The Red Dirt Poetry Festival is a biennial celebration of all things poetry. Based in Alice Springs since 2014, RDPF has always been a strange space of creation, display, performance and installation work. Things are working a little differently with this festival as we navigate the new COVID-19 landscape.

The 2020 Red Dirt Poetry Festival lives in this digital space, where we’ve created a live, interactive, immersive experience with carefully curated events, workshops, performances, showcases and competitions for you to enjoy from anywhere in the world.

We’ve taken the challenges thrown up and used this as an opportunity to operate without borders despite feeling stuck in them. We want to invite you into our program, explore, play, experiment, create and be inspired by the commissioned and showcased works on display. There’s over 35 “events” and 60 poets and performers in a variety of spaces for you to enjoy.

We always planned for this festival like others to draw inspiration from a poet we love. In 2018 the poetry scene lost a chunk of itself when we lost Candy Royalle. We would like to dedicate this festival to Candy Royalle and everything Candy stood for. We hope this festival makes you proud.

Message from the Festival Director

Welcome to the Red Dirt Poetry Festival 2020!

I am so excited for you to explore this online world we have created. Some elements are only for the weekend and many others will live on for you to revisit and continue to enjoy.

The calibre of poetry in this program is astonishing, I am honoured to be curating this wonderful festival. Before you enter and see what it’s all about, I’d like you to take a moment as we acknowledge the traditional owners of the country we bring this festival to you from, the Arrentre people, and all elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty was never ceded.

I would like to take this time to thank the people who have come together to support me and my wild ideas, not just support but run with, develop, stay up late with and those who’ve listened to me. This festival would not be possible without Nico Liengme whose deft hand and eye creates tasty images and all kinds of tech and web support even at 3am. Matthew Heffernan whose excellent engineering skills have made some of my ideas come true, I promise to stop saying, yeah, but what if it could do this? For a little while anyway. My darling Emma Rose who pushes me to keep going, even when I don’t want to, all the wonderful marketing support and artist liaison, thank you. Kate La Greca, thank you for going above and beyond as always, with your amazing video skills, eye-for-detail and general support of everything! All the wonderful poets and artists for everything you’ve written, recorded, thought of, contributed and inspired, thank you.

Thanks for Gaele Sobott from Outlandish Arts, Frankie & Maddie from GUTS Dance, Malcolm MacDonald, Darcy Davis, Day-Day, Royce Kurmelovs, Nate Howard and Movement Be, David Stavanger and Red Room Company, Eleanor Jackson and Peril Magazine, David Spry and Flying Ant Sessions, Chris and Epilogue Lounge and anyone who has supported me and this little festival that could.

Thanks to our supporters and sponsors in NTMEC – NT Government, Australia Council – Australian Government, Anxious Squid Productions and Word Travels.

Laurie May