see signs for The Masters House. Notably, the Market hall was built in 1653 by the King’s Carpenter John Abel. Markets are still held every Tuesdays and Saturdays.



Some Festival Highlights


Sean Hughes by Debra Hurford Brown

Friday 30th June
Sean Hughes Poetry and Stand-up
9pm–10pm | Community Hall (bar available) £9  

You’ll recognize Sean from the BBC’s hit quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He will be at the festival to read from his collection “My Struggle to be decent.”


Sara-Jane Arbury at the Think Slam

Thursday 6th July 2017
The Cause: The Struggle Goes On

7pm-8pm | The Burgage Hall | £9

Historian Jan Long will be giving a talk on The Cause which was a Feminist movement in the Victorians times. Sara Jane Arbury will be reading suffragette poetry and other fascinating pieces.



Saturday 8th July 2017
Stairs & Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back

3.30pm–5pm | Community Hall | £9

The Festival’s brochure explains :

Stairs & Whispers is a major UK anthology of poetry and essays from D/deaf and disabled writers, published by Nine Arches Press. Join writers, disability activists and co-editors of this groundbreaking anthology – Sandra AllandKhairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman – for an afternoon of readings, performances, films, and discussion around disability poetics, D/deaf culture, and poetry as text, performance, recording and translation. At this accessible venue in a BSL-interpreted set, the Stairs and Whispers editors will present poems from the book. They will be joined by several other writers and performers from the anthology, live or via captioned film-poems in BSL and English. Poets include Rachael Boast, Markie Burnhope, Andra Simons, Gary Austin Quinn, Nuala Watt, Bea Webster and Donna Williams.

In a political climate that constantly threatens to marginalise disabled and D/deaf people, Ledbury Poetry Festival hosts this afternoon of poetry and discussion that explores, empowers and represents the realities of disabled and D/deaf poets in their own words.

Sandra Alland’s work includes Blissful Times and Naturally Speaking and Khairani Barokka’s works include Indigenous Species and Rope Daniel Sluman has two books: Absence has a weight of its own and The Terrible.



Saturday 1st July 2017
Bejan Matur and Jen Hadfield

11am–12noon | Burgage Hall | £9

Acclaimed Kurdish poet Bejan Matur presents
a new chapbook of her poems, in English
translation by T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Jen
Hadfield. It will be an electrifying hour of poetry in Kurdish, Turkish and English, by a pair of poets whose work explores the language of landscape and of home.





Saturday 8th July 2017
Kayo Chingonyi and Miriam Nash
6pm–7pm | Burgage Hall | £9

Warsan Shire has gone on record as saying Kayo Chingonyi’s poetry is “… Tender, nostalgic and, at times, darkly hilarious exploration of black boyhood, masculinity and grief.”

Miriam Nash’s collection first Voices of the Isle of Erraid echo through , All the Prayers in the House. The poems take the form of songs, letters, fragments, formal verse – many kinds of prayer perhaps, for many kinds of storm. The poems of KayoKumakanda range between worlds, ancestral and contemporary; between the living and the dead; between the gulf of who he is and how he is perceived.




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Sunday 9th July 2017
Versopolis: A Celebration of Emerging European Poets
4.15pm–5.30pm | Market Theatre
Free but ticketed
This is a much anticpated annual highlight. Hear the works of the following Poets Tiziano Fratus (Italy), Charlotte Van de Broeck (Belgium), Nikolina Andova(Macedonia), Veronika Dintinjana (Slovenia), Yekta (France) will share the stage with two of their UK counterparts, Kayo Chingonyi and Helen Mort.

Versopolis is a European poetry platform that creates new opportunities for emerging European poets and is supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme. 

View a selection of their poetry here.

View full programme here

Book Tickets Online



192pp D8vo

Hwaet! 20 Years of Ledbury Poetry Festival
edited by Mark Fisher

‘Hwaet!’ (rhyming with cat) is the opening word of the great Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf and other poems of that time. It means ‘Listen!’ or ‘How…’ or ‘So…’ – a calling for attention. Which is what hundreds of poets have been saying, both in their work as well as in numerous, highly memorable readings to Ledbury audiences over 20 years.

Mark Fisher’s anthology, Hwaet!, brings together 200 new poems by a wide range of poets who have delighted audiences at Ledbury Poetry Festival over 20 years as well as poems by some unforgettable visitors no longer with us who will always be remembered in Ledbury. Scattered between the poems are anecdotes contributed by poets and others offering a sense of the diverse flavour of an international poetry festival which is possibly unusual in being created, nurtured and loved by the community in which it is based.

The poets saying ‘Hwaet!’ include writers from all parts of Britain and Ireland, from North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. They include writers who’ve been poet-in-residence or worked on popular community and schools projects in Ledbury along with winners of the Ledbury Poetry Competition.

The proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to Ledbury Poetry Festival Schools programme.

Get a copy on the festival’s shop. There’s also a Tote Bag and Commemorative Bowls available on their online shop.


Box Office: 01531 636232
If you feel inspired to do so there is a page to make a donation to support this Poetry Festival. Link here.
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Leominster Festival: Culture & Fun for all the Family!

Leominster Festival is run by a local volunteer committee since 1978. It holds cultural events from book-signings, live music, film screenings with performances and workshops for all the family. This year it will be held Friday 2nd June – Sunday 11th June.

Some Highlights of this Festival

Anne O’Brien is an Author of Historical novels she lives near Leominster and will be . Her latest novel out in Hardback May 4th 2017 is The Shadow Queen. It is a tale of a woman’s treacherous ascent through the court to command royal power alongside her young son, King Richard II. She will be giving a talk at this Festival on Friday June 9th 7pm. Tickets link.

Twitter: @AnneObrien
Facebook: /AnneObrienBooks

More event details found on Leominster-Festival.co.uk and

Fancy a 9 mile walk in the hills east of  Leominster? Follow the Rambling Club walkers amidst green pastures, woods and fields. Bache-Camp Walk details here.

Family Fun Day Saturday 10th June 10am – 4pm.  Activities like ‘Plant the Town’ allotment with activities, cookie-decorating, bouncy castle, Trevor Hill Animals encounters and there will be various craft plus Big Draw facilitated by Hereford College of Arts. Full details listed here.

Want to learn about the relationship between dance and the music? Steve Player and Hilary Norris will lead a dance workshop for all musicians interested in improving their understanding and performance of music. Read more about Baroque Dancing Steps event.

“Call Mr Robeson” is a live show about Paul Robeson an American Bass singer, actor and activist. Robeson is a fascinating figure having been involved in the Civil Rights Movement and Harlem Renaissance. He even met President Harry S. Truman to demand anti-lynching legislation. Paul is best known for his performance in Showboat a romantic comedy-drama musical film. His phenomenal life even inspired a song by Manic Street Preachers called “Let Robeson sing” have a listen here. This show is performed by Tayo Aluko & Friends. Tickets link.




Facebook: /LeominsterFestival
Twitter: @LeominsterFest
Share your photos of the festival on their Instagram: @LeominsterFest

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Hereford Indie Food Festival

HFD Indie Food Leafy sign

As a Herefordshire Writer I feel one of the best features of this county is our food! We have so many great cafes and restauarants to choose from and it’s guaranteed to release the glutton in you. This Bank Holiday we had the pleasure of a foodie frenzy weekend by way of Hereford Indie Food Festival! This Festival celebrates Hereford’s Independent food culture and is formed by the team behind “A Rule of Tum” Jon Stead, Edwin and Dorian Kirk.

Hereford Indie Food is a community driven project celebrating the independent food scene, chefs, producers + makers in Herefordshire. -HerefordIndieFood.com


Welcome gate

The Line-Up


Makers Market

Makers Stall

The Maker Markets lined the festival en route to the street food stalls. Visit NouveauBohemian.com to read more about some of the artists and designers showcasing their work. It’s such a lovely chance to get to know creatives in our county many of whom studied at Hereford College of Arts. 

Some Makers at the Festival:

Field & Found    |    Joel Black Knives    |    Steve Meeks Ceramics    |    Halfkey Clothing    |    Bardot Living    |    Sin Eaters Illustrations


Offa Cider    |    Method Coffee |   Chase Distillery



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Queues abounded on The Shack Revolution’s pop-up cocktail stall. Many of you will be familiar with brothers James & Rich Manning who started The Shack Revolution bar located in Bastion mews. Their farm-made boutique and bespoke bars pop up everywhere around the country from Weddings, corporate events and even Wembley Stadium and football clubs! They also provided some live acts via their Shackoustic Sundays spot attached to their drinks booth.

Next time you’re on a night out in Hereford, visit their bar for pizza, beer or cocktails!

Coffee & Cafe stalls

The festival culminates into a Bohemian foray beginning with Makers Market stalls upon entry. Then as in a restaurant you are tempted with a starter: some nibbles (Goat’s cheese from Neal Yard’s Creamery?) and drinks from cider to cocktails. Finally you make your way through the leafy archway into the street food arena….

Leafy archway

Haystack seating

There’s plenty of seating for all the family from haystacks to sofas!

Union Jack couch

Keg & Cork Bar

The outdoor dining areas had a wonderful communal feel and many visitors from outside our county had come over for Bank Holiday weekend.

I really wished I’d gotten The Chefs supper tickets at the Bookshop. Also I didn’t get around to staying on into the night so missed the music acts!


Farmer Tom Jones    |    Noble & Wild    |    The Waffle Lion    |    The Bookshop    |    A Rule of Tum    |    Jake’s Cured Meats    |   The Beefy Boys    |    Neal Yard’s Creamery

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King Street Kitchen Team

As I have such a sweet tooth my first stop was at the King Street Kitchen stall where I purchased a salted pistachio brownie (made with coconut flour) and tried the gigantic chocolate, caramel and pretzel cake which was divine!

The Beefy Boys Stall

It was absolutely jam-packed and the unusually rainy weather couldn’t deter us from this gourmet gathering. All in all an excellently executed collection of music, food, fresh produce and creativity. It was a pleasure to be in attendance this year and I look forward to returning again next year!

Spectacular Wall of Flowers on display by The Great British Florist

How delightful are these flowers carefully arranged by The Great British Florist? This particular florist is based on a farm in the Duchy Estate in Herefordshire.

Did you know….

At the moment only 10% of the flowers sold in Britain are actually grown here. Please join us in our mission to change all that. Good for humans and fantastic for wildlife, British Flowers are fresh, scented, natural and sustainable… -The Great British Florist team

Show your support by buying your next lot of flowers at GreatBritishFlorist.co.uk

The team also facilitate The Great British Florist Flower School. From single workshops to a series of workshops you can dabble your green fingers in their courses!

Wall of flowers made by The Great British Florist

Read more about Edwin Kirk, Jon Stead and Dorian Kirk on Herefordshire Live here.

For Full Listings of businesses, bars, cafes, makers, street food and live acts on show over weekend 27th-28th August 2016 visit HerefordIndieFood.com plus check out their magazine: Hereford Indie Food’s Magazine (Vol. 1) here.

Twitter: @HerefordFood
Facebook: /HerefordFood

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Festival highlights of Herefordshire: Hay Festival


Held annually from late May to early June this festival is held in its namesake market town Hay-on-Wye located on the quaint Welsh borders. It is a festival celebrating literature and caters to all age groups so all book lovers are welcome. The annual selection of speakers at the events are eclectic, engaging and entertaining with a varied spectrum of writers, poets and authors from diverse fields such as science, history, literary fiction even lyricists! No matter what your interests from art, politics, fashion or sport you will find an event that compels you to attend. World-class contemporary talents perform every year at this festival, you will leave this bookish tent of delights with a renewed perspective on life and literature. As Bill Clinton a former speaker put it, Hay is “The Woodstock of the mind.”


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No matter what the weather you’ll always find a spot to keep dry and get your head stuck in a book!

There’s always a welcoming and child-friendly atmosphere with lot’s of things to see and do in between events.

The festival is conveniently held in a tent like maze where you can eat, drink, browse artisan clothes stalls and art and of course buy the of books of most of the speakers in attendance.

Some events are also televised on the BBC with coverage also on BBC Radio 4.

Inside the Hay Festival bookshop is where the event speaker’s new and some backlist titles are kept in stock to purchase. Do remember to visit this tent bookshop if the speaker is doing a book-signing after the talk.

Some highlights of the phenomenal talents present at the festival: Award-winning Travel Photographer Steve McCurry interviewed by Sky Arts broadcaster and Art Historian Tim Marlow.

Also appearances by Teen horror author Darren Shan giving a book-signing here.


Above the delightful author of the charming “Breakfast at Sotheby’s” and board member of Sotheby’s, the Senior International Specialist of Impressionist & Modern Art Philip Hook.


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