Twenty one years is significant in Swindon. It’s a great milestone for any independent project, and it proves beyond doubt that the town is keen on culture.
Following last year’s terrific twentieth fortnight of all things literary, plans are now well-underway for this year’s event.
Among authors who have already confirmed their appearance in Swindon in May are former politician and dancer Ann Widdecombe, left top; environmental advisor Jonathon Porritt, centre; veteran BBC conflicts correspondent Kate Adie, bottom.
There’s also kitchen columnist Bee Wilson; literature professor John Carey; English expert Philip Davis; man of magical numbers Alex Bellos; writer on crimes of passion Lisa Appignanesi; mischievously-informative writers and disturbing duo with ukuleles Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Tom Hodgkinson.
Negotiations are still underway with a host of other names: Rory Bremner, Tracey Thorn, Dave Gorman, Julian Barnes, Dr Michael Mosley, Joanna Trollope, Ian McEwan, and Bettany Hughes, and others.
As well as authors, speakers, and performers yet to be announced, there will also be many other key events including the uniquely invigorating Dawn Chorus, the fabulous Freedom parkrun, the now nationally-known Swindon Poetry Slam and schools’ Youth Slam, the bookishly-brilliant Children & Families Day, the fifth-ever philosophical Think Slam, and the oh-so-exciting Poems, Pints & Music Finale.
These will be complemented by a wide range of talks, discussions, and readings at theatres, arts venues, libraries, schools, pubs, parks, and even in an ex-cowshed.
The Swindon Festival of Literature has been 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 John and Mary as ‘the reason we moved to Swindon.’
Festival director Matt Holland said: “It’s our twenty-first festival, which means we are grown up. It means that we can be both serious about things and have fun. We intend to do just that with adventurous authors, terrific talks, delightful discussion, wonderful workshops, and excellent entertainment.
"During its twenty-one years, the Swindon Festival of Literature has gone from strength and has become a splendid celebration for Swindon of things well written and things well said."
To go on the festival mailing list, or for further details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01793 771080.
The 2014 Swindon Festival of Literature is made possible by funding from Arts Council England, South West.
Financial support is also provided by Dominic Winter Book Auctions; Swindon Borough Council, Artswords, and the Council’s Adult Community Learning project; and Lower Shaw Farm.
It has also received valuable assistance from Swindon Link, Swindon Advertiser, BBC Wiltshire, Swindon 105.5, TotalSwindon.com, Acorn Press, Waterstones and Pen & Paper bookshop, Central Library’s Visitor Information Service, Friends of the Festival, as well as a host of other local organisations and individuals.