Thousands set to gather for Ted Hughes Poetry Festival in Doncaster

Supporters of the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival.
Supporters of the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival.
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Thousands of people are set to gather at a literary festival to celebrate the life and work of esteemed poet Ted Hughes in his former hometown in Doncaster.

Poets, musicians and literary fans will gather to enjoy a wide range of events in Mexborough as part of the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival between June 23 and 25.

Ted Hughes.

Ted Hughes.

Hughes, British Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998, attended Mexborough Grammar School and lived in the town from 1938 to 1951.

Poet Steve Ely, who is chairman of event organisers The Ted Hughes Project (South Yorkshire), said: "This is the third Ted Hughes Poetry Festival we have organised in Mexborough and we believe it will build on and surpass the achievement of the previous two, in which we programmed performers of the stature of Ian McMillan, Ian Clayton, David Morley and Ted Hughes’s daughter, Frieda.

"Ted Hughes was one of the greatest 20th century English poets and we are proud to celebrate the fact that he was ‘made in Mexborough’ by developing a literary festival of national stature in the town in which he was formed as a poet."

The majority of the events will take place at Mexborough Business Centre on College Road. Acclaimed poet Simon Armitage will perform on the Friday between 6.30pm and 9.30pm with support from award-winning poet Vahni Capildeo and Mike O’ Brien.

Poet Andy Armitage will kick off Saturday's events with a creative writing workshop based on the work of Ted’s first wife, Sylvia Plath, between 10am and noon. The Plath-theme will continue in the early afternoon between 1pm and 2.45pm by short readings from three multi-award-winning female poets - Melissa Lee-Houghton, Kim Moore and Charlotte Wetton.

After the readings the poets will be joined by Andy Armitage and American writer Heather Clark — a leading expert on Sylvia Plath, whose biography of the poet will be published next year — for a panel discussion on the relevance of the work of Sylvia Plath to younger women poets today. Heather will round off the Sylvia Plath afternoon with a talk on Ted and Sylvia.

There will be further events taking place outside of the main festival venue.

Songwriter Ray Hearne will perform on Mexborough High Street on Saturday between 11am and 1pm.

The main festival weekend will round off with the popular ‘Ted Hughes’s Paper Round’ performance trail on Sunday from 11am to 1pm, in which poets perform some of Ted's work along the route he used while completing his paper round as a boy.

Prior to the main festival, award-winning poet Helen Mort will lead a walk from Denaby Ings to Sprotbrough on Sunday, June 11, from 11am to 1.30pm.

For a full list of events and to book tickets visit www.tedhughesproject.org