THE MAGIC of spoken word was celebrated during a 'wonderful' and 'hugely successful' opening weekend of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.

And organisers have said there is much more to come as the festival enters its final weekend, with a Pulitzer prize winner flying over to Ledbury for an exclusive performance.  

The opening weekend of the festival included a school day event with Nicola Davies, where youngsters were able to write a poem about whales inspired by her book Star Whale. 

Ledbury Library enjoyed several stellar shows of performances and poetry including a visit from Alex Wharton, the Children’s Laureate of Wales. 

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Mr Wharton entertained the audience with readings from his work and presented the ten winners of the Ledbury Young Poets Award with their prizes.

Poet and novelist Jackie Kay takes to the stage. Poet and novelist Jackie Kay takes to the stage. (Image: Ledbury Poetry Festival)

Away from poetry, there were stunning performances outdoors by the 2FacedDance company of ‘Fish Boy’, their new show about rivers. 

And on the main stages, there were sell-out performances by Jackie Kay and Brian Bilston as well as superstar ‘my life in poetry’ conversations with BBC Broadcasters Jules Hudson and Mona Siddiqui.

Nicola Davis captivates her audience.Nicola Davis captivates her audience. (Image: Ledbury Poetry Festival)

Becky Shaw, who helped organise the festival, said: "It has been wonderful so far, we have had the best of times and have had sell-out audiences at many of our events. 

Poet Nicola Davies with children from Ledbury Primary School pretending to be whalesPoet Nicola Davies with children from Ledbury Primary School pretending to be whales (Image: Ledbury Poetry Festival)

"We are really thrilled with the interest in the show, its been amazing to see people's willingness to celebrate not just poetry but other creative arts too.

"We have been able to get poetry to step out of its formal box and show how wonderful it is."

This weekend's festival finale will see Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon fly over from America to Ledbury for an exclusive appearance. 

Brian Bilston entertains a sell-out crowd. Brian Bilston entertains a sell-out crowd. (Image: Ledbury Poetry Festival)

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will also be reading from his new collection Blossomise, while the Writer's Award winner Liz Berry will be performing The Home Child with violinist Ruth Angell.

On Saturday night, people will be treated to the Ledbury Poetry Slam, while Sunday will see the festival's annual celebration day outside the town's library, packed with market stalls and performers. 

Visit or head into the Ledbury Poetry House for more information or to book tickets.