Poets and performers at the Festival since 2010

‘One of the foremost poetry festivals in the country’. Hamish Wilson

poetry fest cover THIS ONE(2)
Download Festival brochure 2016

Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s programme has featured hundreds of internationally acclaimed performers since its launch in 2010 by CEO Anna Saunders. As well as providing a stage for some of our most exciting, and prestigious contemporary writers, the festival has also showcased emerging voices and featured rising stars on the spoken scene.

‘ A poetry party with a healthy dose of anarchy’ – the Guardian.

The festival’s winning formula comes from a winning mix of established and acclaimed writers and new talent plus a wide variety of events which include sell-out writing workshops, music, spoken word and drama, classical poetry and poets, and one-off events such as poetry films and publishers’ showcases.

Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2017 was our biggest and best yet.


Highlights of the 2017 Festival included a visit from British–Jamaican spoken word star Raymond Antrobus, readings by some of the UK’s most acclaimed poets (Ben Parker, Sasha Dugdale, Kathy Towers, Matthew Sweeney, Roy Mcfarlane), a Slam Champ showcase featuring Jasmine Gardosi, new drama inspired by poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, a plethora of stimulating talks including Fiona Sampson on Mary Shelley, electrifying poetry cinema, djs, a ‘poetry jam’ with a local orchestra, Stuart Maconie returned to share his love of 20th Century poetry, Festival favourite John Hegley performed comic poetry old and new, and there were workshops and open mic slots galore.

Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2016 highlights included Sarah Hesketh, James Joyce in Music with Gerry Smyth, Shakespeare’s Roman Plays – a talk by Dr Paul Innes, Todd Swift,Samantha Harvey “This generation’s Virginia Woolf” (Daily Telegraph), Faber New Poet Jack Underhill, Independent’s columnist Rosie Millard, internationally acclaimed poet George Szirtes, Carrie Etter, Rhian Edwards, Helen Moore, David Clarke, Angela France, Pete Mullineaux, Linda Rose Black and Sarah James.

And in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 we offered a stellar line up of performers who included Ash Dickinson, Don Patterson, Jo Bell,  Sean O’Brien, JB Barrington, Kieren King, Clare Pollard, John Cooper Clarke, Clare Trevien, Owen Sheers, Charles Bennett, Sarah Jane Arbury, Daniel Sluman, Jo Dunthorne, Ben Norris, Hollie McNish, Spoz, James Bunting,  Michael Schmidt, Charles Tomlinson, Penelope Shuttle, Adam Horovitz, Elaine Feinstein, John Hegley, Jonny Fluffy Punk, Giles Goodland, Cliff Yates and many more !

Please download our past brochures to read more.

Festival programme 2014
Download Festival brochure 2015
Festival brochure 2014.jpg
Download Festival brochure 2014