The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Kendal Children's Poetry Festival

Hello Balloonists!

A brand new poetry festival for children is happening on Thursday June 23rd in Kendal Cumbria. Mhairi Helme, a DB poet is organising it along with Dr Kim Moore, Clare Shaw and Katie Hale.

Here's Mhairi to tell you more about it ...

Kendal Poetry Festival itself is already a hugely successful event which draws an international audience.

Hugely respected local poet Dr Kim Moore started the Festival six years ago and it has grown steadily since then, even during COVID.

This is the first year a children's event is being held, with a primary school age event at Outside-In children's play area for year three, with poet Matt Goodfellow and years seven to nine being able to attend a workshop event at the Brewery Arts Centre with Matt Abbott.

Matt Goodfellow spent many years trying to be a rock star until he realised he was rubbish at music. He put the guitar down and became a primary school teacher, working in an East Manchester school for over 10 years. Matt is now a full-time poet with multiple poetry collections and anthologies - including Caterpillar Cake, Being Me, Poems for Eight Year Olds, Bright Bursts of Colour and Chicken on the Roof. He has worked with all sorts of different people including The Premier League and The National Literacy Trust, and he is proud to be a National Poetry Day Ambassador for the Forward Arts Foundation.

Matt Abbott is a poet, educator, and activist from Wakefield. His début kids’ poetry collection A Hurricane in my Head was published by Bloomsbury in 2019. It was a National Poetry Day selected title and led to a live appearance on Blue Peter as well as a cartoon cameo in the Beano Magazine. Matt was a patron for The Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in 2020 and is an ambassador for Eureka! The National Children’s Museum. Amongst other themes, his poetry for young people explores school life, coming of age, playful rebellion, and tackling gender stereotypes.

Tickets can be booked at;

Local and hugely successful poet Katie Hale is Festival Coordinator and she is also organising a Guerilla Poetry trail through the town, which will be relevant for both young and old poets alike.

The sessions can be booked by schools for students or individually if families wish to bring pupils themselves, on the Brewery Web site, tickets are on sale at the subsidised rate of £2.50 per ticket.

The Festival is sponsored in part by Kendal Town Council, with The Arts Council, Wordsworth Trust, Space to Create, Cumbria County Council, Romneys, Farrers and Waterstones also amongst sponsors. Kendal's own children's charity, Outside-In is donating use of the centre to the festival for the day.

Home educated children are also very welcome to attend.

For further information please contact or

About the Writer

Mhairi Helme

A veterinary surgeon, mum, children's charity founder and trustee, adult and children's poet and writer, Mhairi's poem Brave was commended by Michael Morpurgo in the 2021 Caterpillar Prize for Children's Poetry. When not writing in her spare time, she is usually running in the fells, swimming in the Lakes, biking the trails or climbing the crags in her home in the Lake District.