We welcomed world-renowned poets to Newcastle University campus earlier this month, including UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, for the first Newcastle Poetry Festival since before the pandemic.

Established by Newcastle University in 2015, the three-day festival was hosted at Northern Stage and broadcast around the world online. Celebrating the very best of poetry, festival-goers enjoyed performances and workshops from leading poets including Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, winner of the 2021 T.S. Eliot Prize Joelle Taylor, and Newcastle graduate Hannah Lowe, who won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2021 for her third collection of poetry.


The theme this year’s festival was ‘Emergency’, with poets, publishers, producers and readers coming together for the Emergency Poetry Summit to celebrate resilience and make the case for hope following the global events of the past few years.

Award-winning poet Hannah Lowe (pictured) completed her PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and made the return to campus to run a sonnet workshop and give a reading at the Newcastle Poetry Festival.

Newcastle Poetry Festival is produced by Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA) and our School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics (SELLL), in partnership with the Poetry Book Society, Bloodaxe Books, Born Lippy, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and The People’s Theatre.

The festival is just one example of how Newcastle University has helped enhance the cultural life of people in the North East and put Newcastle on the poetry map.



Poetry is just one of the creative arts that Newcastle University excels in. The University is what I frequently describe as a “maker space”, a vibrant home to award-winning and acclaimed musicians, artists, filmmakers, writers and cultural practitioners. “Education and research in these areas is a shared endeavour between our colleague and student communities and the rich ecosystem of partners we have in the region and nationally.

Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy-Vice Chancellor and Provost of Newcastle University

Poetry at Newcastle University

Our School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics is home to the NCLA and to some of the best poets publishing today. They include Professor Sinéad Morrissey who has received accolades including the National Poetry, Forward and TS Eliot prizes; Professor Jacob Polley who won the TS Eliot Prize for his collection Jackself and Emeritus Professor Sean O’Brien, the only poet to win the acclaimed Forward Prize for Best Collection three times.

In January 2020, poet, artist and video filmmaker Imtiaz Dharker, who was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, became Chancellor of the University.     

Newcastle University has been home to the Bloodaxe Books archive since 2013, bringing the rich history of one of the most important contemporary poetry publishing houses into Special Collections at the University's Robinson Library. And last year, the University’s Centre for the Literary Arts launched the James Berry Poetry Prize for young or emerging poets of colour with Bloodaxe Books.

Newcastle University is home to a vibrant community of world-class creative minds

We are proud to be home to a vibrant community of world-class creative minds. Our practitioners are at the forefront of their fields: TS Eliot prize winners, Turner Prize nominees, and internationally renowned folk musicians - many of whom are drawing on the traditions of past generations to create award winning contemporary music.

Our graduates are innovators, working across the globe responding to contemporary challenges through understanding our past in new ways, generating new modes of expression, and collaborating to create new knowledge.

As well as celebrating the return of Newcastle Poetry Festival in 2022, we’re also marking the 21st anniversary of our Folk and Traditional Music Degree

Alumni from this course have gone on to perform in some of the UK’s most popular folk bands including Bellowhead and Elephant Sessions. In 2021, two graduates were shortlisted for prestigious national prizes; Jen Mac was shortlisted for the inaugural Sound of Young Scotland Award, while Rachel Newton was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year. 

Professor Catrin Huber’s impressive Expanded Interiors exhibition, which was first shown in Pompeii and Herculaneum, transferred to the University’s Hatton Gallery earlier this year. The Hatton also showed Print Goes Pop, which featured work by Andy Warhol, Roy Liechtenstein and Eduardo Paolozzi. 

Our Cultural and Creative Worlds

Culture matters. From childhood to later life, heritage, culture and creativity shape our identities and our communities. Through culture we can be challenged and learn, it improves our wellbeing, and enriches our lives. Together, we create and care for our past, steward the present, and forge our future. We are Newcastle, for the world: from our pasts and for our tomorrows.

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