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Autumn Literature Festivals - Part 3: Aldeburgh Poetry Festival

  • Date: 25 October 2013
  • Area: South East
A man standing in the street holding boxes with words written on them

Words on Aldeburgh High Street. Credit: Peter Everard Smith

Aldeburgh Poetry Festival is the UK's pre-eminent annual celebration of national and international contemporary poetry.

With its mix of well known and international names, lesser-known voices and exceptional newcomers, Aldeburgh's silver anniversary weekend features a line-up of 30 poets from seven countries in 56 events.

The first Aldeburgh Poetry Festival coincided with the fall of the Berlin Wall and staged eight events, selling a total of 680 tickets. Last year's box office recorded attendance of over 6,000.

One of Britain's best known poets, Ian McMillan, takes part in a whole series of events at the festival this year, including a headline performance on Saturday evening and the launch of the Festival's very first Aldeburgh Poetry Commission, Pilotage - a special collaboration between Ian and artist Fran Crowe.

The international character of the festival is unmistakeable. Terrance Hayes (USA) makes his first appearance in the UK. Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia) shares her eloquent writing on history and displacement. From rural Canada, Karen Solie asks all the big questions about the human condition.

Poet D. Nurske (USA) gets to Aldeburgh exactly a year late (he was grounded in New York by Hurricane Sandy in 2012) and will be well worth the wait.

Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in 2013 pays tribute to two extraordinary poets closely connected to the festival - Christopher Logue and Seamus Heaney.

In Performing Christopher Logue, three acclaimed actors will give fresh life to Logue's masterpiece New Numbers, which he performed to a standing ovation at Aldeburgh in 1998.

The incomparable Seamus Heaney will be remembered at the festival's atmospheric first home - the Baptist Chapel in Aldeburgh. Heaney launched his last collection Human Chain at The Poetry Trust's Poetry Prom in 2010 and a selection of poems recorded live that night will play in the Chapel throughout Saturday 9 November.

The Poetry Trust Director, Naomi Jaffa says: 'Continuity and change mark our silver anniversary. Yes, we're re-visiting our first Baptist Chapel home. And there's a 'Since the Wall Fell' discussion about poetry in Eastern Europe. But mostly, we're looking forward - to finding new poets, welcoming new audiences, hearing great poems together for the first time.'

Aldeburgh Poetry Festival takes place 8-10 November at Snape Maltings and in Aldeburgh. Full details can be found at