A celebration of poetry with Roger McGough

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As Friday 8th September, the deadline for entry to the Shelley Memorial Project’s annual poetry competition approaches, preparations are underway for a fabulous poetry celebration and prize-giving event.

Following the announcement of the winners by competition judge and poet Simon Zec, the celebration event will take place in St Margaret's Church, Warnham on 14th October 2023. The event organisers are delighted that the poet, performer and Radio 4 presenter Roger McGough has agreed to present the prizes and read some of his own poetry at the event.

Roger McGough has published over 100 poetry books for adults and children and has been called ‘the patron saint of poetry’ and ‘the godfather of modern poetry’. He was one of the Liverpool poets, alongside Adrian Henri and Brian Patten who influenced popular culture in the sixties. The Mersey Sound published in 1967 is one of the bestselling poetry anthologies of all time, selling over a million copies. In the 1960’s with John Gorman, and Mike McGear he formed The Scaffold, performing a combination of comic songs, poetry and sketches who had several top 20 singles including the hit song ‘Lily the Pink’.

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Roger has won numerous awards including The Cholmondeley Award in 1988, received the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in 2001, and was awarded a CBE in 2004. A Fellow of The Royal Society and President of The Poetry Society he presents the popular Radio 4 Poetry Please series. His most recent books include Safety in Numbers written during the covid pandemic, as well as books for children, including Over to You, Crocodile Tears and Money Go Round.

Shelley Memorial Project welcomes Roger McGough to their Celebration of Poet. Shelley Memorial Project welcomes Roger McGough to their Celebration of Poet.
Shelley Memorial Project welcomes Roger McGough to their Celebration of Poet.

Carol Hayton, the Shelley Memorial Poetry competition secretary, commented, ’With the attendance of one of Britain's best loved poets, and plans for music and poetry performances, the celebration evening is bound to be a wonderful event. Tickets will shortly be available via Eventbrite, look out for details on our website and Facebook pages; enquiries about early bookings can be made by contacting us via our email address: [email protected]

In the meantime, the competition is still open for entries. Full details of how to enter can be found on the competition page of our website. This year, to encourage more local people to take inspiration from our great Sussex poet, we are awarding an additional prize, The Shelly Memorial Cup, to the best poem written by a Sussex based poet. ‘

The Shelley Memorial Project is very grateful for the support of the Radical Tea Towel Company and The Steyning Bookshop who have sponsored the competition prizes. The Shelley Memorial Project organises events throughout the year and always welcomes support from sponsors. If you would like to support the project in this way, please contact the Shelley Memorial Project by email at : [email protected]

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The funds raised by The Shelley Memorial Project will contribute to the commissioning of a public artwork to be installed in Horsham Park to commemorate Shelley's life and work and celebrate Horsham's literary heritage. The Project committee is always interested in hearing from anyone who would like to help, with their fundraising, media work, events organisation or committee work. If you would like to find out more about how you can help please contact the Shelley Memorial Project via the email address above.

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