Opening Doors – Opportunities for Poets


Here at Kendal Poetry Festival headquarters, we have been plotting and planning – please read on for information about our new project – and spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested!

Opening Doors

Are you a writer who would like to attend the festival but can’t afford to financially?

We are running a pilot project this year where we are offering the chance for two writers to attend the 2018 festival.  Each writer will receive a Festival Pass which will enable them to attend any of the readings, discussions during the weekend, plus the Saturday open-mic.   Both writers will be hosted by a member of Brewery Poets in their home from Thursday 6th September to Sunday 9th September.

We would like to offer this opportunity to writers who would benefit from a weekend of immersion in poetry, but who would not be able to attend without some financial assistance.

Things to note:

  1. Travel is not included.
  2. Writers need to have their own transport or be physically able to walk. The festival venue is about a 40 minute walk from where you will be staying.
  3. You will have your own bedroom but will be sharing a bathroom. Bedrooms are at the top of the house, so you will need to be able to climb stairs.
  4. Your host will provide a help-yourself-breakfast, but you will need to provide your own lunch/dinner.  Tea, coffee and sandwich making facilities will be available.
  5. There is the opportunity to perform at our ‘Writing Summit’ Open Mic event on Thursday 6th September but this is not compulsory.

To apply please send an email to with the following information:

  1. One document with your name, date of birth, email address and a short biography (100 words).
  2. A 200 word statement outlining why it would be difficult for you to attend without a bursary and how you would benefit from the opportunity.
  3. Contact details (Email) of a referee – someone who knows your work and knows you personally.
  4. Please include all of this information in one Microsoft Word document.

Deadline for submission is May 31st.  Decisions will be made by mid-June and we will reply by email to all applicants.

Kendal Poetry Festival, 7th-9th September 2018

It’s been a while, but the team behind Kendal Poetry Festival (ie Pauline and I) have quietly yet frantically been working away behind the scenes.  We’ve spent the last few months putting together grant applications to fund the 2018 Kendal Poetry Festival, and it is with great relief and excitement that we can say we have been successful and have secured full funding from the Arts Council and the Sir John Fisher Foundation for the third consecutive year.

At the top of this post you will see some photos – these  are of our new venue, the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.  After two successful and sold-out years at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery, we had to take the difficult decision to move the festival elsewhere, because our wonderful audiences kept expanding and there was no room for you all!

We are really delighted with our new venue though – the Castle Green Hotel is a 4 star hotel on the outskirts of Kendal (just about within walking distance if you like hills!) and 15 minutes away from the motorway.  There is a pub, bar and restaurant on-site, as well as a gym and swimming pool.  Most of the 2018 festival will take place at the hotel, with a few events taking place in town centre venues such as Kendal Library, the Waterside Cafe and Waterstones.  The hotel is fully accessible with hearing loop, and the larger rooms will allow us to accommodate our growing audience.

This year, we will have Festival Passes available – these are limited in number so keep an eye out here for when tickets and festival passes become available.  A Festival Pass will allow entry into our open mic session, our seven Main Readings and three Discussion sessions.  Extra things happening this year include two readings aimed at nursery and primary school children and a session which will involve having Afternoon Tea whilst listening to poetry!

The hotel have offered a 10% discount on their usual room rates for any festival goers – to take advantage of this special offer, please ring the hotel and quote ‘Kendal Poetry Festival’ to the reception team on 01539 734000.  This offer is detailed below

Friday – £126.00 single – £153.00 double occupancy
Saturday – £153.00 single- £180.00 double occupancy
Sunday – £126.00 single – £153.00 double occupancy

There are also other accommodation options available in Kendal – for a list of bed and breakfast options and hotels, you could have a look at



Tickets! Tickets! Tickets!

Kim Moore and Pauline Yarwood

This was us just a couple of weeks before last year’s festival.  We look surprisingly relaxed and cheerful which is strange looking back, as I think we were both quite nervous about a) having our photo taken b) setting up a festival from scratch and c) whether there would be a riot as people tried to get into the many sold out readings.  There wasn’t a riot of course, poets are too well-behaved for all of that business, although there were some sad faces when people couldn’t get into the sold-out workshops.

This year we have another dream team of poets, gathered from all corners of the UK, and our first international poet, Linda Gregerson will be giving both a talk and a reading at the festival.

Last year the feedback was basically more of everything! So we have expanded our events this year.  There are now three workshops available as opposed to the two workshops last year – one with Kathryn Maris on Saturday morning, one with Chrissy Williams on Saturday afternoon and one with Katrina Naomi on Sunday morning.

Last year people loved the ‘Tuning-In‘ event with Jane Routh, in fact it was listed as one of the highlights of the festival by many people.  This year, we’ve got the wonderful Martin Kratz coming to give a whistle-stop tour around the festival poets.  Kim has been working with Martin for the last year and has been blown away by his knowledge and passion for contemporary poetry, so we thought he would be the perfect successor to Jane.  We’ve also taken a risk this year and programmed a few events at the same time as the workshops – this is a risk for us as it means splitting our audience, however we are hoping that those people who weren’t quick enough to book a place on the workshops, or didn’t fancy a workshop will come and support the readings and talks that are going on at the same time – and then no more disappointed poets!

Dove Cottage Young Poets has grown and we now have 12 members, as well as our members from last year, who come back to take part in the sessions during their holidays from university.  The young poets will once again be an integral part of the festival, and will be reading alongside our festival poets.

We’re also really pleased to be working in partnership this year with Cumbria Libraries and Read Regional to bring the wonderful poet Jack Mapanje to this year’s festival as part of the 2017 Read Regional scheme.  Ja

We are offering a 10% discount if you book 5 or more events before the 6th May – so please head over to The Brewery and book your tickets.  Within one day of the tickets going on sale, we sold nearly a quarter of the tickets we have available for the festival.  If you were one of the people who rushed to buy a ticket as soon as they went online, thank you very much.  We really appreciate your support.

So please head over to the festival, and start booking your tickets! Hannah Hodgson, our Young Poet in Residence from last year will be doing some blogging this year,  so keep your eye out for her first post which will be a short interview with one of our Festival Poets.