South Downs Poetry Festival, SDPF, is a new annual festival which – uniquely – spans many miles; the length and breadth of the beautiful South Downs National Park. 2016 was SDPF’s inaugural year with 63 events over nine days in July 2016. Our début programme included events in Lewes, Ditchling, Singleton, Midhurst and Petersfield; as well as a four day Poetry Bike Tour with poetry performances from Eastbourne to East Meon; and, finally, putting on an event-filled 3 days over a weekend in and around Petersfield in Hampshire. Contributors included Andrew McMillan, Jonathan Edwards, Rhymes with Orange, Maggie Sawkins, Stephanie Norgate, Jackie Wills, Hugh Dunkerley, Jonathan Edwards, Hilda Sheehan, John Greening, John Davies, Janet Sutherland, Penelope Shuttle, Brendan Cleary, Matthew Caley, John Haynes, Audi Maserati, Speech Painter, Peter Sutton and Attila The Stockbroker.
SDPF is a community charitable trust. All trustees and advisers work unpaid and we rely on generous support from our sponsors and of course you to buy tickets.
Tim Dawes, Festival Director
Tim has had many years’ experience, having previously founded and directed Havant Literary Festival: “A plucky little festival, determined to bring literature to the people of Havant, whether they want it or not”. Anthony Gardner, Intelligent Life magazine.
is a poet of considerable lyrical power. A trustee of SDPF, Wendy, is one of our closest advisers and brings an extensive experience of the poetry world to the mix.
is a much admired outsider poet. Professor of shade avoidance and skylarking at the wholly imagined dada institute of disembodied poetics, he lives in Petersfield. We couldn’t ask Audi to be a trustee as he is allergic to committees, therefore, because we love him to bits and his advice is always worth
listening to, we have given him instead the official title of “Sidekick to the Festival Director”.
is a fine poet and much-respected poetry group organiser who lives in Pulborough. Mandy is a trustee of SDPF and is especially involved in organising events in Ditchling and Lewes.
is the trustee that drew the short straw and acts as our treasurer. He lives on Hayling Island in Hampshire with one wife and two dogs and writes haunting poetry drawn from personal experience and reflection.
is our Administrative Officer. She has run the Havant Poetry Prize for the last
two years and with SDPF incorporating this established prize, Maureen has come on board to run the competition and much more besides,
We have a set of patrons who support the aims of the festival. They are:
Attila The Stockbroker
The legendary Shoreham-based ranting poet
Winner of the Costa Poetry Prize 2012
Cllr. Susan Murray
Mayor of Lewes 2015/16
Winner of the Ted Hughes Prize 2015
We have had fantastic advice and support from many many people in the poetry world, but we must
just mention the simply marvellous, Hilda Sheehan, whose work with Poetry Swindon and their
festival we so much admire and has been a grea
t help to us.