THE outbreak of the First World War will be marked with a series of centenary events and readings at Winchester’s inaugural poetry festival.

War commemorations are at the heart of the first Winchester Poetry Festival, which takes place across the city from September 12 to 14.

Sasha Dugdale, poet and editor of Modern Poetry in Translation, will host a reading by Whitbread Prize winner Michael Longley and nominee David Constantine in the atmospheric War Cloister of Winchester College, featuring poems by College pupils past and present.

The city will host the awards ceremony for a new international poetry competition in memory of British war poet Wilfred Owen, who died in action one week before Armistice Day. Winning poems, including the best work by a poet under 19 years, will be read at the ceremony by their authors.

The festival will also remember Hampshire poet Edward Thomas, who died at Arras in 1917, and exhibit war-themed artwork from county sculptor Robert Truscott in Winchester Cathedral.

Festival chairman Robert Hutchison said: “One of our priorities for this first festival has been to highlight the poetry of the First World War. We shall also be remembering, through poetry, other conflicts across the world.”

The festival takes place in venues across Winchester from September 12 to 14. To find out more or book tickets visit