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Saturday, 3 June, 2000, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Poet Laureate at Hay festival
Poet Laureate Andrew Motion
Poet Laureate Andrew Motion will be at the Hay festival
Poet Laureate Andrew Motion is to contribute a piece of his work to raise awareness of victims of torture at a ceremony taking place the Hay Literature Festival.

Novelist Norman Mailer is among the other key attractions on the festival's final day on Saturday.

Mr Motion will contribute the previously unpublished poem This Is It to a mobile Freedom Wall, which will tour the UK raising awareness of torture cases.

The poem is officially unveiled in the poetry tent at the festival on Saturday and will later travel to other literature festivals.

Members of the public are being offered the chance to add their own poems to the wall by making a 10 donation, raising funds for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.

"My poem is about freedom in a very general way," he said.

"It is about how we all have death's hot breath on the back of our necks, yet somehow maintain the freedom to go on living."

He added: "The foundation does an admirable job in helping people who have suffered cruelly to regain their strength and dignity.

"I was moved by the foundation's insistence that poetry to many of its clients is a distinct flame of freedom.

"I am pleased to be able to feed that flame."

Meanwhile, festival organisers are celebrating a successful week, with attendance figures topping 50,000 in spite of the poor weather.

A festival spokeswoman said last Sunday's crowds were 25% up on last year's numbers.

Many of the events at the festival performed to sell-out crowds, with the success put down to the "excellent programme" offered this year.

Among the stars at this year's event have been Melvyn Bragg, Ben Elton, Craig Charles and Gore Vidal.

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30 May 00 | Wales
Poetry in the air at Hay
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