Poets and Shafak assemble for Manchester Ripples of Hope Festival

Poets and Shafak assemble for Manchester Ripples of Hope Festival

UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has convened 30 poets from around the world including Imtiaz Dharker and Raymond Antrobus to create a new response to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A "poetic declaration" will be unveiled at three events held from 17th to 19th of September at Manchester’s HOME arts venue, as part of Ripples of Hope Festival, organised by Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK. The festival will also see Elif Shafak deliver the PEN H G Wells lecture on 17th September

Alongside Dharker and Antrobus, the list of poets includes Sjón, Mona Arshi, Shivanee Ramlochan, Kwame Dawes, Tishani Doshi, Malika Booker, Glyn Maxwell, Caroline Bird and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Also featured are HOME’s resident artists Demani, P A Bitez and Isaiah Hull.

Commenting on the project, Armitage said: “Can there be a more important time for focusing on human rights? Through poetry — that most democratic of art forms — and through other creative expressions, Ripples of Hope will be a meeting of thoughts and feelings on what it means to be a citizen of this world. A chance to talk and to listen and to share.”

Jude Kelly, artistic director of the festival, said: “Simon Armitage has gathered 30 poets to speak about human rights at a time when the turmoil and sadness of the world needs tender and intelligent guidance. The writers create a magnificent response to the Universal Declaration of 1948 full of contemporary relevance and immediacy.”

The festival will also feature speakers including Baroness Helena Kennedy, journalist Amelia Gentleman, c.e.o. of In Place of War Ruth Daniel, former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal, director of English PEN Daniel Gorman and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.

A series of additional evening events will also include an in conversation event with Hillary Rodham Clinton and the presentation of the first Ripple of Hope Next Generation Award to Marcus Rashford.

Dave Moutrey, director and c.e.o. of HOME, said: “We’re delighted to welcome these poets to the stage at HOME to celebrate this powerful poetic response to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At a time when divisions in society seem deeper than ever, and inequality has been heightened by the pandemic, this is a timely reminder of the relevance and importance of human rights to all of us.”