Kendal Poetry Festival started in 2015 when Pauline Yarwood and Kim Moore decided it would be fun to create a poetry festival from scratch. We wanted to create a festival that would be a focal point for the lively poetry community in Cumbria, as well as a poetry destination that would draw audiences from around the UK and Ireland.  Our first festival in 2016 was an extravaganza of poetry readings, open mics, discussions and workshops.

One of the things that makes our festival unique is young poets, who are at the heart of what we do. Members of Dove Cottage Young Poets are invited to perform alongside our guest poets and to host their own events during the weekend. We also provide residency opportunities for young people. This year our Young Musician in Residence will be Alistair Burton, our Young Poet in Residence is Matthew Sowerby and our Young Blogger in Residence will be Hannah Hodgson.

Fast forward to 2018 and two sell-out festivals in 2016 and 2017 at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal have prompted a move to the larger venue of the Castle Green Hotel. We have a wonderful line-up of national and international poets and writers with a packed programme of readings, talks, discussions, workshops, open mics and children’s events.

Kendal’s reputation as a welcoming Festival Town continues to grow, and we are thrilled to be part of that. If you’ve been to the previous festivals, we hope we can tempt you back with this year’s programme. If this is your first time, we look forward to meeting you and hope you enjoy the fabulous range of poetry events on offer.

Brewery Poets

Brewery Poets have been meeting in Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre for many years, holding monthly workshops and twice yearly readings. Throughout the festival, you will see many members of the group volunteering at events. Members of Brewery Poets are drawn from across Cumbria and Lancashire and include Festival Directors Pauline Yarwood and Kim Moore. For more details about the group, please check out our website.


Dove Cottage Young Poets

Dove Cottage Young Poets meet every other Friday from 3.45- 5.45pm in Kendal to read, discuss and write poetry with poet and Festival Director Kim Moore. These sessions are funded by the Wordsworth Trust. The Young Writers regularly attend poetry events, perform their own work and some have recently achieved their Bronze Arts Award. If you are a young writer between the ages of 14 and 21 and are interested in joining the group please email Kim Moore  kimmoore30@hotmail.com

Opening Doors

Opening Doors is a new project for which we are currently raising funds. We hope to be able to award two bursaries for low-income writers to attend the next Kendal Poetry Festival. If you would like to donate to this fund, please get in touch via the Contact Form on the Contact Page of the website.


Our Sponsors

Thanks to the Arts Council, the Sir John Fisher Foundation, South Lakeland District CouncilWordsworth TrustThe Junior Royal Northern College of Music and Cumbria County Council for funding and supporting the Kendal Poetry Festival.


Festival Directors

Kim Moore and Pauline Yarwood

Official Photographer

Martin Copley is the official Festival Photographer and will be taking pictures throughout all the events. A gallery will be posted online after the festival.


Castle Green Hotel

The Castle Green Hotel is an independent, family run hotel set in 14 acres of garden and woodland overlooking Kendal Castle and the Lakeland Fells.


The Brewery Arts Centre

The Brewery Arts Centre is one of the leading arts centres in the UK offering an extensive programme of events in theatre, spoken word, dance, music, comedy, cinema and visual arts. The Grainstore Restaurant, The Vats Bar and The Warehouse Café-bar all offer excellent menus.


Kendal Library

Kendal Library was opened on the 20th of March 1909 by Kendal Mayor Mr J. Banks, and is part of Kendal’s rich architectural heritage. It is in the heart of the town centre, on Stricklandgate, and is a much loved part of the community.


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