Charles Causley Festival in Launceston

Published: Friday 30th May 2014

Written by: Catherine

The life and work of Launceston’s Charles Causley will be celebrated in a couple of weeks with Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Ann Widdecombe, Paul Tyler, Kathryn Simmonds, Mavis Cheek and Georgie Adams being some of the well-known figures heading to the town.

Book signings, poetry readings and writing workshops will form the main part of the three day festival, which begins on June 13th. But there will also be guided town walks, Morris dancing, Cornish folk music, food and drink tents and street entertainment to suit all tastes and ages.

Charles Causley was born in Launceston on 24th August 1917. His father was a gardener who then became a private in the army during World War I and returned home with lung damage through German gas attacks. He died in 1924 when Charles was 7 years old. Charles left Grammar School early to go to work. Then he served in the Navy during the 1939-45 War and then trained as a teacher and taught at the Grammar School in Launceston. He wrote plays, short stories and several books of highly praised poems for adults and children. He was awarded Travel Scholarships by the Society of Authors in 1954 and 1956. He was then made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in1958, and served on the Poetry Panel of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1962 to1966. He was also awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1967 and a Cholmondeley Award in 1971.

When Charles retired from teaching in 1976 he took up literary appointments in Australia, Canada and America. He was then awarded a CBE in 1986 and he held honorary degrees from Oxford and Exeter, where he was also Honorary Fellow in Poetry. He also won the Ingersoll Foundation T.S.Elliot Award (USA) in 1990, and then in 2000 he was awarded the Heywood Hill Literary Prize.

Cornish Horizons has three cottages – Trewin Court, Miller’s Rest and Cider Cottage – nearby which are available during the festival.

‘The Charles Causley Festival is a bright new beacon in the literary landscape – honouring the memory of a wonderful poet, and doing great things for readers and writers.’ Andrew Motion

“How wonderful you have a festival for Charles! I read with him a few times and enjoyed his company. A lovely man. The best Poet Laureate we never had”.



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