The biggest poetry festival in the UK returns to Ledbury next week with its first full schedule since before the pandemic.

Ledbury Poetry Festival has pulled out all the stops, with some of the biggest names in poetry headlining a 10-day programme of events.

Live readings, performances, workshops, open mic events, exhibitions, films and a poetry slam will take place in venues around the town from July 1-10.

Festival director Chloe Garner said: “It’s wonderful to be able to throw open our doors and our arms again and welcome friends back to Ledbury.

“The community here was so tight and close during lockdown, we all saw it through together.

Ledbury Reporter: Live events will take place around the town, with many also live-streamedLive events will take place around the town, with many also live-streamed

“The festival is an opportunity to put on our glad rags again and share what we love about this town with all our visitors.”

The festival went largely online during the pandemic, with events held virtually, and many of this year’s events will be live-streamed, opening them up to as big an audience as possible.

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A sense of release and party can be seen in the programming, with a huge range of evening music and entertainment from stars including Alistair McGowan, Hollie McNish and John Hegley alongside stunning performers Jasmine Gardosi, Anthony Joseph and Steven Camden (Polarbear).

International stars coming to Ledbury Poetry Festival

Ledbury Poetry’s international ambitions can be seen once more - there is a strong American presence with superstar poets Nicole Sealey, Forrest Gander, Kevin Young and Deborah Landau.

Looking eastwards, the festival welcomes Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian voices – Iryna Tsilyk, Valzhyna Mort and Maria Galina.

“We’re also blessed with an amazing generation of UK poets to celebrate here,” added Chloe. “Caleb Femi and Victoria Adukwei Bulley are on a meteoric trajectory, and we’re thrilled to be hearing them here for the first time.”

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Organisers say the festival is also a chance to give words to the griefs, anxieties and fears of the last two years.

Strands of mortality, empathy and care are reflected in the programme with writers like Michael Rosen, Thomas Lynch and Alyson Hallett, Polly Atkin and the inspiring Hannah Hodgson.

Tickets are still available from but some events have already sold out so hurry if there’s something you really want to see.