Announcing our 2021 programme

Join us from the comfort of your own home for four jam-packed days of readings, workshops and events. With twenty-three to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice.

This year, for the first time, all of our events (excluding workshops) are FREE. Registration will give you access to all our main events, enabling you to drop in and out to attend the performances that most interest you. 

Our exciting line-up features a plethora of talent. Benjamin Zephaniah will share his Desert Island Poems with Rhian Edwards. Cerys Matthews presents her new poetry/music crossover album We Come From the Sun, and there will be readings from poetry stars like Tishani Doshi, Joe Dunthorne, Pascale Petit, Patience Agbabi, Katrina Naomi and Kim Moore.   

We celebrate the fantastic literary culture we have here in Wales. In the annual Meic Stephens Lecture, Professor M. Wynn Thomas will discuss his book The History of Wales in Twelve Poems with poet Gwyneth Lewis, while Poetry Wales hosts a party with various guest readers from the magazine.

We showcase emerging new voices such as Natalie Ann Holborow, Mari Ellis Dunning, Abeer Ameer and Alex Wharton, as well as more familiar artists like Paul Henry and Brian Briggs (of Stornaway) performing their music/poetry collaboration, Cave Songs. Christopher Meredith is launching both his novel Please and poetry collection Still, whose publication side by side on the same day is a rare, if not unique, publishing event.

Renowned Welsh-language poets Mererid Hopwood and Menna Elfyn expand the narrow walls of Lockdown through poetry from their own rooms on either side of the river Tywi in Ceisio’r Neuadd Fawr (Seeking the Large Hall). There will be dual-language readings from Troeon : Turnings, a Welsh/English collaboration between Philip Gross, Cyril Jones and artist Valerie Coffin Price; and Let Me Tell You What I Saw, an Arabic/English translation of Adnan Al-Sayegh epic poem Uruk’s Anthem translated by Jenny Lewis.   

For poetry enthusiasts, we also have several workshops with tutors such as Jonathan Edwards, Tishani Doshi, Katrina Naomi and Christina Thatcher. Spaces are limited through so book fast to avoid disappointment!

Other contributors include Moniza Alvi, Dai George, Fred D’Aguiar, Caroline Smith, Rob Mackenzie, Zoë Brigley, Kristian Evans, Ruth Awad, Sean Hewitt, Jenny Mitchell, Laura Wainright, So Mayer, Anne-Marie Fyfe, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, Alan Gillis, Merrie Joy Williams, Jessica Mookherjee, David Clarke, Amanda Rackstraw, Elizabeth Burnett, Polly Atkin, Angela Graham, Rosalind Hudis, Mir Mafuz Ali, Robert Walton, Raymond Antrobus and Belinda Zhawi.

The Festival aims to be as accessible and inclusive as possible, with a mix of measures including live captioning, making poems available as text, and having audio description of images. Several events will be accompanied by sign language interpretation. Go to our Accessibility page for full details of the steps we’re taking to improve inclusivity.

We hope you can join us for what promises to be a fantastic four days!

New Client Partnership with the Rhys Davies Trust

Following our incredibly successful third festival, we are delighted to share that we have funding to continue for another three years thanks to financial support from the Rhys Davies Trust.

The Rhys Davies Trust was established in 1991 with funds provided by Lewis Davies, the brother of the author.  It seeks to foster Welsh writing in English, especially in the valleys of South Wales, and in the genres in which Rhys Davies wrote.

The Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival is one of five new Welsh-based client partners taken on by the Trust. Collectively these organisations provide a dynamic and innovative series of creative initiatives designed to celebrate the past of Wales’ long tradition of literary achievement through the medium of English and build towards its future.

Alongside the Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival, the new Rhys Davies Trust Client Partners are: Parthian Books, DylanED, the educational arm of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, the South Wales Miners’ Library, and Literature Wales.

The creation of Rhys Davies Trust Client Partners represents the culmination of the Trust’s work over the past three decades. The work of Rhys Davies as well as his influence and interests will live on. 

What this means for us

The Trust’s support will enable us to continue to present some of the best poetry in the world from a range of international poets bringing back to the capital a literary experience of a kind not seen since the Commonwealth Poetry Festival of 1965. Festival Director Amy Wack will take poetry lovers to places they have not been before. The festival will also include the new annual Meic Stephens Lecture on poetry begun in 2020 with a lecture on the career of renowned Welsh poet and documentary maker John Ormond. The 2021 Festival will also take poets into Cardiff schools as part of a programme of increased educational activity.

“We are incredibly grateful to the trust for supporting the festival and its growth over the next few years. We are excited to begin planning for 2021 and look forward to continuing to bring fantastic authors, and their poetry, to Cardiff from all over Wales, the UK and beyond.” – Amy Wack, Festival Director

For more information on the initiatives and programmes supported by the Trust visit http://www.rhysdaviestrust.org/