POET Laureate Andrew Motion is set to make a special appearance at this year's West London Literary Festival, part of the Ealing Summer celebrations. The festival returns to the borough on September 6 and 7, after its successful debut last year with a lively weekend of story-telling, poetry and recitals to entertain all the family.
On the opening day, Professor Motion will be judging the work of aspiring writers in the Ealing Arts poetry competition, with £500 worth of prizes to be won. The much-celebrated author was awarded the post of Poet Laureate, a special honour awarded to a poet whose work is of national significance, in 1999.
Professor Motion, 55, said: "I want to be surprised when I read poetry. Every poem is usually about one of six things. The subject is not necessarily the thing I am looking for, although you can be surprised by it.
"If you want to write and don't know where to start, just get a contemporary anthology and read it.
"Don't expect to like everything but make a note of people you do like.
"My advice is don't go and live in an ivory tower - poems belong in the world."
Professor Motion will be captivating crowds with a recital followed by a question and answer session and book signing. He has a book of essays coming out soon, which should be available at the festival, followed by a new anthology next year.
He can be found in the main tent at the festival on Acton Green, Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick. The judging will take place in the Ealing Arts and Leisure Tent, with readings from some of the entries.
The festival provides a wide and varied programme. Professor Motion said: "It allows people to meet writers and introduce new writers to new readers, if people are prepared to take a punt."
The festival, which is free, is open on both days from 11am-6pm.
* For a full programme visit: www.ealing.gov.uk/ealingsummer . See next week's Gazette for more about the West London Literary Festival.