Another spectacular Swindon Festival of Literature has taken place
Let the ideas flow forth. Launching the festival programme on 20 March, right, festival director Matt Holland and councillor Gary Perkins, with festival cheeky girls Maisey Saunders and Beth Powell
Once again, festival frolics started high on the ridge in Lawn Woods, overlooking Swindon, at 5.30am on Spring Bank Holiday Monday 5 May, with the ever-popular Dawn Chorus, where earlybirds gather for a spring carnival of poetry, song, storytelling, dance, and hot breakfasts.
From 1 to 18 May, authors and speakers appearing at venues across the town included established names not only from the world of literature but also from environment and ecology, acting and art, science and sport, philosophy, poetry, and pop music.
There was a fantastic collection of talent, from Booker Prize winner Ben Okri, right, Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie, football-playing maths professor and genius Marcus du Sautoy, to ex-pro footballer Graeme LeSaux and legendary sports commentator Barry Davies.
Philosopher A C Grayling talked knowingly, founder of the Eden Project Tim Smit, talked off the top of his head, actor and director Steven Berkoff talked about cooking and historian Richard Holmes was very witty. There was the editor at the Oxford English Dictionary Charlotte Brewer, controversial documentary maker John Pilger, and with his new book on the State versus Mandela, defence lawyer legend and good Swindon import Lord Joel Joffe.
Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker, once a pirate and nearly the last from the 60s birth of pop music, sponsored by Swindon Link, spoke at a packed house of fans.
By way of helping Swindon in its ambition to become the most Eco-Friendly and Sustainable City of Europe by 2016, an Eco Ideas and Practices Day takes place on Sunday 11 May with talks and workshops by the authors of the hot potato of Spring publishing, The Self-Sufficientish Bible, a presentation from the director of the Fairtrade organisation, information on climate change issues, eco-friendly activities for children, and talks on eco housing in Swindon.
Of course, in true SFL tradition, it was not just be famous names or hot issues that make this a highspot on the town’s cultural calendar. The nationally-famous Swindon Performance Poetry Slam made a powerful impact, Youth did an equally eager Slam as well, and an all-action Children & Families Day rounded off the festival
Joan Bakewell has called the festival 'truly delightful' whilst Jon Snow said it was 'a real surprise', whilst Shaun B thinks it 'comparable to sex,'
Festival director Matt Holland, right, said, “Swindon’s profile and reputation continue to grow; it has become a veritable festival of ideas. Each year the festival attracts a broader range of terrific writers and speakers and a larger following. At every level, it has become a fantastic celebration for Swindon of things well written and things well said. It offers experiences that help make life memorable. People of all ages and backgrounds have a very good time. They get together, meet authors, join in lively talk, explore new ideas, and even have a laugh.”
See what you missed at: www.swindonfestivalofliterature.co.uk