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Excitement builds for Morecambe Poetry Festival

Alistair McGowan is just one of the big names on the line up for the Morecambe Poetry Festival

Alistair McGowan is among a host of star names from world of the spoken word who will be part of the Morecambe Poetry Festival later this year.

Comedy folk music poet Mike Harding, national treasure Pam Ayres, Sunday Times bestselling poet Donna Ashworth, comedy actor, writer and impressionist Alistair McGowan, literary institution Lemn Sissay MBE, festival friend Henry Normal, potty-mouthed Thick Richard and the award winning Jamaican British poet Raymond Antrobus MBE FRSL make for a spectacular line up.

Founded by Matt Panesh to bring some world-class spoken word to his seaside town, the festival has quickly established itself as one not to miss for performers and audiences alike.

Having secured funding from the T.S. Eliot Foundation in 2022, along with Morecambe Town Council and Eden Project Communities, the independent festival is going from strength to strength with a growing legion of devoted fans, with numbers up by 30 percent last year.

2023 was a record year for poetry with sales of books at their highest since official figures from BookScan began a decade ago, and the festival is expecting to see a growth in audience numbers to make this their biggest poetry festival to date.

Above: Matt Panesh (Photo credit: Richard Davis)

Founder Matt Panesh said: "We're seeing a resurgence of self expression, and poetry and the spoken word is still the most accessible way to see how someone else sees the world.

‘’I'm really proud of the fact that we cater for first timers as well as the brightest stars in the poetry universe."

Open mic sessions and free writing workshops will give new poets or those trying out new material the space to write and opportunities to perform. The West End Playhouse runs a monthly poetry slam where the best poet each month will win a weekend pass and a slot on stage at the festival.

The poetry writing workshops are being led by Big White Shed with writers having the chance to perform their work monthly at the West End Playhouse on Yorkshire Street every second Saturday. They can enter a competition to win festival passes and perform their work at the festival.

A second edition of the poetry festival anthology is underway and now inviting submissions on the theme of regeneration up until the end of March.

 To submit work to the Anthology, please email a poem of no more than 40 lines to contactmattpanesh@gmail.com with MPF ANTHOLOGY in the email's subject heading.

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