First-ever Ted Hughes Poetry Festival set for Mexborough

Poet Ted Hughes
Poet Ted Hughes

The first ever Ted Hughes Poetry Festival is taking place in the celebrated poet’s childhood town of Mexborough this weekend.

Poets, writers and musicians are set to descend on the town for a three day celebration of the former poet laureate’s work and life.

Events will take place between Friday, July 3, and Sunday, July 5, in and around the former Mexborough Grammar School, now Mexborough Business Centre on College Road, which Ted attended as a youngster.

The festival has been organised by Doncaster-based arts project Right Up Our Street in collaboration with a group of Hughes’ supporters.

Dominic Somers, arts supporter for Right Up Our Street, said: “This event is a long time coming and lots of people have worked very hard to put on this special chance to explore Hughes’s formative years in Mexborough while also engaging with performances by some of the best contemporary poets around. We are sure that the festival will develop creativity — poetry, writing and art — in and around Mexborough, in Hughes’s name.”

Ted moved to Mexborough from West Yorkshire when he was aged seven and lived in the town from 1938-51. He was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998. He is often ranked as one of the best poets of his generation.

Poet and author Steve Ely will kick off the festival with a talk entitled ‘Made in Mexborough: Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire’ on Friday at 5.30pm, followed by a poetry reading by Ian Parks and folk songs performed by Mick Jenkinson.

Other planned events include creative writing workshops, pop up performances and poetry giveaways. For more information visit