John Clare Society website

to promote a wider and deeper knowledge of the poet, John Clare

Festival 2020

Please note that due to current events, we have taken the decision to cancel this year’s Festival.

The information and advice that is coming from the government makes us doubt whether it would be sensible or safe to organise such a large gathering – even though our event was not due to take place until mid-July.

At the same time, Simon Kövesi has informed us that the Clare show that was due to have taken place at the Bush Theatre in London on 26 April has had to be postponed until the autumn. Further details about this will be posted here in due course.

We hope that all friends of John Clare are keeping safe and well in these trying times, and we will advise details of this year’s AGM as soon as we have decided how best this can be arranged.

Anniversary stage show 26 April 2020

The next stage of Simon Kovesi’s Clare 1820-2020 anniversary project – ‘The Meeting: Reading and Writing Through John Clare’ – will see a one-off musical stage show ‘The Fallen Elm’ performed on 26 April at Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush, London, starring Toby Jones as Clare, with original music by Julian Philips and the script by Stephen Plaice.

Tickets from

‘The Meeting – Reading and Writing through John Clare’, in Keighley

At Keighley Local Studies Library on Saturday 13 July, there is a workshop involving the reading of John Clare poems, readings from poet Sarah Corbett and also poems inspired by the work of John Clare written and read by project participants. Free event and all welcome. Starts at 6pm. Refreshments served.

‘The Meeting’ project – free poetry workshops

Simon Kövesi writes: The London dates are now set for the Clare poetry workshops that are part of ‘The Meeting’ project. They will all take place at Clapham Library with the brilliant poet Karen McCarthy Woolf. For details click here:

There are only two weeks to go before they start so please pass the news on to anyone you think might be interested – or, of course, go yourself.

There are also some spaces on the remaining two workshops in Peterborough:


Free workshops in Peterborough

‘The Meeting’: Reading and Writing Through John Clare. At Peterborough Central Library and Archives, on Thurs 6 June, Sat 8 June, Thurs 27 June, and Sat 29 June 2019. All 10 am to 2 pm.

Free workshops. Suitable for ages 16+.

Each session is different so sign up for as many as you want. Sessions limited to 12 people so you must book early.

For detail visit the website.

Free series of workshops starting on Saturday 18 May

Simon Kovesi has set up an exciting new project – The Meeting: Reading and Writing through John Clare. As part of this project is a free series of workshops, starting on Saturday 18 May, in Manchester Central Library. Soon there will be parallel workshops in Peterborough and Bradford. Here’s the link.

The idea is to bring people in who have never done anything like this before.

BBC radio programmes on Clare which you can catch online

All sorts of stuff on John Clare online, as listed below (click on the links):

BBC World Service (1991) ‘Omnibus: John Clare’

Ted Hughes reads John Clare ‘Nightingale’s Nest’, Westminster Abbey (1993)

BBC Radio 4 Programme (2004) ‘Open Country’

BBC Radio 4 Programme (2008) ‘John Clare The Lament of Swordy Well’

BBC Radio 4 Programme (2018) ‘In Our Time: John Clare’

BBC Radio 4 (2015) ‘Great Lives: John Clare’

Happy listening!

Carry Akroyd exhibitions

Wildlife Printing exhibition from 2 March to 10 April at the Donald Watson Gallery, Waterston House, Aberlady EH32 OPY. For detail visit

At Brook Street Pottery in Hay on Wye from 11 May.

At Yew Tree Gallery at Morvah twixt St Ives and St Just in Cornwall, from 1 June.

Carry will be speaking about her work and John Clare’s poetry at Lincoln Wildlife Trust on 27 March, and later at Buford Festival and Earls Barton Festival.