Local author collaborates to organise first Swindon Railway Village Book Fair

By Jessica Durston - 9 May 2023

Arts and CultureAttractions
  • Lis McDermott

    Lis McDermott

Local author Lis McDermott and Dan Fishlock, Community Engagement Officer for the Mechanics’ Institution Trust are organising the first book fair for the Railway Village, later this month.

A group of 11 authors, all based in Swindon, Wiltshire or the South West, are getting together to share their books.

The fair will take place on Saturday 20 May 2023, from 11am – 3pm at The Central Community Centre, Emlyn Square, Swindon SN1 5BP.  

The list of authors participating includes: 

  • Angela Atkinson, of Swindon author of ‘Swindon in 50 Buildings’ and ‘Secret Swindon’
  • Hannah Dosanjh, of Swindon, author of children’s book ‘A Railway Town called Swindon’.
  • Nikki Copleston, of Wells, author of DI Jeff Lincoln thrillers.
  • Judith Cranswick of Swindon author of The Fiona Mason Mysteries and The Aunt Jessica Mysteries.
  • Belle Henderson of Swindon author of 5 Romantic Comedies.
  • Matt Jeffrey of Swindon author of the first in a series of children’s books. ‘Adventures with Ollie; The Lost Hat’. 
  • Jane Lark of Devizes author of Romantic Historical Fiction and Romantic Thrillers.
  • Lis McDermott herself, of Royal Wootton Bassett, author of eight books including her first novel published a year ago.
  • Helen Michaelsen of Dorset, Author of children’s’ audio book ‘The Call of Mektoub’
  • Zozo Thomas of Swindon author of children’s series ‘Tales from Mulberry Garden’
  • Amelia Watchman of Swindon author of a children’s book and 4 Romantic Comedy novels.

Lis McDermott said: “I’ve organised this event because I feel there are very few opportunities for people to meet, talk with and be inspired by authors living on their own doorsteps. Books are for everyone and every community will have a number of authors who are inspired by stories, or by their hobby or some other passion. I wanted to give a platform to some of those writers and creatives within my own community.” 

Dan Fishlock, Community Engagement Officer for the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, said: “When Lis approached the Mechanics’ Institution Trust with the idea for the book fair, we wanted to do everything we could to help support and promote local authors within our community.

"Our aims are not limited to building preservation, but also to deliver and promote community benefit through the use of our heritage buildings. Emlyn Square is a central location with strong transport links and plenty of parking, so it is an ideal place for an event of this kind.” 

Entry to the book fair itself is free, and after the fair there will be a low-cost ‘Meet the Authors’ event, with live interviews. Local journalist and PR expert, Fiona Scott, of Scott Media, will be leading this event alongside Lis McDermott. 

This event is priced at £3 for non-members of the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, and members can access this event at a 50% discount. 

Individuals can become a member of the Mechanics’ Institution Trust for as little as £1 per year (plus donation) by filling out this form.

This session is said to be suitable for older primary children, upwards. Tickets for this event will be limited, due to space. 

To book for the Meet the Authors’ event, members of the public can visit https://mechanics-trust.org.uk/Events/

During the day The Bakers Café (also managed by the Mechanics’ Institution Trust) will be open for refreshments, including between the Book Fair and Meet the Authors event. 

Parking is available at Bristol Street Car Park. Due to its central location, this event is accessible at a walking distance from the town centre and with frequent local bus routes.

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