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Photo: Henry Normal

Jean Sprackland & Henry Normal: Two top class poets on the festival line up

Two more top names in literature and poetry Jean Sprackland and Henry Normal kick off this year’s Southport Festival with an unmissable double-bill at The Atkinson within the beautiful Gallery.

Henry is best known as the co-writer of award winning TV and film shows such as The Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show, The Parole Officer, Coogan’s Run, Paul Calf and producer of amongst many others Oscar nominated Philomena, Gavin and Stacey, Moone Boy, Uncle and Alan Partridge, but he now returns to his first love, poetry.

Pleased to be performing on the festival line up, Henry has fond memories of Southport, ‘I’m really looking forward to coming to Southport. When I first met my wife 30 years ago she drove me to Southport from Manchester before she passed her test. it has always remained a romantic memory although somewhat scary at the same time. I shall be performing some love poems and telling some funny stories of my days in the North West’

Staring Directly at the Eclipse is his first collection of poetry for over twenty years. It features poems from his acclaimed BBC Radio 4 program A Normal Family, together with new and selected poetry from his performance work.  As well as his trademark humour, the collection encompasses the subjects of death, loneliness, loss, human frailty and other classic conversation stoppers.

Jean Sprackland has published four collections of poetry. Sleeping Keys, Tilt won the Costa Poetry Award in 2008, and Hard Water was shortlisted for both the TS Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Award. Jean also won the Portico Prize for Non Fiction with Strands: A Year of Discoveries of the Beach, a book of essays about the stretch of coast between Southport and Formby.

Jean is equally looking forward to be performing after years of living right here in Southport,  “Southport was my home for twenty years, and it will always be very special to me, so I’m excited to be coming back to read some poems and catch up with the place”

The Atkinson’s Emma Lloyd, a Southport Festival Director, said:  “Jean Sprackland and Henry Normal are hugely well-respected and are at the top of their game. The Southport Festival may only be in its 2nd year but we are attracting really good and interesting people to be part of the annual celebration, which we hope will grow into one of the great family friendly festivals in the UK.

We have a chance to be a great festival town and with the enthusiasm of the many organisations and venues on board this year – it’s looking very likely!”

Check out the new website southportfestival.com for full information about the many festival events taking place from Friday 5-Sunday 7 May.  Southport Festival is an explosion of literature, music, poetry, visual arts, comedy and much more across Southport’s open spaces and venues. The annual event is funded by Southport BID, and Sefton Council but is only made possible through the hard work of key partnerships in the town including Southport Comedy Festival, The Atkinson, Southport Contemporary Artists and the hotels, restaurants and destinations around the town

Tickets for Jean Sprackland & Henry Normal on Friday 5 May at 7.30pm are £12.50.

To book please visit theatkinson.co.uk or call Box Office on 01704 533333. Tickets are also available over the counter during opening hours.


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