The brand-new 40-page full-colour programme for the nineteenth Swindon Festival of Literature from 7 to 19 May was unveiled on 22 March, hot off the press, at Swindon’s prize-winning Central Library.
Authors due to appear from 7th and 19th May are varied and many. They include:
BBC’s World Affairs Correspondent John Simpson;
Channel 4’s News Editor Lindsey Hilsum;
Radio 4’s Claudia Hammond;
Kids Company’s Camila Batmanghelidjh;
Only Fools and Horses’ ‘Boycie’, aka John Challis;
Observer columnist Will Hutton;
best-selling writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie;
best-selling novelist Marina Lewycka;
cookery writer and novelist Prue Leith;
Mindfulness guru Professor Mark Williams;
author and journalist Melissa Benn;
environmentalist Mark Lynas;
top rom com novelists Ali McNamara and Jane Costello;
and award-winning comics Alex Horne and Nat Luurtsema.
Pictured above, South Swindon MP Robert Buckland with festival director Matt Holland and Poets with Attitude – Megan Price, Harley Bunce, April Pssarras from Commonweal School. Below, coming to Swindon in May John Simpson, Lindsey Hillsum, Will Hutton, Camilla Batmanghelidjh
As well as these, there are also more than fifty other events that include a wide range of talks, discussions, and readings at main theatres, arts venues, libraries, schools, pubs, parks, museums, galleries, and even an ex-cowshed, in Swindon!
Plus, numerous authors and performers, the national Battered Moons Poetry Competition, the third Swindon Think Slam, a Children & Families Day, an alternative Comedy Club, the eighth Youth Poetry Slam and the sixteenth Swindon Slam; the performance of the Toothill Long Poem; a celebration of past local writers Richard Jefferies and Alfred Williams; the launch of this year’s Domestic Cherry magazine; and the fabulous Poems, Pints, Music, & Dance Finale!
And to mark this Olympic year, the Festival will kick off not only with its unique and popular Dawn Chorus, a sunrise celebration of mental and physical frolics, fun, and the rising sun at 5.30am in Lawn Woods but will also offer a Bank Holiday Monday of all-round health-enhancing activities, for the mind and the body!
In lovely Lydiard Park, on the very first day of the Festival, there will be a health walk and a gentle run; followed by a talk for walkers and a talk and discussion for runners and anyone interested in the health benefits of both these activities..
The Festival is now firmly established on Swindon and Wiltshire’s cultural calendar. It is loved locally and held in high regard nationally. – Jon Snow hailed it ‘remarkable and a real surprise’; John Major, ‘perfect and punctual’; Joan Bakewell, ‘delightful’; John Carey ‘terrific’; Melvyn Bragg ‘down to earth’; Shaun B ‘comparable to sex’; and John & Mary D ‘one of the main reasons we moved to Swindon!’
The Festival of Literature continues to thrive thanks to funding from Arts Council England, South West, whose support represents recognition of the growth, value, and popularity of Literature-related activities in Swindon.
Other main partners and loyal sponsors of the Festival are Dominic Winter Book Auctions, Swindon Borough Council, Culture Swindon and Artswords, Swindon Libraries, Community Learning, First Great Western, Lower Shaw Farm, and Holland Handling Recycling. Further assistance comes from Waterstones Bookshop, Swindon Visitor Information Centre, Acorn Press, Pink Handbag, STEAM Museum, Swindon Film Society, Swindon Advertiser, Link Magazine, BBC Wiltshire, Swindon Community Radio 105.5, plus 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!
See the 2012 festival programme at www.swindonfestivalofliterature.co.uk
Front page and top image: Danielle Forsyth, Bradon Forest School