It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the cancellation of this year’s festival.

I was hoping against hope that things might just be ok by early June, but this was probably unrealistic. I also looked at re-scheduling but this was fraught with difficulty. The main issue was trying to second guess when a good time might be, and the possibility of getting that totally wrong. In the end, with the strong likelihood that all our guests will come back in 2021, the best option was to rule out 2020.

I am sorry for those of you who have booked accommodation and hope you can get refunds. Ticket refunds are being processed by Eventbrite. Please do get in touch if you have any queries.

One piece of good news is that the OPEN COMPETITION 2020 IS STILL GOING AHEAD! Jonathan Edwards has agreed to continue as judge and he is looking forward to reading all your entries. I’m so grateful to him! Please check the below for details of how to enter.

MY HUGE THANKS TO YOU ALL FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND SUPPORT. Do keep safe and well and put 4–6 June 2021 in your diaries. With love, Pat


Welcome/Croeso to Welshpool Poetry Festival/Gwyl Farddoniaeth Y Trallwng. In this, our sixth year, we are just as determined as ever to bring you outstanding poetry and new events whilst keeping tickets great value for money. It is our mission to have broad appeal, not just to poets and poetry lovers, but also to those for whom poetry is a bit new, something they’re not sure about. Our free Open Mic is a great place to hear excellent poetry without shelling out for a ticket, and to even read to an audience for the first time – go on, what have you got to lose? For the experienced and emerging poets, there are discussions, conversations, workshops, competitions, readings and surgeries to fire up your poetry passion and help you stretch your poetry muscles. It’s going to be another good one and you’re the people who help make it, so join us again this year and let’s make some poetry!
Pat Edwards, Curator


Pascale Petit

Pascale Petit’s eighth collection, Tiger Girl, published by Bloodaxe in 2020, won a Royal Society of Literature ‘Literature Matters’ award while in progress. Her seventh collection Mama Amazonica, published by Bloodaxe in 2017, won the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize 2018 – the first time a poetry book won this prize for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry best evoking the spirit of a place. It was a Poetry Book Society Choice and also shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize. Four of Pascale’s earlier collections were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. In 2018 she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards’s first collection, My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014) received the Costa Poetry Award and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award. It was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. His second collection, Gen (Seren, 2018), also received the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award, and in 2019 his poem about Newport Bridge was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. He has read his poems on BBC radio and television and at festivals around the world, recorded them for the Poetry Archive and led workshops in schools, universities and prisons. Jonathan is the editor of Poetry Wales, a Literature Wales Mentor of emerging poets, and a Gladstone’s Library Writer-in-Residence for 2020. He lives in Crosskeys, South Wales.

Jonathan Davidson

Jonathan Davidson has spent a lifetime finding ways to release poetry into the wild. He has curated festivals, made poetry-theatre performances for the stage and radio, and published books and pamphlets. This work has focussed around the English Midlands but has also taken him to India, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Central America. He currently divides his time between the Hockley Port and Digbeth districts of Birmingham. He has two grown-up children.

James Sheard

Poet James Sheard is the author of Hotel Mastbosch (2003), Scattering Eva (2005), Dammtor (2010) and The Abandoned Settlements (2017) which was shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize. When away from his writing desk, he assists Emergency Poet Deborah Alma as poetic medic, ambulance driver and dispenser of poemcetamols. Jim’s work has received the Ictus Prize and been named Poetry Book Society’s Pamphlet Choice as well as Poetry Book Society Recommendation. It has also been shortlisted for both the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Glen Dimplex Award for Poetry. He is currently in his 13th year of teaching at Keele University. He is co-founder of the Poetry Pharmacy in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire.

Emma Purshouse

Emma Purshouse is currently the Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton.

She is a poetry slam champion (winner of the Shambala Festival Slam 2018) and performs regularly at spoken word nights and festivals far and wide, often using her native Black Country dialect in her work. Her appearances include, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Much Wenlock Poetry Festival, Latitude, WOMAD, and Solfest. She has supported the likes of John Hegley, Holly McNish and Carol Ann Duffy.

Emma has undertaken poetry residencies for Wolverhampton Libraries, The New Vic Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent and The International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge.

She writes for both children and adults.  In 2016, Emma’s first collection of children’s poetry was produced by Fair Acre Press. This dyslexia-friendly book is aimed at 6 to 11 year-olds This book won the poetry section of the Rubery Book Award in 2016.

In 2019 a piece of Emma’s writing appeared in the ‘Common People’ anthology of working class writing edited by Kit De Waal (for Unbound).

Emma has been making a living from writing and performing for the past ten years.

Aliyah Begum

Aliyah Begum is a 17 year-old Birmingham-born poet and performer, who enjoys writing for her role as Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate 2018–20 alongside her studies. She is a commended Foyle’s Young Poet, and has had her poems published in several anthologies.

Programme of Events – Cancelled

Please follow the Eventbrite booking link below for adult competition entries.

Open poetry competition

This year we will not be restricting poets to any theme. We just want your very best work in any style, on any subject. The judge will be Jonathan Edwards.

Prizes: 1st - £150. 2nd - £50. 3rd - £25 and chance to read at the festival.

This year we are giving away ten FREE single entries for the first ten people who genuinely feel they cannot afford the entry fee for whatever reason. First come, first served.

Enter now

Rules of Entry

  1. Please purchase entries via the Eventbrite link £5 for a single poem and £10 for three entries.
  2. Poems can either be emailed as a word attachment in an email to with Open Competition as the subject, or posted to Open Competition, Glasfryn, Llangynyw, Welshpool, Powys SY21 9EL.
  3. The actual poems should have no identifying details as they will be judged anonymously. The accompanying email or note should include name, address, contact number and title(s) of your poem(s).
  4. Poems should be no longer than 40 lines (excluding title and line breaks).
  5. No simultaneous submissions.
  6. The judge’s decision is final.
  7. All placed poems will appear on the website.
  8. Closing date midnight Thursday 30 April. Winners and commended ONLY will be notified by 30 May. 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed are invited to read on Saturday evening of the festival.
  9. Please read the rules carefully as, sadly, any breaches will result in automatic disqualification.