Become a Friend

Poems As Friends

Featuring Roy McFarlane & Hannah Jane Walker

This is a past event which has now ended.

Poems, like true friends, can offer us a conversation that illuminates our lives and our connection to the world around us. Sit back, relax and be taken on a journey in the company of poems by Dylan Thomas, Carol Ann Duffy, Katherine Mansfield, Seamus Heaney, and many more. 

In this warm and uplifting morning event, Fiona Bennett and Michael Shaeffer, co-authors of the unique and beautiful Poems as Friends anthology, are joined by Roy McFarlane and Hannah Jane Walker to share readings and insights on the life-changing power of poems as companions.

In partnership with The Poetry Exchange



Roy McFarlane was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage and has spent most of his years living in Wolverhampton. He has held the roles of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate,  Starbucks’ Poet in Residence, and the Birmingham & Midland Institute’s Poet in Residence. Roy’s writing has appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe, 2012), Filigree (Peepal Tree,  2018) and he is the editor of Celebrate Wha? Ten Black British Poets from the Midlands (Smokestack, 2011). His first full collection of poems, Beginning With Your Last Breath, was published in 2016, followed by The Healing Next Time in 2018, both published by Nine Arches Press. He is the 2022 Canal Laureate.


Hannah Jane Walker is a poet, broadcaster and playwright from Essex. She is currently an artist in residence at Cambridge Biomedical Campus and Cambridge Junction.

With playwright Chris Thorpe she has written, performed and toured around the world the shows The Oh Fuck Moment and I Wish I Was Lonely. As a performance poet, she has gigged in theatres, bars, boats, festivals. As a creative writing workshop leader, she has worked in favelas in Rio, at national venues and with children in psychiatric care. She has written and produced shows for BBC Radio 4 and has a theatre poetry podcast, Human Resources.

She has written for the Guardian and the BBC, and her poetry has been published by Nasty Little Press and Nine Arches Press, Forest Fringe and Penned in the Margins.

She won a Fringe First Award in 2011 and was Associate Artist at the National Centre for Writing 2018-2019.

Her first book, SENSITIVE, will be published by Octopus.

Important information

Duration: 1hr


Concessions: 10% off tickets priced £10 or over for D/deaf or disabled, Full-time students, Go 4Less cardholders and Jobseekers

Under 18: £7.50

Essential Companions: Any audience member requiring an essential carer/companion can get one free ticket. Relevant discounts or concessions still apply to the paid ticket.

Young NNF: £7.50 tickets for ages 18-25 with our FREE YoungNNF membership. Sign up here

Offer: Book 3+ City of Literature events and get 10% off - Excludes workshops

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25 May

10:00 am

£7.50 - £10.00



City of Literature is a Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.


Masthead image: Roy McFarlane & Hannah Jane Walker

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