The fourth Ted Hughes Poetry Festival took place over the weekend of 7 – 9 September 2018. We devised an exciting and diverse programme of events at venues in and around Mexborough, including readings and performances from acclaimed poets Moor MotherMike Garry and Kate Fox.

The festival weekend followed several one-off events earlier in 2018, including a tribute to John Fisher (Ted Hughes’s English teacher), a poetry walk through Carlton Marsh with Steve Ely (in search of the elusive willow tit), and Ian McMillan’s Mexborough stroll (in search of Ted Hughes and Elvis Presley).

The 2018 festival weekend opened at Mexborough Business Centre on Friday 7 September, with a dynamic performance by Philadelphia’s Moor Mother and a Hive South Yorkshire young writers’ showcase. Saturday offered the opportunity to take part in a range of activities, starting with a workshop for young writers led by Moor Mother (followed by our popular ‘Democracy of Words’ collective performance on Mexborough High Street). At the Business Centre, Matthew Clegg presented a talk and workshop on the Caribbean poet Derek Walcott, while Mike Garry led a workshop ahead of his evening performance. Later that afternoon, Steve Ely discussed the developments that have enriched our understanding of Hughes’s work in the 20 years since his death in ‘Ted Hughes: 20 Years On’. An unmissable line-up of Pete Green, Mike GarryKate Fox, and The Mixtape Tour with Nick Makoha and Roger Robinson brought Saturday’s programme to a fitting conclusion.

On Sunday 9 September, we revisited the paths and perspectives of Ted Hughes’s Paper Round (recently featured on Radio 4’s The Echo Chamber) led by Steve Ely and Dominic Somers: a collective walk in the footsteps of the young Hughes, from Mexborough to Old Denaby, with readings along the route.