Portrait Edward Thomas
Edward Thomas

Padiham Unitarian Chapel is to host its third annual ‘Poetry Festival of the North’ in June 2017.   This year the festival is entitled: ‘Edward Thomas and the English War Poets’.   

It features three Saturday evenings of illustrated lectures, readings and music celebrating the poetry of Edward Thomas and the 20th Century English War Poets (of the two World Wars).   The Festival is organised by the Lancashire Collaborative Ministry to mark the centenary of the death of Edward Thomas, who was killed at the Front in April 1917.  The evening events will all be held from 7 to 9 pm, at the Chapel.


Sat 3rd June: ‘Never Such Innocence’.     Theresa Sowerby will explore the impact of the Great War through its poets.  The powerful voices of Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, both killed in action aged 27, will be heard alongside others, including Vera Brittain and Siegfried Sassoon.  And was that pre-1914 world really one of lost innocence? 


Sat 10th June:  ‘Edward Thomas  – Nature Poet or War Poet?’   Edward Thomas is now seen as one of the leading poets of the 20th Century; Ted Hughes called him ‘the father of us all’.   Thomas was killed at Arras in 1917, aged 39.   Remarkably, all his sharply-observed nature poetry was written during the First World War.  Jim Corrigall will consider whether these are in fact poems of war. 


Sat 17th June:  ‘Beyond the Horror: the Genius of Keith Douglas’   Keith Douglas fought as a tank commander in North Africa in the Second World War, and wrote about what he saw there.  Edmund Prestwich will present Douglas’ ruthlessly-honest poetry, which stands in sharp contrast to the poetry of the Great War.  Douglas was killed in 1944 in the Normandy landings, at the early age of 24.


Our speakers:   Theresa Sowerby was until recently head of English and Drama at Bolton School.   She is a prize-winning poet.  Edmund Prestwich taught at Manchester Grammar School from 1975 to 2010, and has published two books of poetry.  Jim Corrigall is Minister at Padiham Unitarian Chapel, and is a lecturer at poetry festivals in England and Ireland. 



£8 per evening (including glass of wine or juice, and light refreshments).   £20 for all three evenings.


Tickets can be purchased by sending a cheque and stamped, addressed envelope to:  Rev. Jim Corrigall, Flat 11, Lincoln Court, Station Road, Padiham BB12 8EW, Lancashire.  (Cheques should be made payable to: Jim Corrigall).