Six brilliant poets in one evening at Milton Keynes Literary Festival

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MK Lit Fest has established a reputation for bringing the city the very best in current UK poetry, and the next event in their Online Programme is no exception. On 28 November, they welcome to their screens – and yours – the Red Door Poets, plus three very special guests.

The Red Door Poets are a collective of writers who meet weekly behind a red door - well, where else? - to workshop their writing. They also hold bi-monthly public readings on Zoom with guest readers, and MK Lit Fest are delighted to be the hosts of their next exclusive gathering. Tickets (free/optional donation) are available now at

The GuestsHelen Ivory is a poet and collage artist who edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and teaches creative writing online for the UEA/NCW. Her fifth collection, The Anatomical Venus, examined how women have been portrayed as ‘other’; as witches; as hysterics with wandering wombs and as beautiful corpses cast in wax. She was awarded Arts Council of England funding to research her next collection, Constructing a Witch, which fixes on the monstering and scapegoating of women. She also has work translated into Polish, Ukrainian, Spanish, Greek and Croatian as part of Versopolis.

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Paul Stephenson helps curate Poetry in Aldeburgh, and his debut collection, Hard Drive, was published by Carcanet in summer 2023, following three earlier pamphlets: Those Peop>le (Smith/Doorstop, 2015), The Days that Followed Paris (HappenStance, 2016), written after the November 2015 terrorist attacks; and Selfie with Waterlilies (Paper Swans Press, 2017).

Red Door Poets at MK Literary FestivalRed Door Poets at MK Literary Festival
Red Door Poets at MK Literary Festival

Fiona Larkin’s debut collection, Rope of Sand, was published by Pindrop Press in 2023. The title poem was highly commended in the Forward Prizes. Her pamphlets are Vital Capacity (Broken Sleep Books, 2022) and A Dovetail of Breath (2020), and she manages innovative projects with Corrupted Poetry.

The Red Door PoetsRepresenting the Red Door Poets as part of the evening's offerings are three of their own finest talents:

This year, Mary Mulholland’s poems have been published poetry journals, highly commended in the Bridport Prize, and longlisted in the National Poetry Prize and in Rialto Nature & Place, among others. Her debut pamphlet is What the sheep taught me (Live Canon, 2022). She founded and co-runs Red Door Poets and co-founded and co-edits The Alchemy Spoon.

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According to Roger McGough, the musician and poet Chris Hardy ‘consistently hits the right note, never hits a false note’. Widely published in poetry journals, his latest collection, Key to the Highway, was published in 2022 by Shoestring Press. Lesley Sharpe teaches literature and writing in London. Her poems, reviews and essays have been published in a number of journals and anthologies, as well as short and long-listed for prizes including The London Magazine, Aesthetica, Fish, Rialto and Bridport. She edited Heron magazine for the Katherine Mansfield Society from 2017-2021, and co-founded Lodestone Poets (who’ve previously brought their own superb line-ups to MK Lit Fest).For more about both these exciting opportunities, visit the MK Lit Fest website.

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