Welcome to the Morden Tower

Photogragh of Morden Tower

Morden Tower is one of Britain's best-known literary landmarks. For the past 45 years, hundreds of poets have come from all over the world to give readings in this ancient turret-room on Newcastle's city walls.

Morden Tower readings were started by Tom and Connie Pickard in 1964. On June 16 1964 poet and song writer Pete Brown gave the first reading. Meanwhile Tom Pickard had tracked down Basil Bunting, then living in obscurity in Northumberland, and soon enthusiastic young Morden Tower audiences were encouraging him to start writing again. On the 22 December 1965 he gave his first public reading of his newly written epic poem Briggflatts.

Basil thought the readings might last about two years. Forty three years later the tower is still delivering quality readings and music and is still as popular as ever. With Paul Smith of Maximo Park featuring the Morden Tower as one his favourite venues on a recent edition of channel 4 "Music Transmissions”.

Many other poets have relished the experience of reading at Morden Tower with its fine acoustics, its warm, appreciative audiences, and its gloriously battered architecture.

Some of the poets and writers that have read at Morden Tower include:

Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Hugh MacDiarmid, J.H.Prynne, Alan Hull, Tom Raworth see more


"Reading at Morden Tower altered my own poetic practice slightly toward greater economy of presentation. So I learned more reading at Morden Tower than I had at a hundred universities".
Allen Ginsberg