Thornton Heath artists are at the forefront of the borough’s first ever poetry and spoken word festival.

The Living in Poetry (LIP) Fest has been designed and created by four Croydon-based poetry groups with the aim of offering those with a passion or new to poetry a gateway into the artform with an event’s programme designed for all ages and poetry abilities. 

Well Versed Ink, Writerz and Scribez, Young People Insight, and Poets Anonymous have all come together to organise and design the weekend. Members of the poetry groups will be on hand to perform and discuss the artform throughout the two-day event.

The two-day celebration of writers and performers over the weekend of Saturday, October 27 and Sunday October 28 will be held at Stanley Halls in South Norwood  with a range of free and paid activities on both days starting at 11 am.

 LIP Fest will be a fresh take on poetry festivals as it combines scratch performances from emerging voices with masterclasses from award-winning poets. One of the key performances is ‘Lickle Rum with Grandma’ an emotive piece of new writing by Croydon-based writer Jeremiah ‘Sugar J’ Brown.

The show mixes poetry, storytelling and a Jamaican grandmother’s voice to bring to the fore issues of loneliness, immigration, community and the impact of distance on family love. 

With an accompanying intergenerational workshop this will be a great way to celebrate Black History Month and raise the voices and experiences of local Caribbean families.

LIP Fest will host workshops, family creative activities, film screenings, discussion panels, shows, and performances during the incredible weekend of literature and art.

 Along with workshops and discussion groups, LIP Fest will offer open mic performances giving poets the chance to share their work in front of a crowd. Guests interested in the workshops and masterclasses should book their tickets to attend as places will fill up quickly.

LIP Fest is sponsored by the Arts Council England and Croydon Council. 

For more information or to book tickets for the workshops and masterclasses, please visit

Well Versed Ink, a Community Interest Company born from Thornton Heath Arts Week in 2014, aims to embolden communities by raising their confidence and literacy skills through writing and performance.

Writerz and Scribez, is a non-profit creative arts company built on the foundation that art changes lives. It provides  high-quality creative experiences at events it hosts throughout the UK making arts accessible to all.

Young People Insight, established in 2016 by Shaniqua Benjamin, from Thornton Heath,  is a platform that empowers the voices of young people, aged 16-26 through writing, poetry and discussion events. 

Poets Anonymous, started in 1990 from friends meeting in each other’s front rooms to share their poetry to publishing over 30 issues of a magazine of new poetry ‘Poetic Licence’.