It's sheer poetry at Wells festival

Distinguished wordsmiths and budding new writers together celebrated the beauty of poetry at special festival on the north Norfolk coast at the weekend.

Distinguished wordsmiths and budding new writers together celebrated the beauty of poetry at a festival on the north Norfolk coast at the weekend.

The three-day Poetry-next-the-Sea event at Wells included a packed programme of poetry performances, workshops and art exhibitions.

Caroline Gilfillan, chairman of the festival committee, said: "This was the twelfth year of the festival which has developed as the years have gone by. The festival is now at its ideal size

and this year's festival was

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"Hundreds of people came to Poetry-next-the-Sea and we had excellent audiences.

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"A festival like this is a huge asset to Wells. People who live here are proud of it because it is unusual to have a poetry festival like this in such a small town.

"Poetry-next-the-Sea is a celebration of poetry and those who love poetry

in the beautiful setting of Wells in May."

Among the acclaimed writers to take part was novelist Louis de Bernieres, who praised the festival.

He said: "Culture is universal and belongs to everyone. I think there is a great thirst for this sort of thing and perhaps especially in remote and rural places. Poetry is spiritual food."

Some of the many other notable writers at the festival were Fleur Adcock and Hugo Williams, both winners of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, and award-winning poet, dramatist and novelist Michael Symmons Roberts.

Students from local schools also took part in the event and on Sunday East Anglian poets Dean Parkin, from Suffolk, and Andrea Porter, who lives near Cambridge, were joined by the winners of the Norwich Caf� Writers Commission - Meirion Jordan, Kelly Kanayama and Ben Parker.

Members of the public were invited to read their own work too during an open floor event when the winners of the festival's Poetry-next-the-Sea Open Poetry Competition were also announced.

More than 100 poems were

entered into the competition with

Rob Knee, from North Walsham, winning the adult category with

his poem Ark. Dot Cobley, from Cromer, came second with Island, and Andrew Cannon, from Kelling,

came third with December Dawn at Cley.

Thirteen-year-old Eleanor Trend, from Wells, scooped the top prize for the 13 to 16-year-old age group for her poem called In Memory of My Great Grandfather, Edward Theo Trend.

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