Alice/Ekphrasis: An evening of poetry inspired by Alice in Wonderland

Alice opening a small door

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email:

Poets and actors read from a new anthology of poetry inspired by Alice in Wonderland at this special out of hours visit to the Alice in Wonderland exhibition

How did Lewis Carroll tap into something that seems so extraordinary and yet so true on every level? At this event, some of our finest poets - Ian Duhig, Luke Wright, Helen Mort, Amali Rodrigo, Abegail Morley, Sasha Dugdale, Chris McCabe, Mona Arshi, Clare Pollard, Robert Seatter, Emer Gillespie, Catherine Smith, and Hollie McNish – read their new poems written to celebrate Alice in Wonderland. Actors also read excerpts from Alice, 150 years old, but timeless.

An anthology of poetry written by poets from all across the UK is being published to coincide with this event, and all ticket holders will receive a free copy.

An ekphrasis is any work of art inspired, or written in response to another work of art. The word is most frequently used about poetry written in response to a painting or a text and perhaps the most celebrated example is John Keats’ Ode to a Grecian Urn.

Ekphrasis was created to provide a bridge between modern poetry and thought-provoking exhibitions so that members of the public can engage with both poetry and the visual in new and unexpected ways.

Mona Arshi worked as a human rights lawyer for a decade before doing a Masters in Creative Writing. Her debut collection Small Hands won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015.  

Former homelessness worker Ian Duhig is a Cholmondelely Award recipient and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Duhig is a joint winner of a Shirley Jackson Award for short stories, the only outright winner of the National Poetry Competition twice and has three times been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. 

Sasha Dugdale is a poet and translator. She has published three collections; the most recent of these is Red House.  She is editor of Modern Poetry in Translation.  

As an actress, Emer Gillespie has appeared in a multitude of film, television and theatre. Her first poetry collection, The Instinct Against Death was published in 2012. She is currently developing her first TV series. She is a cofounder of Ekphrasis.  

A lifelong fan of Alice in Wonderland, actress Natasha Little has spent much of her working life interpreting classic literature on stage and screen. From her a BAFTA-nominated performance as Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, to portraying Cromwell's wife, Elizabeth Wyckes, in the recent television adaptation of Wolf Hall and most recently as Caroline Langbourne in John Le Carre's The Night Manager currently screening on BBC1. 

Chris McCabe’s most recent collections are The Restructure and Speculatrix. He has recorded with the Poetry Archive and was shortlisted for The Ted Hughes Award in 2014. He works as the Poetry Librarian at The Poetry Library and teaches for The Poetry School. 

Hollie McNish is a UK poet who straddles the boundaries between the literary, poetry and pop scenes. Her second collection of poems, Cherry Pie, was published in 2015 and her new book on parenthood, Nobody Told Me, is published this year.

Abegail Morley’s debut, How to Pour Madness into a Teacup, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection. She is co-founder of Ekphrasis, Canterbury Poet of the Year and blogs at The Poetry Shed.  

Helen Mort's first collection Division Street won the Fenton Aldeburgh prize. Her next book, No Map Could Show Them, is published this year. She is a former Poet in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere and a Cultural Fellow at The University of Leeds.  

Amali Rodrigo's work has won several prizes in competitions and has been widely published in journals such as The Poetry Review, Magma, PN Review and Poetry London.   

Catherine Smith writes fiction, poetry and drama. Two of her collections, The New Bride and Lip, were short-listed for Forward Prizes. She is a founder member of Ekphrasis.  

Luke Wright is the author and star of eight one man shows of his poetry. His verse play, What I Learned From Johnny Bevan, won The Scotsman's prestigious Fringe First Award for new writing in 2015. His debut poetry collection is Mondeo Man.  


Name: Alice/Ekphrasis: An evening of poetry inspired by Alice in Wonderland
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546