Following last May's phenomenal sixteenth Festival, plans are now underway for next year's seventeenth Swindon Festival of Literature, writes festival director Matt Holland.
The Festival will run for two weeks, from 3-15 May 2010.
Once again, Festival frolics will begin at dawn on that beautiful ridge in Lawn Woods, overlooking Swindon, at 5.30am on Spring Bank Holiday Monday 3 May, with the ever-popular Dawn Chorus, where Festival-following early-birds will gather with Spring songs, tall stories, high-wire words, verbal and physical acrobatics, music, Maypole dancing, hot breakfasts, plus a good deal of other early-morning merriment and mischief!
During the subsequent 13 days, authors and speakers appearing at venues in town will include established names not only from the world of literature but also from politics, science, sport, entertainment, and television.
Even at this early stage of planning, Festival organisers have secured a number of exciting bookings. These include, on 3 May, barrister and former resident of 10 Downing Street Cherie Blair with her book Speaking for Myself; and Maureen Lipman with her autobiography Past-it Notes.
Negotiations are also in underway with other established authors, performers, and celebrity writers, although their bookings are not yet confirmed. These include writer and broadcaster Jeremy Paxman; all-rounder Alastair Campbell; comedienne Jo Brand; Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie; Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy; all-ages wrier Philip Pullman; novelist Ian McEwan; scientist Richard Dawkins; walker-talker Janet Street Porter; and broadcasting's man of letters Melvyn Bragg.
NOTE: If any Festival followers have suggestions or requests for authors and performers they would like to see in town next May, Festival organisers would welcome these. Now is the time to tell us your wish list!
Of course, in true Swindon Festival of Literature tradition, it will not just be famous names that make this festival a high spot on Wiltshire's cultural calendar.
Apart from big names, there will also be a good number of other big events!
During the 14 days of the Festival, described by John Carey as 'terrific', by Joan Bakewell as 'delightful', by John Major as 'punctual', by Jon Snow as 'a real surprise', and by Shaun B as 'comparable to sex', there will also be the now nationally-famous Swindon Performance Poetry Slam competition, the schools' Youth Slam, a bookish weekend for Children & Families in Lydiard Park, a philosophical new Think Slam event, the oh-so-exciting Poems, Pints, & Music evening, plus a wide range of literary talks, discussions, and readings at main theatres, arts venues, libraries, schools, pubs, parks, and even in an ex-cowshed, in Swindon!
Festival Director Matt Holland says "The Festival's profile and reputation continue to grow. It has become a veritable festival of ideas. Each year it attracts new writers, terrific 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 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. It is all very exciting!"
The 2010 Swindon Festival of Literature will be made possible by funding from Arts Council England, South West, whose support represents recognition of the good things that have been achieved in Literature development in Swindon.
Financial support is also provided by Dominic Winter Book Auctions; Swindon Borough Council's Culture Swindon & Artswords; the Council's Adult and Families Learning Project; and Lower Shaw Farm; plus valuable support and assistance from First Great Western, the National Union of Teachers, the Swindon Advertiser, Holland Handling Recycling, the Link Magazine, Acorn Press, and Waterstone's Bookshops, Friends of the Festival, as well as a host of other local organisations and individuals.
It is heartening that all these people see the value of a festival of Literature in Swindon!
The full-colour 32-page Festival programme will be unveiled at midday on Thursday 18 March 2010.
To go on the Festival mailing list, telephone 01793 771080 or e-mail email@example.com
For further information, contact Matt Holland, Festival Organiser, on 01793 771080 or 07940 827624 or firstname.lastname@example.org