The programme is now available. Whether it's a serious novelist, a comedian, politician, poet or a children's writer, some of the nation's top wordsmiths are in town from 1st to 15th May for the twelfth Swindon Festival of Literature. Now's the time to book tickets for the events in the first two weeks in May.
After last year's phenomenally successful Festival, Swindon Festival of Literature No. 12 is a few pages away. Authors and speakers booked to appear include established names from the world of literature, politics, entertainment, and television.
Among those coming to town in May, with new books and celebrity looks, is Julian Clary a man with Swindon connections, with his autobiography A Young Man's Passage; trigger-happy television trickster Dom Joly, with his mischievously-titled book Look at Me Look at Me; outspoken politician Clare Short; two men from the other side of politics William Hague and John Redwood; BBC news correspondent Fergal Keene; a QC who dares see what's right and wrong with the law Helena Kennedy; columnist Max Hastings; BBC garden history expert Jane Owen; bright-tied newscaster and author Jon Snow; very popular novelist Katie Fforde; TV impressionist and raconteur Alistair McGowan; brain expert Professor Steven Rose; columnist and Radio 4 man about town Simon Hoggart; man of moral mazes and tele-visual 999 calls Michael Buerk; and, by way of something completely different, founder of the Glastonbury Festival with a book on its history, Michael Eavis.
And there's more!. A good number of literary thoroughbreds, including all the way from Canada, Orange Prize Winner novelist Anne Michaels; revered veteran artist, writer, and thinker John Berger; prizewinning novelist and television personality David Baddiel; from China on sky burial Xinran; outspoken historian David Starkey; sports and birds-writing man of letters Simon Barnes; Guardian life-guide Guy Browning; and columnist and sometime philosopher Michael Bywater.
Some Local and Some New. In true Swindon Festival of Literature tradition, it's not just the famous names that make this a high spot on the town's cultural calendar. During its 15 day run, described by Mo Mowlam as 'the best-organised festival in the country', there will also be the seventh Clive Brain Memorial Lecture, the eighth Poems & Pints, the now nationally-famous Swindon Performance Poetry Slam competition. This year sees the first Youth Slam for Swindon Schools, a Children & Families Day, plus a wide range of literary talks, discussions, and readings at main theatres, arts venues, libraries, schools, pubs, parks, and even an old railway museum!
Festival frolics begin on Sunday 1st May, high on that beautiful ridge in Lawn Woods, overlooking Queen's Drive, at 5.30am, with the ever-popular Dawn Chorus, where early birds gather for a spring carnival of poetry, song, storytelling, dance, and hot breakfasts, plus a good deal of Mayday morning mischief! Festival Director Matt Holland says "The Festival's profile and reputation continue to grow. Each year it attracts bigger names and a larger following. At every level, it has become a fantastic celebration for Swindon of things well written and things well said. 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 2005 Swindon Festival of Literature has been made possible by funding from the Arts Council of England, South West, whose support represents recognition of what has been achieved in literature development in Swindon. Financial support has also been received from Dominic Winter Book Auctions, Swindon Borough Council, the University of Bath in Swindon, Swindon Learning Partnership, and Lower Shaw Farm. Support in kind is received from numerous other local and national organisations and individuals including www.swindonlink.com and its paper sister Swindon Link magazine.
"It's heartening that all these people see the value of a festival of literature in Swindon", says Matt.
For further information or to go on the Festival mailing list, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 01793 771080 www.swindonfestivalofliterature.co.uk