The Nottingham Poetry Festival 2018 Survival Guide

Words: LP Mills
Tuesday 17 April 2018
reading time: min, words

Nottingham's gone poetry mad, and with stellar events popping up in venues all over the city it can be hard to know where to start. Thankfully, your old pal LP Mills is here to give you the rundown on this year's Nottingham Poetry Festival. 


Blimey, is it that time of year again already? The Nottingham Poetry Festival is pretty similar to Christmas, in that you'll be minding your own business and then all of a sudden every bar, cafe, comedy club and dance hall is hosting a range of incredible spoken word and poetry events. 

If you're anything like me, you're probably having a bit of a palaver trying to work out which events to attend. Have no fear, humble poetry-fiend: We at LeftLion have ummed and aahed over this year's program and have curated a handy list of our top picks for you check out. 


Welcome to the Festival with Henry Normal and Friends

Antenna, Friday April 20th, 7pm – 10pm 

Let's kick things off with a bang, shall we? Veteran of Nottingham's poetry scene and all-round legend Henry Normal will be hosting an introductory evening, featuring contributions from special guests Andrew Graves, Pete Ramskill, Leanne Moden, Kev Fegan, Michelle Hubbard and Georgina Wilding.


Wildlife Trust #youthquake word mash-up

NVA, Saturday 21 April, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Are you young, gobby, and passionate about the environment? Here's your chance to take part in the Wildlife Trust's #youthquake campaign. Headed up by LeftLion's own Aly Stoneman, this lively workshop for 13-25 year olds will have you creating your own campaign haikus, word mash-ups and street photography.


Joolz Denby, Panya Banjoko & Sophie Sparham

Antenna, Saturday 21 April, 7pm – 10pm

Legendary punk-poet, tattooist, artist and musician Joolz Denby brings her tough-as-nails performance poetry to Nottingham, accompanied with the eternally-grand Panya Banjoko and the no-nonsense Sophie Sparham.


Nottingham Poetry Festival and Waterstones Present Jackie Kay & Milla Tebbs

Waterstones Bookshop, Sunday April 22nd, 7pm – 9pm

Award-winner and national poet of Scotland Jackie Kay takes the stage at Waterstones, supported by local lass and hero of Nottingham's poetry scene Milla Tebbs. Expect a deeply profound evening of highs and lows, all delivered in expertly-composed verse.


UNESCO City of Literature Presents

Blackwells Bookshop, Tuesday 24 April, 5pm – 7pm 

This one is set to be the full kit and kaboodle, with readings from the representatives of our fellow Cities of Literature. We've got Alice Kinsella from Dublin; John Osborne from Norwich; Ron Butlin of Edinburgh; and Nott’s own Georgina Wilding. 


Poetry is Dead Good Featuring Mark Grist

The Fox and Grapes, Tuesday 24 April, 7pm – 10pm

PIDG is always a right laugh, and this one is looking to be no exception. A viral hit known for eloquent beat-downs, Mark Grist is a former English teacher and current rap-battler, and will be supported by a host of support acts. There’s even an open mic, should you want to strut your own poetic stuff, and rumour has it that we’ll see the settling of a truly historic score between Robin Hood and Little John. This is set to go down as the stuff of legend.


Elvis Mcgonnagal, Stephen Thomas & Bridie Squires

Antenna, Friday 27 April, 7pm – 10.30pm

Champion of the battle slam and king of wit Elvis Mcgonnagal is bringing is acidic tongue and wicked turn of phrase to Antenna next Friday, and will be joined by performance poet and rapper Stephen Thomas and LeftLion’s very own editor and professional gobshite Bridie Squires.


Poetry Hour with Henry Normal

Various locations, various times

Look, I know the description here isn’t very helpful, but if I listed all of the events that Henry Normal is running this year I’d be here all bleddy week. Joined each time by a host of incredible local poets and artists, Henry and chums will be touring Nottingham’s libraries, spreading the love and entertaining the masses with a range of subjects and styles.


Of course, this isn't a comprehensive list of every event this year. As well as this lot, we’ve got book launches, workshops, history lectures, sit-downs and charity jumble sales. If you'd like to take a look at the full line-up for 2018, head over to the Nottingham Poetry Festival Website at 


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