News & Events

Inky Needles: Celebrity & Speed

Inky Needles: Celebrity & Speed

Inky Needles: Celebrity & Speed

Inky Needles are open for submissions for the next print edition, Celebrity & Speed, published in April 2015.

They seek submissions of philosophical and political essays, articles of literary and critical theory, poetry, flash and short fiction, reviews, as well as photographs, cut outs and illustrations, all based around the theme Celebrity & Speed.

If any of this floats your boat, get the lowdown here:

A.F. Harrold’s & Emily Gravett’s The Imaginary (April, 2014)

You will all know A.F. Harrold as a poet (see my posts on The Point of Inconvenience and Logic and the Heart).

However, he’s also a highly successful children’s writer and his latest novel for Bloomsbury, The Imaginary, is due out in October.

He’s collaborating with the illustrator Emily Gravett and, as this stop-motion film attests, the book is going to be a thing of great beauty.

National Poetry Month, 2013

Fancy writing a poem a day for a month to mark National Poetry Month? Well, Carrie Etter has been doing this since 2008, and she’s looking for volunteers to join her. She’s got some prompts to get those ideas flowing. Drop her a line and she’ll add you to the list of participants on her blog.

30 days

Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2012 – Winner announced

Olivia McCannon, winner of the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, 2012

Olivia McCannon, winner of the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, 2012

The winner of the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2012 – one of the most important and long-established poetry awards in the UK – was announced at the 24th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on Friday 2 November at 8pm. The recipient of this best first collection prize is Olivia McCannon for Exactly My Own Length published by Carcanet as part of their OxfordPoets imprint.

Read about the collection here, on Poor Rude Lines, this weekend.

Olivia McCannon responded to news of her win with:

“I am grateful to the judges for their close reading and comments – a reward in itself. It will be a great privilege and pleasure to read to such a poetry-loving audience next year and to be part of the festival and the community it creates.”

On behalf of his fellow judges Esther Morgan and Alicia Stubbersfield, Chair Robert Seatter writes:

“In a very very close field, what we valued in Olivia McCannon’s book was the judged authenticity of her voice. Her collection has a subtle craftsmanship, and her clean and precise language rewards several re-readings revealing new layers of connection and meaning. Exactly My Own Length is surprising without ever being showy, feelingful without overplaying its sentiment, and universal without being predictable.”

Exactly My Own Length contains work spanning ten years. Roughly half of it was written in Paris, where Olivia lived full-time for eight years. French was her language of everyday communication, and as English became more foreign, she found that she was able to write with greater displacement. The second half came into existence during the last year of her mother’s life – “poems to hold onto when everything was slipping away” says Olivia.

Eleanor Crawforth, Editor of Carcanet said:

“The prize, and its accompanying support from the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, is a major landmark in the development of a young poet’s career, and Olivia’s win reflects the continuing success of Carcanet’s OxfordPoets imprint.”

David Constantine, former Editor of OxfordPoets, adds:

“By choosing this book, the judges affirm a wider faith in the good of poetry that is rigorous, heartfelt, and rooted in common realities.”

In addition to the cash award (£2,000), the Aldeburgh prize carries two incalculable benefits for the winner. Olivia McCannon will receive a paid invitation to read at next year’s 25th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, plus a unique week’s paid protected writing time on the inspirational East Suffolk coast. No other poetry prize makes such an investment in new talent.

(Text taken from The Poetry Trust‘s press release)

Poem from Exactly My Own Length

At the Door

At the door of this house
We need a box in which
To post our troubles as we arrive.

Troubles must not enter this house
Only lightness and smooth cheer
Bunches of gerberas and jokes.

If we’re to keep up the walls of this house
Small things must not be made big
Big things must be made small.

The ticking bomb of this house
Is guarded by a sentry who may shout
To cover his deafness.

We who open the door of this house
Must enter stripped of clocks or watches –
Although you know what time it is.

At the door of this house
We need a box in which
To post our troubles as we leave.

The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival releases a film

This is a momentous year for the annual Aldeburgh Poetry Festival as it prepares to expand to six new venues at Aldeburgh Music’s Snape Maltings campus over the weekend of 2 – 4 November 2012. After years of bursting at the seams, there’ll at last be more room to welcome more people!

To celebrate these exciting plans, The Poetry Trust has released a short film – The Journey of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival – telling the story of its humble beginnings in 1989 to becoming the UK’s pre-eminent annual celebration of national and international contemporary poetry.

The professionally-produced film explains why the Festival has to expand, introduces the new location at Snape Maltings, and features eloquent contributions from poets – including Roger McGough and Andrew Motion – and audiences about what makes the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival so special.

Naomi Jaffa, Director at The Poetry Trust, said:

Editing 50 hours of footage down to under five minutes has been a challenging but very rewarding process and we hope the end result is entertaining and shows (rather than ‘tells’) our story. We’re so grateful to everyone involved and hope that our first ‘real’ film will be enthusiastically shared online and inspire new audiences to take the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival plunge!

The programme for this year’s 24th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival features 25 poets from all over the world – America, Ireland, Palestine, South Africa, South Korea – in 54 events (14 FREE) across nine venues at Snape and in Aldeburgh. A free shuttle bus for audiences will run between the two towns throughout the weekend.

To book tickets, call the Box Office 01728 687110 or online at To find out more about the Festival programme and to read poems by this year’s Festival poets visit

Text taken from The Poetry Trust’s press release.

Shortlist for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize announced by The Poetry Trust

78 entries have been reduced to five:

This year, just one collection, Breaking the Silence, appears on the Forward Best First Collection shortlist.

Robert Seatter (Chair), who published his third collection in 2011 and is Head of BBC History said: “The shortlist was as usual very hard won, measuring the reflective, the searing voices against the incisive and the witty, but all united in their brave and defining use of concentrated language.” Fellow judge Esther Morgan – herself an Aldeburgh winner in 2001 – noted that it was “a sign of good poetry health that no one fashion or aesthetic dominated.” Reflecting on the strength of this year’s entries, third judge Alicia Stubbersfield was pleased that “many of the books contained poems that were heartfelt and intelligent, that resonated and invited the reader to return to them.”

About the Prize

The Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize is valuable not simply as a cash prize, but especially for its emphasis on developing talent. Uniquely, the winner receives a week of ‘protected’ writing time on the inspirational Suffolk coast and – most significantly – an invitation to read at the subsequent Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and thereby reach the UK’s largest and most dedicated contemporary poetry audience.

  • This year’s winner will be announced at the start of the 24th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on Friday 2 November 2012. More details are available at

(Text adapted from The Poetry Trust’s press release)

24th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival: 2 – 4 November 2012

Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Gets Bigger

Photo credit: Peter Everard-Smith

After years of bursting at the seams, the 24th international Aldeburgh Poetry Festival will have more room to welcome more people at last. Organised by The Poetry Trust, the Festival is expanding to Aldeburgh Music’s prestigious Snape Maltings campus in Suffolk over the weekend of 2 – 4 November 2012. 25 poets from all over the UK and beyond – America, Ireland, Palestine, Somalia, South Africa and South Korea – will travel to the East Suffolk coast to take part in 54 interconnecting events of which 14 are free.

Aldeburgh is renowned for the depth and creativity of its programme and the 2012 line-up features a mix of the familiar and the new. In conversation for the first time, Jackie Kay and Maggi Hambling discuss the female artist; South Korea’s foremost living writer Ko Un reads at his first UK festival; actor and producer Greg Wise and Christopher Reid re-live the page-to-screen journey of The Song of Lunch; John Agard brings his own spin to the language of cricket and poetry in a new ‘mock lecture’, Sun Stops Play; and Michael Rosen and Valerie Bloom investigate why children need poetry. Outstanding British and Irish poets Julia Copus,(whose excellent The World’s Two Smallest Humans has been reviewed on Poor Rude LinesJohn Stammers and David Wheatley make their Aldeburgh debut. And the Festival’s annual poet-on-poet lecture, delivered by Michael Rosen explores the fascinatingly contradictory life and work of Edward Lear in the 200th anniversary year of his birth. 

Other highlights include South Africa’s political-yet-lyrical Ingrid De Kok reading in the UK for the first time; the Palestinian experience from Ghassan Zaqtan accompanied by his award-winning translator Fady Joudah; one of Ireland’s best-kept literary secrets – ninety year old Leland Bardwell; two outstanding East Coast American poets – D. Nurkse and Philip Schultz; and two showcase readings for seven talented poets at pamphlet or first collection stage – a four-hander with Caleb Klaces, Andrew McMillan, Rebecca Perry and Warsan Shire, and a three-hander with Fady Joudah, Andrea Porter and Sam Willetts (read Poor Rude Lines’ review of Sam’s superb New Light for the Old Dark here).

The Poetry Trust’s Naomi Jaffa & Dean Parkin. Photo credit: Peter Everard-Smith

Although the majority of the programme will take place at Snape, Aldeburgh will always be the Festival’s spiritual home and where most people will stay. Consequently each day will start and end with events in the town and there’ll be a free hourly shuttle bus service covering the six miles between Snape and Aldeburgh throughout the weekend.

“This is a momentous year for the Festival”, says The Poetry Trust’s Director Naomi Jaffa. “Expanding to the inspirational setting at Snape Maltings will offer a range of performance spaces perfect for live poetry and plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and socialise – all on one site. This is our chance to take an already world-class poetry festival to a whole new level.”

To book tickets, call the Box Office 01728 687110 or online at To find out more about the Festival programme and to read poems by this year’s Festival poets visit

5 thoughts on “News & Events”

  1. Many congratulations to Olivia. I look forward to reading the full collection. Interesting shortlist too. Is it true that Sean Borodale is a viscount? Someone told me he appears in Debrett’s Peerage!

  2. He’s certainly listed in the 2012 edition of Who’s Who as Viscount Sean David Beatty Borodale. I’m looking forward to reading his collection sometime soon – just haven’t got around to it yet. Have you read it?
    Olivia’s collection is great – I’ve posted a few words on it here:

  3. I’ve got a copy but I haven’t got round to reading it all the way through yet. I did dip in but got a bit frustrated after a while: as Alice Oswald says on the back-cover blurb, these are sort of pre-poems and, I felt, maybe a little self-conscious? What he’s doing is interesting, though, and something that’s not really been done before. But I’ve a feeling his best may be yet to come. Having said that, I must give it another go when I have a bit more time.

    Thanks for recommending Olivia’s book.

  4. Hi Susysu, here’s the link to my piece on Borodale’s Bee Journal:

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