Aldeburgh is the UK’s pre-eminent annual celebration of contemporary poetry, internationally renowned for the range and quality of its programme and for attracting the biggest audiences. This year’s Aldeburgh Poetry Festival takes place 6 – 8 November weekend and will be the first Festival to be run by Ellen McAteer, who took over as Director of The Poetry Trust this year.

With the Festival’s trademark mix of well known or international names, lesser-known voices and exceptional newcomers, the weekend features a fresh line-up of 30 poets from thirteen countries. They’ll take part in 65 interconnecting events, 21 free, across twelve venues in Aldeburgh and at Snape Maltings: readings, workshops, discussions, craft-talks, close-readings, performances and exhibitions. An immersive weekend of the best of today’s poetry.


The four main readings form the backbone of the programme. Friday night gets the weekend off to a powerful start with Jamaica’s Kei Miller, Forward Prize winner and Next Generation poet; Helen Mort, Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize winner; and Jeremy Reed, rock star biographer and author of over fifty books. 

Saturday morning presents a trio of contrasting, complementary voices: the journeys of Cuban-born Jane Duran, Ireland’s eloquent Peter Sirr, and the London/Bajan vocal mix of Dorothea Smartt. On Saturday night the international character of the Festival continues: the bluesy laments of Kim Addonizio (USA); John Burnside (Scotland) on the natural world; and from France, Valérie Rouzeau, a very ‘unacademic’ poet, shows us why she is so in demand in her native country.

Sunday afternoon’s three-hander closes the Festival and offers yet another world-class trio, all phenomenal readers: from Kurdistan, Choman Hardi, launches her second UK collection; America’s Tony Hoagland gives his acerbic, witty take on contemporary life; and finally, Pedro Serrano, from Mexico, asks us to rethink, re-imagine and re-envision the world and our place in it.

Always supportive of emerging talent, the Festival showcases four emerging and very distinctive poets – Zaffar Kunial, Miriam Nash, Rebecca Watts and Christie Williamson – in the always absorbing New Voices event.

Good Grief on Saturday afternoon with Jack Rooke, co-written with his 85-year old Nan, blends storytelling, poetry, comedy and film and Hollie McNish, a seriously popular live performer, performs on Sunday afternoon delivering poems with an utterly endearing warmth on tricky topical issues.  And there’s also high-energy punk poet and songwriter Atilla the Stockbroker taking no prisoners on the Saturday night late slot.


The Poetry Trust’s Director, Ellen McAteer says, “I can’t wait for my first APF! We have a diverse and truly international mix of poets, great events for all ages, and a beautiful setting. It’s a dream!”

To book tickets, call the Box Office 01728 687110 or online at To find out more about the Festival programme and to read poems by this year’s Festival poets visit


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