Workshops at Wise Words

Canterbury with its rich and diverse literary heritage, provides an inspirational setting for writers and lovers of poetry and literature, to explore and develop their passion and skills. Across the ten-days of the Festival there will be workshops and events for those who love to write either professionally or for enjoyment.

The heart of the festival lies in Canterbury’s Secret Garden, belonging to the Franciscan Friars – an unexpected haven just a stones throw from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Thought provoking talks, music, performances, storytelling and poetry take place in a beautiful yurt, tents and in the ancient Franciscan Chapel. From here activity spills out across the city – onto the streets, in gardens, in coffeehouses and even onto the river.

What it means to be an artist | Lemn Sissay

Festival Patron Lemn Sissay explores what it means to be a writer and artist – our responsibilities to the world and each other and how we nurture and replenish our own creativity and sense of purpose.

This event is for anyone that has an affinity towards words. Whether you write professionally or write for your own personal goals, this is a session that will inspire and inform your work and passion. 

Lemn is associate artist at the Southbank Centre, author of five poetry collections and an award winning play. He is ambassador for The Children’s Reading Fund, trustee of Forward Arts Foundation and World Book Night, and founder of Cultureword. He was awarded an MBE for his impact on literature, and is an honorary doctor of letters at the University of Huddersfield, where he has also set up The Sissay Scholarship for care leavers.

This event is sponsored by Canterbury Christ Church University.

When: Sunday 7th May | 11:00 – 12:30 | £5 

More info & tickets HERE



For The Love Of Words | Sarah Salway & Fiona Lesley Bennett

Following last year’s popular workshop with Sarah Salway and Fiona Lesley Bennett this year’s festival sees these two inspirational writing tutors unite again to create a special day for writers of all levels. Drawing on this years festival theme of LOVE the day will celebrate all the ways in which words themselves charm, entice, infuriate, shock and soothe us – striking into the heat of what we have to say and how we can say it. As with last years workshop they will combine writing, reading and listening exercises to generate new material and share it.

When: Friday 5th May | 10:00 – 17:00 | £60

More information & tickets HERE


A Marquee


Come and explore the potential of writing for well-being. Working through literature and creative writing we will discover the things we love about ourselves, our lives, the people, places and experiences that surround us.

Nicky Thompson:

Nicky Thompson is a writer, creative writing tutor, and poetry therapy facilitator based in Whitstable. She has a Creative Writing MA from the University of Kent, and has been published in various journals and collections.

She’s currently working towards accreditation with the International Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy, for which she’s being mentored by Victoria Field. 

Her core belief is that, with the right encouragement, everyone can be creative, and anyone can write. She also believes that any creative activity can improve well-being, and chooses to share these beliefs through her passion for writing and the workshops she delivers.

When: Wednesday 4th May | 12:00 – 15:00 | £15

More information & Tickets HERE


SOUNDLINES | WRITING WORKSHOP | Gary Studley & Jeffrey Loffman

Using the work of poets such as Carol Ann Duffy; John Cooper Clark and Shakespeare as a jumping off point, poet Gary Studley will work with participants to explore their experience of  ‘love’ in its many guises.

This workshop will conclude with participants having the opportunity to perform the work they create to each-other, before a themed performance by local poets, SoundLines. 

When: Sunday 30th April | 14:00 – 16:00 | FREE

More information & Tickets HERE

Sexy | Vanessa Kisuule

This workshop playfully looks at our conflicted relationship with our bodies and sexiness. If we are troubled by the stereotypes, what does it really mean to be sexy?

The session is composed of simple writing and movement exercises, with plenty of time to chat and share thoughts amongst the group. You don’t have to be an artist, a writer or a dancer to come to this workshop – just a human who identifies as a woman who wants to explore what ‘sexiness’ means for you. Come as you are: confident or barely able to say the word ‘sex’ above a whisper.

Whether this topic compels you or terrifies you, poet Vanessa Kisuule will hopefully give you an opportunity to explore it in a fun and engaging way. 

When: Saturday 6th May | 10:00 – 12:00 | £5

More information & tickets HERE



The Poetry Exchange

Do you have a poem that has been a friend to you? How did you first meet? What do you mean to each other?

The Poetry Exchange invites you to come and talk with us about a poem that’s been a friend to you in your life. At the end, we’ll make a special recording of your chosen poem as a gift for you.

Each slot is for one person and lasts around 45 mins.

When: Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th April | 10:00 – 17:00 | FREE

More information & tickets HERE

The Poetry Swap

Meet a poem, meet a friend! Ever wanted to strike up a conversation with the person next to you – on the bus, in a queue, in the audience? Now’s your chance, join The Poetry Exchange team for Poetry Swap! and get talking to one another through poems as friends. Pick a poem. Pair up. Talk about it together. Swap! No prior poetry experience necessary!

When: Saturday 6th May | 13:00 – 14:20 | £8

More information & tickets HERE