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UoG students among writers and performers at Cheltenham Poetry Festival

Thirteen University of Gloucestershire students are among the international and UK writers and performers who will be showcasing their creativity at the 2024 Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

The Poetry Festival – founded by University alumnus Anna Saunders – will feature a wide-ranging programme of readings, workshops and performances, including a Q&A with the celebrated award-winning British poet Don Paterson at the University’s Francis Close Campus.

Students from the University’s undergraduate and postgraduate Creative Writing programmes will be involved from the start of the festival, with Monica Piercy (MA Creative and Critical Writing) reading as part of the Liz Berry and David Clarke: Cheltenham Poetry Festival launch event on 19 April.

Luke Contino (MA Creative and Critical Writing) will read as part of Something Old, Something New: Isabel Galleymore, Iris Lewis and Derek Healy on 20 April.

Grace Price (BA (Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing) will read as part of Earth House: Matthew Hollis and Matthew MC Smith on 26 April, while on the same date Ella Pheasant (BA (Hons) Creative Writing) will read as part of Versatile Voices; Jonathan Aylett and Nigel Kent.

Two members of the academic team at the University, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Angela France, and Senior Leader in Creative Writing and English Literature, Rowan Middleton, will be among the contributors to Under The Influence on the closing day of the festival, 27 April.

The festival finale, Last Night of the Poems, at Francis Close Hall Chapel, will showcase nine emerging talents from the University’s Creative Writing programmes, with Angela France introducing readings by students Liam Lynch, Ark Drew, George Turner, Giorgia Caso, Emma Walker, Freyja Jensko, Paul White, Carlie Chabot and Claire Smith.

Excellent opportunity to build connections

The University’s Angela France said: “The Cheltenham Poetry Festival provides an excellent opportunity for our undergraduate and postgraduate students to showcase their work, build connections within the literary community and present readings alongside leading international and UK spoken word artists and writers.

“As a longstanding sponsor, we’re looking forward to hosting events from the festival programme at our Francis Close Hall Campus in Cheltenham and welcoming visitors from the local community and further afield.”

Anna Saunders, Founder Director of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival and recipient of an Honorary Fellowship from the University, said: “We are delighted to be further developing our partnership with Platinum Sponsor, University of Gloucestershire, in 2024. 

“We proudly include a student showcase in our programme every year, and this April we will be offering longer slots to the students in recognition of the skills they have developed on the Creative Writing course.

“We are excited to bring these emerging voices to a visiting audience and hear them share the stage with some internationally acclaimed poets.”