Celebrating 15 years in one form or another, organisers are hoping this year’s Essex Poetry Festival will be the biggest yet.

Now a collaboration between Mosaic poetry group in Colchester, Poetry Wivenhoe, Southend Poetry Group and the annual Essex Young Poet of the Year Competition, which takes place in Chelmsford, local poet David Canning is hoping by bringing all the different strands together, the festival will evolve into something larger.

“I think that would be the ideal,” he tells me. “Up until a few years ago the whole festival was centred around the competition and all the events took place at the Cramphorn but through the various groups getting in contact with each other, we wanted to expand on that and widen it out to the rest of the county.”

And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

This year organisers have pulled together a number of events under the banner of the festival, starting with Poetry Wivenhoe’s Festival Edition with Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, which takes place on September 27 at the Royal British Legion Hall on The Quay.

Southend Poetry Group are then hosting an evening with Kathryn Maris and Alexandra David on October 3 at the Naval and Military Club on the Royal Terrace, and to coincide with World Mental Health Day, Mosaic in association with Mindfizz are running a poems and stories about Mental Health afternoon on October 10 at Colchester Library.

David adds: “We’ve still got that whole day at the Cramphorn, which this year will take place on October 13 with the Essex Young Poet of the Year Competition starting from 10.30am starting off the Big Day of Poetry, which runs into the evening.

“But there’s a lot more going on and while some of the events are ones which were taking place already, we’re hoping that eventually a whole series of events will take place throughout the month much like it does for the county’s very successful book festival in March.”

Others taking place include Me Too Anthology Readings on October 11 at Waterstones Bookshop in Chelmsford High Street and then the launch of the Without Walls Book by Colchester Community Poetry Project.

Without Walls is a 300-page anthology which explores homelessness through history, articles, images and more than 70 poems about Colchester’s heritage and landmarks led by local historian Alice Goss.

Poetry Wivenhoe’s Martin Newell, David Canning and Peter Kennedy have penned works as well as artist Sheena Clover and national writer Kit Wright among others.

Artists and photographers such as Angela Horner, Sally Howard and Simon Crow have contributed too alongside Colchester’s MP Will Quince who is writing the foreword.

Along with live music from jazz group, Blue Town, it takes place at the Colchester Arts Centre on Sunday, October 14, at 7.30pm with tickets priced £6.50.

Closing the festival will be Mosaic Poetry Stanza readings at Halstead Library on October 18 at 7.30pm, although David tells me there are plenty of other events still to be confirmed including a Dunlin Press launch of Alex Toms’ pamphlet and an evening celebrating Essex University poets.

David says: “We’re still putting a call out for people with ideas for events that they might want to put on as part of the festival so just get in contact with us via the website.” Go to www.essexpoetryfestival.co.uk