WINCHESTER Poetry Festival is building up to its next big event in 2018 but organisers have been busy ensuring this autumn has its own crop of poetry delights.

On Saturday September 9 at 2pm the festival teams up with Heritage Open Days to present readings from a new anthology celebrating all that trees mean to us.

Taking place in Winchester’s historic Pilgrims Hall the reading features Maura Dooley, Rachel Curzon, Stephen Boyce and the editor Michael McKimm, all of whom are included in the anthology, and will celebrate trees in all their diversity.

Full details of this free event can be found at or the Heritage Open Days brochure.

Poems for page and performance form part of Winchester Poetry Day on Saturday October 14, which brings together some of the UK’s most celebrated contemporary poets for a day of workshops, close readings and performances.

Poets Sarah Howe, Sasha Dugdale, Sarah Hesketh, Hannah Lowe, Rachel Curzon and Matt West, will be on hand to explore poetry writing techniques, talk about their poetic practice and share their insights throughout the day.

The winner of the second Winchester Poetry Prize, worth £1,000, will also be announced by poet and judge Sarah Howe. Now in its second year, the competition, which is run in partnership with Hampshire Cultural Trust, attracted 1,500 entries in 2016. A special prize for the best poem by a Hampshire-based poet has been donated by Warren & Son. The prize-giving will feature readings by the commended and prize-winning poets whose work will also be published in an anthology.

Artistic co-directors of Winchester Poetry Festival, Sasha Dugdale and Sarah Hesketh, will also reveal their plans for the 2018 Festival, the third in the series, which has seen some of the UK’s most renowned and emerging poets descend on the city for a weekend dedicated to poetry in all its forms.

Ms Dugdale said: “We are enormously excited by the interest in poetry which we witnessed at last year’s festival and the 2018 event aims to bring diversity, richness and the very best of the art form to Winchester. We are always delighted to see audiences moved, inspired and wowed by the creative force of poetry and they keep coming back year after year for more. Winchester Poetry Day will give a fantastic taster of what is to come and allow us to connect with our poetry-loving audiences ahead of next year’s full festival.”

Some events are free. All the poetry day events take place at Winchester Discovery Centre and can be booked through the Theatre Royal Winchester box office 01962 840440.

And on Saturday November 25 the festival presents Comfort Me with Apples, a day of talks and readings of poetry on a contemplative or spiritual theme.

Set in St Lawrence’s Church in the Square this event sees the return to Winchester of the acclaimed and much loved Wendy Cope and will include the inaugural David Scott lecture given by Mark Oakley, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral and author of The Splash of Words: Believing in poetry.