Free Verse is an all-day bazaar, market, library, meeting place, performance venue, information resource and more. Celebrating the vitality of contemporary poetry in the UK, publishers both large and small, both experimental and traditional, display and sell their work direct to the public.
We’re delighted to announce this year's Poetry Book Fair will be held on Saturday 17th September at Conway Hall in London. It should feel just the same (though with a little more space for browsing this year!), with 80+ publishers and free readings and discussions through the day, followed by a lively evening at the nearby Square Pig & Pen pub.
We’ve been thinking a lot about the future of the Fair. We know we can’t rely on the Arts Council to provide funding every year and, as we want the Fair to keep happening, we know it needs to be more sustainable than it is at present. So, this year we’re going to try and make the fair self-sufficient, making it a more robust organisation which we can grow organically in the future. As a result, there’ll be some changes – but there’ll also be a lot that stays the same. The fair and all the readings will still be free to enter; we’re still going to offer travel bursaries to get publishers in from afar.
But we do have some plans. We ran a successful competition last year and plan to run another, launching soon. The Free Verse: Poetry Book Fair Competition will let people support us whilst being creative – and it means we’ll have a selection of our own audience’s new work at the fair, displayed around the venue and celebrated at a dedicated reading on the day.
We’re also going to be publishing an Essential Guide to this year's Poetry Publishers. It will build on the idea of the guide we’ve produced in previous years, with poems from each publisher, but will be expanded to include tips and articles – a real snapshot of the current poetry publishing climate. It'll also be available ahead of the fair, so people can get a stronger sense of the presses they want to explore on the day. We're very excited about the idea – watch this space!
First things first. We're opening table registration so we can figure out what the fair will look like. Please see the Table Registration page for details if you are a publisher.
Otherwise, please put the date in your diary and, if you want to be the first to hear our news in the future, about the fair, the book or the competition, you can sign up to our mailing list here, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.