2023 BHAC Poetry Festival

Pulling together eclectic threads of wisdom and wonder from poets across Sussex and beyond, the BHAC Poetry Festival is an event you shouldn’t miss!

Sunday November 26th, 4pm – 8pm at St. George’s Church, Brighton. Doors open at 3.30pm, and a pay bar with soft and alcoholic drinks will be available.

Tickets are £13 full price, or £10 concession (Competition entrants, BHAC members, NHS and council employees, benefits recipients, and students).

The Festival will feature performances by our very special guests Liz Berry and Sussex Poetry Competition judge John McCullough.

Our Sussex Poetry Competition winners will be invited to perform their winning poems, and Liz Berry will present them with their prizes.

We are also excited to host the ever popular poetry slam with Hammer & Tongue!


Liz Berry

Liz Berry photographed by Thom Bartley

Liz was born in the Black Country and now lives in Birmingham. Her debut collection, Black Country, ‘a sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian), won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018. Her latest work The Home Child, a novel in verse, was published in March 2023 (Chatto) and reimagines the story of her great-aunt Eliza Showell, one of the many children forcibly emigrated to Canada as part of the British Child Migrant schemes.

Find out more about Liz Berry on her website.


John McCullough

John McCullough photographed by Lucy Cage

John lives in Hove. His first collection, The Frost Fairs, won the Polari First Book Prize in 2012. Reckless Paper Birds, published by Penned in the Margins, was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2019 and focuses on vulnerability and the human body. It won John the coveted Hawthornden Prize in 2020. His most recent collection, Panic Response, is his darkest and most experimental book to date. Its long poem ‘Flower of Sulphur’ was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2021 and the collection itself was both a Book of the Year in The Telegraph and one of The Times’ Notable New Poetry Books of 2022.

Find out more about John McCullough on his website.



Cover image: 3rd place winner James Carson Lee receiving his award at the 2021 Poetry Festival.