Kate Fox Named Poet of the Fair at LBF 2020

Kate Fox Named Poet of the Fair at LBF 2020

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Award-winning stand-up poet, Kate Fox, has been named as The London Book Fair’s 2020 Poet of the Fair, as the poetry line-up for 10-12 March is revealed.

With sessions exploring the relationship between poetry and: music, the climate emergency, fashion, children, the digital world, and across cultures and languages, as well as readings and “in conversations”, the 2020 poetry line-up features leading poets and poetry experts from around the world.

Kate Fox – who has performed at Glastonbury and on BBC One and Two, been resident poet on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, and is a regular guest on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb – is Poet of the Fair, in conversation with National Poetry Day’s Mónica Parle on Wednesday 11 March.

Other poetry highlights at The London Book Fair include:

  • Manchester’s best-loved poet Tony Walsh (aka Longfella) who came to wider attention after reading his poem, This is the Place, to the crowds gathered in Albert Square in Manchester following the Manchester Arena bomb attack;
  • Instagram poet, Nikita Gill (500K followers), who has written and curated six volumes of poetry and been described as “one of the most exciting young writers working today”, will be in discussion with her mentor and National Poetry Day ambassador, Kate Clanchy;
  • BookTuber extraordinaire Ariel Bissett (160K subscribers on her channel); a session on Poetry and Place with the National Trust;
  • A panel on poetry and the climate emergency with spoken word eco poet Zena Edwards and Poetry School director, Sally Carruthers;
  • A session with European poetry platform, Versopolis;
  • Readings and performances from the likes of: Indian poet and activist, Shalim M Hussain, performance poet Scarlet Sabet, and award-winning Emirati poet and Author of the Day, Afra Atiq;
  • Sessions with the likes of the Poetry Book Society, National Poetry Day, NCLA, CLPE, Burning Eye Books and Emirati poets Salha Obaid, Reem Al-Kamali, Khulood Al Mu’alla, and Sultan AlAmeemi;
  • A seminar on the growing trend for Catalan poetry in translation.

Hailed as “one of the brightest new stars on the international poetry scene”, Scarlett Sabet will be performing selected poems from her collections. She will also be in conversation with musician Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) to discuss their latest collaboration: Catalyst, a spoken word album, produced by Page, that re-imagines and re-explores poems from Scarlett’s collections against experimental sonic texturing.

Kate Fox, Poet of the Fair, commented: “I’m so chuffed to be selected as Poet of the Fair (a pleasingly rhythmic title). I’ve been Poet in Residence for all sorts of things – from the Glastonbury Festival to the Great North Run – but to be around people whose world is books and who love the power of words will be a particular pleasure.”

Jacks Thomas, Director, The London Book Fair, added: “Lively, busy, passionate: the Poets’ Corner at LBF is always buzzing and, with a programme like this, 2020 looks set to inspire. There is an incredible range of acclaimed poets reading their own work, and discussions around the most important issues connected with poetry today, it’s certainly not to be missed.”

The Poet’s Corner Line-Up, is sponsored by National Book Council and supported by, Forward Arts Foundation, National Poetry Day and the Poetry Book Society.

Poetry highlights across The London Book Fair include: 

  • Poetry Planet: How can poets and writers unite to tackle the current climate emergency? with Sally Carruthers, Director at Poetry School, and Zena Edwards, spoken word eco poet. Poets’ Corner, Tuesday 10 March, 10:00-11:00
  • Emerging voices: a performance and conversation with Scarlett Sabet. Hailed by Hunger Magazine as “one of the brightest new stars on the international poetry scene”, London-based poet and performer Scarlett Sabet will perform selected poems from her four collections. Poets’ Corner, Tuesday 10 March, 11:00-11:15
  • Verse in Vogue: an Insider’s Guide to Poetry and Fashion with poet, Greta Bellamacina. Poets’ Corner, Tuesday 10 March, 11:30-12:30
  • Building an Audience for Children’s Poetry with Steve Camden, aka Polar Bear, and Charlotte Hacking, CLPE. Poets’ Corner, Tuesday 10 March, 13:00-14:00
  • Arabic Language in Emirati Literature. How is Arabic spoken and written today and what influences affect this? How do dialects feature in contemporary Emirati literature? With writers Salha Obaid, Reem Al-Kamali, and translator Adam Talib. The Cross-Cultural Hub. Tuesday 10 March, 13:00-14:00
  • Poetry and the Digital Sphere: a Catalyst for Success. Scarlett Sabet In Conversation with Jimmy Page. Fireside Chats @ The Podcast Theatre, Tuesday 10 March, 14:30-15:30
  • PBS Spring Showcase: The Poetry Book Society presents two of the most exciting new poets from their much-anticipated PBS Spring Selections, with Will Harris and Jennifer Wong. Poets’ Corner, Tuesday 10 March, 16:00-17:00
  • Catalan Poetry in English. An Unexpected Trend. With an outstanding tradition and a vibrant contemporary scene, Catalan Poetry was there waiting to be found by a global reading community. Poets and translators Anne Crowe and Noelia Diaz Vicedo, along with Catalan poet and of PEN International Executive Director Carles Torner, will discuss the names and the books that explain this success, and read a selection of poems in English and Catalan. Poets’ Corner, Tuesday 10 March, 17:30-18:30
  • Poetry with Shalim M Hussain. Indian poet, translator, activist and 2020 Charles Wallace India Trust Literary Translation and Creative Writing Fellow at Literature Across Frontiers. Poets’ Corner, Wednesday 11 March, 11:00-11:15
  • Malta poetry. Poets’ Corner, Wednesday 11 March, 11:30-12:30
  • POETRY SUMMIT: The Poetry-Digital Connection: what can poetry and digital do better together? Organised by Forward Arts Foundation, featuring broadcaster Gyles Brandreth on the astonishing power of poetry tea-parties to turn virtual communities into real life ones. Club Room (Olympia National Gallery), Wednesday 11 March, 11:30-14:00
  • Poetry with Afra Atiq, Author of the Day. Award-winning Emirati poet, and LBF Author of the Day, Afra Atiq will perform a reading. Poets’ Corner, Wednesday 11 March, 13:00-14:00
  • Khulood Al Mu’alla in conversation. Khulood Al Mu’alla is a prominent Emirati poet and journalist, whose six poetry collections and anthologies have been translated into Spanish, Turkish, and Italian. Her work has been hailed as the combination of poetry and science, appropriate given her early training as an architect. English PEN Literary Salon, Wednesday 11 March, 13:15-13:45
  • Poetry & Place: The National Trust, PBS and Poetry Society discuss their exciting new poetry projects bringing places of natural and historic importance to life. Poets’ Corner, Wednesday 11 March, 14:30-15:30
  • Poet of the Fair, Kate Fox, in Conversation with Mónica Parle. Poets’ Corner, Wednesday 11 March, 16:00-17:00
  • Sultan AlAmeemi in conversation. Critic, poet, novelist and director of the Arab Poetry Academy, the first specialized academy for poetry in the Arab World. English PEN Literary Salon, Wednesday 11 March, 15:00-15:30
  • Drinks Reception with Poet of the Fair: Join the Poet of the Fair, Kate Fox, for a drinks reception.Poets’ Corner, Wednesday 11 March, 17:30-18:30
  • Versopolis: Versopolis festival and S J Fowler take to the stage with a selection of Europe’s finest poets. Poets’ Corner, Thursday 12 March, 10:00-11:00
  • Malta sponsored slot. Poets’ Corner, Thursday 12 March, 11:30-12:30
  • Pubs, clubs and football pitches: poetry beyond the bookshop. Tony Walsh, aka Manchester’s best-loved poet, Longfella, with Clive Birnie. Poets’ Corner, Thursday 12 March, 13:00-14:00
  • Hashtag Poetry: Ariel Bissett BookTuber extraordinaire discusses creating a brand and maintaining an online community. Poets’ Corner, Thursday 12 March, 14:30-15:30
  • Permission to Speak: how the new generation of poets is reshaping the canon. With Nikita Gill and Kate Clanchy. Poets’ Corner, Thursday 12 March, 16:00-17:00

Poet of the Fair was first introduced at The London Book Fair in 2018 with Imtiaz Dharker as the inaugural Poet of the Fair. Raymond Antrobus was Poet of the Fair in 2019.


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