Friday, 16 December 2016

Dates for your 2017 diary

We can now confirm the dates for the 2017 Settle Sessions.
We are still confirming the main poets and writers but these are planned:

All evenings will be on Fridays at 7.30pm.

April 21st at The Folly in Settle
with The Bousfields (postponed from 2016) with poems accompanied by music; and writer Veronica Caperon who launches her debut collection Two Left Boots

June 23rd including reception and AGM at the Folly, with Kathleen Jones

September 29th, venue to be confirmed,
with Kim Moore

November 17th at The Folly with Jean Harrison and Sue Vickerman

We will be contacting people soon to invite them to take part in the Read Two slots, for each event.

Tickets are £6 (members £5.50) available from Cave and Crag, The Courtyard Dairy and The Folly, nearer the dates.

More details from

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Poems reach new heights in national and local competitions

A great celebration of words!

With over 200 entries from all over the country to their 2016 competitions, organisers of Settle’s National Poetry Day celebrations have declaimed them a great success.

Winners were presented with their prizes at Victoria Hall in a special evening organised by Settle Sessions.

The national competition attracted entries from throughout the country. First prize went to Jenna Plewes from Alvechurch with ‘Driving Home’, second prize to Jenny Morris from Norwich with ’Box Room’ , and Maggie How from Grange-over-Sands took third prize with ’Between us’. Also commended in the competition were Tricia Robinson from Settle, Jane Eagland from Lancaster, Joan Butler from Austwick, Kerry Darbishire of Kendal, David Smith from Middlesbrough and Rona Laycock from Avening.
Hannah Chapman and judge Kathy Swinscoe
In the North Craven Primary Schools competition, Hannah Chapman from Giggleswick Primary came first,
Lauren Taylor

Harry Armstrong

Erin Hutt-Holgate and Max Clark
Lauren Taylor from Bentham School was second and third prize was won by Joel Monks from Giggleswick Primary. Commended young poets were Maisy Baillie, Harry Armstrong, Tom Birkett-Bentley, Max Clark & Erin Hutt-Holgate,
Tom Birkett-Bentley
Edie Eccleston and Dylan Lightbody

Joan Butler with judge Ann Pilling

Craven’s funniest poem in the 2016 competition was won by Joan Butler from Austwick with her poem ‘Hawk Talk’.

To conclude the evening, Settle Sessions brought together established poets John Killick of Settle and Yorkshire poet Michael McCarthy. They delivered amusing, touching, deep and accessible work based on their life experiences from Ireland to Settle. We look forward to hearig much more from them in the future.

An anthology of the winning and commended (in the national competition) poems is available at £3 each (plus £1.50p&p). Please contact John Killick on

Michael McCarthy

Judge and main reader John Killick with Tricia Robinson

Kerry Darbishire
 Contact us at

The world, pink poppies and the rain

There was a packed audience at The Folly for the third Settle Session of the year. The poems shared gave us insights into what others notice about the world, their reactions to it and what touches them deeply.
Poets Isobel Thrilling and Pauline Yarwood drew from their extensive writing. 
Isobel’s selection came from observations during childhood about a North York moors mining village, her interest in quantum physics, disturbing ‘pink’ poppies and how to look more favourably on rain ‘there’s an art to listening to rain’.
Pauline’s poems responsed to living in The Lyth Valley, ‘the importance of nature over human concerns’, the rebukes of family in ‘Mary Ann’ and injustice with ‘Clinical Notes’, ‘the careless shredding of his life’.
Barbara Bowman read Hugh Crane’s ‘Forgetfulness’ and Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’. 

John Rose focused on teenage rebellion with Irene Rawnsley’s ‘Purple Shoes’ and Ian MacMillan’s unentitled ‘can’t be bothered to give a title’. Kathy Swinscoe and
Olwyn Bolger connected with childhood for Walter de la Mere’s ‘The Listener’ and ‘I saw three Witches’; and from a much treasured childhood poetry book ‘Stars and Primroses’ for Laurence Binyon’s ‘The Little Dancers’ and Edward Thomas’ ‘Adelstrop’.

Sarah Wiltshire 9th September 2016

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

2016 competition winners

Wide ranging styles from all over the country

We are delighted to announce the winners of our inaugural poetry competitions! We've had a wide range of subjects and styles and all the judges report a very high standard. 

The winners have been invited to read their work at our National Poetry Day Celebrations on Thursday 6th October at Victoria Hall - everyone welcome! The evening will also feature published poets Michael McCarthy and John Killick.
Tickets £6.50 (members £5.50), 2 adults accompanied by children £8.50. More details from

Our national competition 

attracted entries from all over the country and included entries from new writers as well as established poets:

FIRST PRIZE      Driving Home   Jenna Plewes (Alvechurch)
SECOND PRIZE   Box Room   Jenny Morris  (Norwich)
THIRD PRIZE    Between Us  Maggie How  (Grange-over-Sands)
Loss    Tricia Robinson  (Settle)
Broch of Gurness   Jane Eagland  (Lancaster)
The Blacksmith   David Smith   (Middlesborough)
Autumn Garden   Kerry Darbishire  (Kendal)
Tuesday She Irons   Rona Laycock  (Avening)
The Eloquence of the Dales Farmer
on the Matter of Weather    Joan Butler  (Austwick)

The Craven Funny Poem competition 

Hawk Talk     Joan Butler  (Austwick)

North Craven Primary Schools competition

We had over 70 entries from budding poets - it's good to know the next generation are honing their skills:

FIRST PRIZE   Woodlouse  Hannah Chapman, Giggleswick Primary School
SECOND PRIZE   Home   Lauren Taylor, Bentham Primary School
THIRD PRIZE     Snow Haiku    Joel Monks, Giggleswick Primary School 
  Maisy Baillie

Refugees at sea   Tom Birkett-Bentley
Home  Harry Armstrong

Escape to Safety Max Clark & Erin Hutt Holgate
Street Games   Edie Eccleston
Playing   Dylan Lightbody

Congratulations to everyone who took part, to the winners and those who were commended. 

An anthology of the winners and commended (in the national competition) is being produced to coincide with our National Poetry Day celebrations on October 6th. 
contact for details

Thursday, 4 August 2016

From Suffolk to Settle

Isobel Thrilling was born in Suffolk, and brought up in a mining village in the north-east of England; she read English at Hull University and spent many years as Head of Service for Teaching English as a Second Language in a London borough. She first started writing after eye-operations that saved her sight. She is married, with a son, a daughter and two grandchildren. She has been widely published in magazines and newspapers, and her work has been included in many anthologies from publishers such as O.U.P, Longman, Hodder Headline and Macmillan. Her poems have been broadcast on BBC Television, ITV; and BBC Radio 3 and 4.

Pauline Yarwood is a poet and ceramic artist living in Cumbria.  Her poems have appeared in The North, The Interpreter’s House and Fire Crane( a number of poetry magazines). In 2013 she was mentored by Judy Brown at the Wordsworth Trust, and collaborated with artist Kate Bentley to write a short series of poems for her exhibition Skyline. She was co-director of this year’s inaugural Kendal Poetry Festival.   She is a member of Kendal Brewery Poets. Born in Cumbria, Pauline grew up in Manchester but returned to the Lyth Valley in 1987 where she writes, makes pots and tends a very boggy garden next to the River Gilpin.

In the Read Two spot will be local readers John Rose, Olwyn Bolger, Kathy Swinscoe and Barbara Bowman.

Tickets are available (£6, or £5.50 for members) from The Folly, Cave and Cragg and The Courtyard Dairy in Settle. More information from

Our National Poetry Day celebrations will be on Thursday 6th October at 7.30pm at Victoria Hall in Settle and will feature poets Michael McCarthy and John Killick along with the winners of our national poetry prize, the North Craven School prize and the funniest poem in Craven!

Tickets £6.50 (members £5.50), 2 adults accompanied by children £8.50. More details from

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Evocative and quirky evening

Laughter, lyrical and well loved!

All present at Settle Sessions in the Folly on Friday 1st July, agreed it was an excellent evening. 
Ed Reiss
Ed Reiss from Bradford got us all laughing as he read a dozen or so of his quirky and thought-provoking poems. Politicians should beware when Ed gets loose on them. 

Jane Routh contributed lyrical reflections, some on life in Tatham showing her deep love of the countryside and others evoking time spent in the Hebrides.
Jane Routh

Four others read more briefly. Among them Hazel Richardson is to be congratulated for her courage in reading her own work in public for the first time – and with considerable impact. 
Hazel Robinson (centre)

Veronica Caperon gave strong renderings of two of her pieces, Joan Lee delighted us with a heart-felt reading of a poem she’d loved since the age of eight, Leisure by WH Davies, and Rodney Hooper took us back to the First World War with Edward Thomas.
Joan Lee (right)
Rodney Hooper

The Folly makes wonderful setting for such an occasion. The volunteers quietly saw to the practical arrangements so that chairs and refreshments appeared exactly as required. The next Session is on Friday September 9th
Jean Harrison Friday 1st 2016
Entries were invited to two poetry competitions - the deadline is creeping up: 12th August 2016, the details are on our comeptition page on the website.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Party, Music and Poetry all in one evening

We've got a great line up for the next Settle Session on Friday 1st July at The Folly in Settle.

We have our annual reception at 6.30pm with wine and nibbles. This is your chance to suggest what Settle Sessions might produce in the next 12 months. Everyone welcome, especially our members. We'll also slip in painlessly our AGM. At 7.30pm we move into entertainment mode with our readers for the evening.

The entertainment begins with Jane Routh and Ed Reiss.

We are sorry that Chris and John Bousfield are not able to be with us oin July 1st as hris has been taken ill. We wish her a speedy recovery.

But we're delighted that Jane Routh has stepped in at short notice.  Jane has published three poetry collections with smith|doorstop. Her first, Circumnavigation, won the Poetry Business Competition and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for best first collection; Teach Yourself Mapmaking received a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.  She has taken first prize in the Academi Cardiff International Poetry Competition (with the title poem of The Gift of Boats) and in the Strokestown International Poetry Competition. She contributes reviews and non-fiction to several publications.
A former photography lecturer, Jane has lived in north Lancashire for forty years – looking after an Ancient Semi Natural Woodland, planting new woodlands and keeping geese for the last twenty years.

Ed Reiss lives and works in Bradford. Your Sort was short-listed for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2011. "Ka’aba' (from the same collection) was highly commended in the 2011 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and republished in the Forward Book of Poetry anthology. ‘Reiss is not easy to classify — always a good sign’ Helena Nelson

Supporting Act

The open mic ‘Read Two’ slot is filled this time by three locals with a couple of their favourite or their own poems.

Joan Lee has delighted our audiences before with her beautiful readings of classic poems.
Hazel Richardson made up her first poems at the age of 6 to keep me busy while learning to ride my bike - sadly none of those were written down. She enjoys writing poems, has kept a diary since a child & has been on a few writing courses - but only read a poem once in public (at her son's wedding) so this is a terrifying first! 
Veronica Caperon, who usually comperes the SS evenings, has grabbed the opportunity to read a couple of her new poems. Half of the Lippy Logic comedy-drama duo, she also writes and performs in plays sketches.

Tickets (£6, or £5.50 members) are available from Cave and Crag, The Courtyard Dairy and The Folly. Details on or from


Friday, 29 April 2016

From Australian immigration to the Iambic pentameter


Settle Sessions fourth year was launched to standing room only at The Folly. The packed audience enjoyed poems on subjects from the Australian outback to the iambic pentameter.

Jean Stevens

Jean Stevens, well known in the area as a creative writing tutor, read from her new book “Beyond Satnav”. Her poems are accessible with poetic twists and turns. Classical references brushed shoulders with the pedantry of Australian immigration system. “Fell Farmer” spoke movingly of women farmers in a harsh landscape.

Anne Caldwell, literature programme manager for The British Council, certainly knows how to captivate her audience. Her work ranged from grim plain language in “Winter Solstice” about climate change, to a mother’s touching sonnet about her son visiting Gordale Scar.
Anne Caldwell
A sequence based on her late father’s cine films brought Aberdeen and its seascapes to Settle in vivid imagery.

In the Read Two open mic spot, Beryl James shared her simple, effective style, Jackie Allott read from Carol Ann Duffy’s work with humour, Jean Lavelle honoured The Bard and Tricia Robinson bravely read her own work for the first time in public to great approval.

Settle Sessions started as it means to go on – with variety, entertainment and class.

Veronica Caperon

You can order Anne Caldwell's book at this  website

Settle Sessions will have 4 evenings of poetry and short stories this year, including a celebration of National Poetry Day on October 6th at Settle Victoria Hall, with a national and local poetry competition running through the summer. More details on our About and Competitions pages, and

Friday, 26 February 2016

April Poetry

Our first Session of the year will be on Friday 22nd April at The Folly in Settle at 7.30pm

We're delighted that well known Settle based poet Jean Stevens will be launching her new collection with us. 

Jean Stevens

Jean is a poet and playwright. Her poems have been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio Three and Radio Four. She has won the Yorkshire Post Poetry Prize and Leeds Library Writing Prize. Her latest collection of poems Beyond Satnav has just been published by Indigo Dreams. Her previous collection Undressing in Winter was launched at Ilkley Literature Festival. Her poems range from the lyrical to the colloquial, from the moving to the witty and, although her work is rooted in her response to the Yorkshire Dales where she lives, her writing embraces the world from Australia to Zimbabwe.


Anne Caldwell

Also reading her new work during the evening will be Anne Caldwell. A poet and literature consultant,  

Anne works for the British Council as their Literature Programme Manager. Her latest book of poetry is out with Cinnamon Press this spring: Painting the Spiral Staircase.


Taking part in "Read Two", an open mic session are local people sharing their favourite poems:

Jackie Allott was born and brought up in Otley but has lived in Settle for 12 years. She qualified as a Social Worker and spent much of her professional life working as an Independent Review Officer for NYCC. She can't imagine living anywhere else but Yorkshire. Explorative learning is the challenge now and playing with the imagery and ideas in poetry, a quiet and sometimes teasing pleasure!

Beryl James moved to Settle from Exeter in 2014. She is a lifetime sporadic poet although her output over 60 years has been small due to life intervening. She finds it a good way of expressing strong feelings and says that it may be writing that has kept her sane!

Jean Lavelle was born in Blackburn but has lived in Langcliffe for the last 21 years. She has taught both Art and French, worked with physically disabled children, and brought up a family of five. She is a lover of theatre and has had a lifelong interest in poetry.

Tricia Robinson has always enjoyed poetry and written it, but just for herself. She has drawn it from family life and also from living and working in Africa and Spain. Only three members of her family, and more recently Jean Stevens, have ever read or listened to it until tonight. 

Tickets are £6 (£5.50 for members) and will be available from The Folly, Cave and Crag and The Dairy Courtyard, all in Settle.

Settle Sessions will have 4 evenings of poetry and short stories this year, including a celebration of National Poetry Day on October 6th at Settle Victoria Hall, with a national and local poetry competition running through the summer. More details at and

For more details contact Jean Harrison on 01729 823305 or