John Davies (poetry), Derek Allen (prose) and Sally Festing & Peter Wallis (poetry) – Thursday 25th November 2021

Our next event on Thursday 25th November when we will be welcoming readers John Davies (poetry), Derek Allen (prose) and Sally Festing & Peter Wallis (poetry).

This will be a LIVE event at the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes (upstairs room): please note the start time of 6.30pm

John Davies

John’s published work includes two pamphlets, The Nutter in the Shrubbery and Glove Poems and the full collection Shedman, as well as Our Storeys, a book about art and poetry in healthcare written with artist Sue Ridge. He was the first non-Irish editor of The Stony Thursday Book, an annual anthology published in Ireland. In 2018, Jizz, New and Selected Poems was published in the UK by Kingston University Press and as Nest in the USA by Red Hen Press. He won third prize in this year’s Wales Poetry Award. His commissioned work includes poems engraved into the windows of a learning centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, to major hospital projects and a poem for the High Weald AONB.

John has perhaps been best known as his literary funster alter ego, Shedman, the original itinerant poet in a shed who has appeared at numerous festivals and events. His website is

Derek Allen

For many years, Derek Allen has been a frequent visitor to Denmark. He became fascinated by the stories he heard about the remarkable escape of most of Denmark’s Jews from the Nazis in World War 2. They also received assistance, often at considerable risk, from their fellow Danes who decided to help them flee the Germans. In his book, The Crossing, a young Jewish woman, Anna, her son and parents, have their lives brought to a halt as they become refugees in their own country and they are forced to leave their home and possessions, to avoid being captured. On their journey out of Denmark, they are never certain that the decisions they are forced to make will lead them to safety. The Crossing is Derek’s first book and is being readied for submission. He lives in Lewes and works in healthcare as a chiropractor.

Sally Festing & Peter Wallis

These two prize-winning poets present poems about the head, both in its physical and mental aspects. Peter has just returned from a Hawthornden Fellowship in a Scottish castle, and Sally’s sixth book of poetry is White Queen’s Last Stand, out this year with KFS. They will read, however, largely from earlier work.

How does repeated brain surgery impact on families? What if the patient has an identical twin? The answers come, in Andrew McMillan’s words, in poems that see “life as something tentative as well as tender”. Similarly, how can the effects of something like schizophrenia, bear on future generations? Family history and a cache of intimate letters suggested Sally’s answers.

Peter Wallis, Sally Festing & Emily Jane Bell – April 2nd

PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED – we hope to reschedule it for a later date, to be confirmed

Our next event is on Thursday 2nd April 2020, upstairs at the John Harvey Tavern, Bear Yard, Cliffe High St, Lewes BN7 2AN.

Doors open 7pm, readings start 7.45pm.

Tickets £5 (£3 students, and the unwaged and claiming benefit) at the door on the night.

Readers: Peter Wallis & Sally Festing (poetry) and Emily Jane Bell (prose).

Sally Festing‘s five poetry collections have followed journalism, radio plays, academic studies, biographies of Barbara Hepworth & Gertrude Jekyll, and other non-fiction. She’s been published in masses of magazines & her collection My Darling Derry (Fair Acre Press) is on sale with proceeds to the Mental Health Foundation.

Peter Wallis won publication of a pamphlet, Articles of Twinship, in the Bare Fiction Debut Poetry Collection Competition. His poems tell of what it means to grow up as an identical twin, and go on to explore the process, and consequences, of becoming unidentical as a result of his brother’s ill health. Peter is Submissions Editor for the U.K. charity ‘Poems in the Waiting Room’. 

Emily Jane Bell is a writer of prose and poetry and a research student at the University of Brighton. She is currently working on her PhD, a ficto-critical thesis exploring creative processes in literature and visual art, centred on the works of Emily Brontë.