This National Poetry Day (Thursday 5th October) I found myself in the stately Great Hall at Warwick Castle, surrounded by suits of armour and sitting three seats away from the Mayor, as the winner of Second Prize in this year's Warwick Words Festival poetry competition, judged by former Birmingham Laureate Julie Boden. My poem was called 'The Sound of Guitars' and after reading it to the assembled dignitaries - it was the launch ceremony of the 2006 Festival - I was then awarded my various prizes: a generous book voucher, a copy of Andrew Motion's new memoir of his childhood, In the Blood, which I can't wait to read, a recording of Julie Boden's poetry called Beyond the Bullring, and a copy of her poetry collection Through the Eye of a Crow (Pontefract Press), which seems, at first glance, to be heavily inspired by my own favourite poet, Ted Hughes. All in all, quite a treat for a cold and rainy Thursday night in October!
The winner, Helen Yendall, was crowned as new Poet Laureate for Warwick, taking over from Brenda Tai Layton, with her winning poem 'Kettle'.
Today, Saturday 7th October, I'm reading at the Thomas Oken Tearooms near Warwick Castle as part of Brenda Tai Layton's Poetry Cafe event, which runs throughout the Warwick Words Festival.
If you're in the vicinity, my particular performance slot runs from 1.30pm to perhaps 2pm. But I should imagine that's a moveable feast! I'll be reading poems that will appear in my brand-new book, Boudicca & Co., which is due out from Salt Publishing in a matter of weeks. Also a few poems from my first book, The Brief History of a Disreputable Woman, which is now available for sale at a considerably discounted sum!
Hope to see you there!