Southampton’s Festival of Words, SO:To Speak, is set to return to the city on 19th October for 10 days with more than 60 events.

Supported with a grant from Arts Council England, the festival will showcase the city’s own talents as well as bringing nationally known authors, historians and poets to Southampton. Local organisations and venues are working with organisers Southampton Festivals to bring the city alive with theatre, poetry, Spoken Word, comedy, history and author talks, as well as workshops for writers. Taking place over half term, there are also some great events for children and young adults. Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England said: “We’re really proud to invest £30, 000 in the SO: To Speak Festival for the second time through our Lottery-funded Grants for the Arts programme.

This award helps to support the development of writers, storytellers, spoken word artists, and other creative talent in the city. The festival adds to the growing reputation of Southampton’s cultural scene, and helps to instil a sense of pride in the community. The many free performances and participatory events will engage more people in literature, helping to achieve our mission of great art and culture for everyone.

Charlie Hislop of Southampton Festivals said “We are excited that the Arts Council is supporting what we are doing. Since we began in 2015, the live literature scene –poetry, storytelling, flash fiction and comedy has really grown, and this year we are able to commission two developing writers to produce new work to perform at the Festival. We have also commissioned a new play about Jane Austen as part of the 200 Anniversary, and will be publishing an anthology of local writing after the Festival.”

Nuffield Theatres Southampton, The Arthouse, Maskers TheatreCompany, Artful Scribe and the Library service are the leading partners in the festival, which will also include open mic sessions and a return of Words in the City, an open performance afternoon which this year will feature a public poetry contest. The full programme for the Festival will be announced in two weeks’ time, when tickets will go on sale for some events. Follow the Festival on Facebook and Twitter, and