Begun in 1983, and running for around twenty years, Beeston Poets saw the likes of Carol Anne Duffy and Wendy Cope visit Beeston Library to read in what was, for a time, the only regular series of poetry readings in Nottinghamshire. After a hiatus of a decade Beeston Poets is back, with three events over the next two months.
The first reading will see Jackie Kay visit on 20 October. Kay has written poetry, prose and plays in a career that has spanned more than two decades. The Adoption Papers, an award winning collection in the early nineties that dealt with issues of parenthood, love, and adoption, subjects close to the heart of Kay, herself adopted, and it signalled the arrival of a powerful new voice in poetry. Her many books include a children’s novel, Strawgirl, a collection of poetry about jazz and the singer Bessie Smith and Trumpet, a story of a female jazz trumpeter who lived as a man that won the Guardian fiction award in 1998.
Neil Astley, editor and founder of Bloodaxe Books, is the reader at the second event, on 24 November. Astley has written two novels (one of which, The End Of My Tether, was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award), and has written and edited many collections of poetry, including the widely acclaimed Staying Alive trilogy.
Andy Croft is the final poet to visit, on 8 December. A prolific writer, his most recent book is 1948 (chosen by the Guardian as its paperback of the week), a novel written in Pushkin Sonnets that sees Winston Smith investigate a murder and eventually run across a novel by one George Orwell, in which a world not entirely unlike our own seems a terrifying dystopia. Croft also runs Smokestack Books.
Beeston Poets has been put together by the Nottingham Poetry Society, Five Leaves Publications and Nottinghamshire Libraries. Every event in the series will take place at Beeston Library. Tickets can be purchased from the library or via post (the address and other details can be found on their website). Tickets are £10 (£8 for concessions) for the first event, or a season ticket for all three planned events in the series can be had for £22 (£18 for concessions).