What’s on at the Abergavenny Writing Festival?


The Abergavenny Writing Festival is an event for anyone who loves writing and the written word. Being held for the first time, it will run from 21 – 23 April 2016 at the Kings Arms hotel. The festival’s aim is to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together to get writing. Old or young, published writer or aspiring novelist we have something for everyone.

Here is the full schedule for the whole of the festival:

Tyler Keevil ‘The Writer’s Habit & Finding Your Muse’, Thursday 21st April, 10-11am, Kings Arms Hotel

In this workshop, award-winning author and Creative Writing lecturer Tyler Keevil will guide participants through the initial stages of the creative process. It is aimed at beginning and aspiring writers looking to find out more about the craft, and have some fun while doing so.

Rhys Milsom ‘Poetry Workshop’, Thursday 21st April, 11.30am-12.30pm, Kings Arms Hotel

A chance for participants to craft a poem based on their own mindset and experiences that is unique to them. This workshop will focus on enjambment and free verse style with participants using stimuli to spark ideas and creativity.

Simon Lancaster ‘Speak like a leader speechwriting workshop’, Thursday 21st April 1-3pm Kings Arms Hotel

In his new book, Winning Minds: Secrets from the Language of Leadership, top speechwriter Simon Lancaster combines ancient rhetoric and neuroscience to create the ultimate user’s guide to that secret language. In this workshop, you will learn the secret tricks you can use to sound like a great leader. You will never think about language the same again.

Writing For Fun ‘Writing Family Stories & Memoir workshop’, Thursday 21st April 3.30-5pm, Kings Arms Hotel

Remember Granny’s button jar? Grandad’s paper knife? What Aunt Miranda did in 1948…
Bring along an object as inspiration for a workshop on capturing family stories and writing memoir.
Suitable for all writing levels beginner or old hand.

‘Bookshops Confidential’ with Jack Thurston, Jane Blank and Joanna Chambers, Thursday 21st April, 6-7pm, Broadleaf Books

A good bookshop is a secret weapon in the writer’s armoury: as a source of inspiration and ideas, a resource for research and a place of refuge. Poet and novelist Jane Blunt and travel writer Jack Thurston share their love of bookshops with Joanna Chambers, owner of Broadleaf Books.

‘Opening night’ with Paul Henry, Charles Way, D. D. Johnston and Eddie Butler, Thursday 21st April, 7-11pm, Kings Arms Hotel

An entertaining and inspiring evening of writers reading their work, sharing insights and singing! The fabulous and eclectic line-up includes: the much respected poet’s poet Paul Henry; novelist and creative writing teacher D.D. Johnston and journalist, highly esteemed playwright Charles Way and sports commentator and former Welsh rugby union player Eddie Butler.

Fergus Collins, editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, ‘how to get published’, Friday 22nd April, 10-11am, Kings Arms Hotel

Fergus Collins, editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine will share his insights on: Easy ways to get a head-start over most other writers; What editors are looking for from YOU; How to write the perfect pitch – and get it noticed; How to follow up a pitch and get commissioned (and paid!); How to write articles for the web that people want to read and a discussion about how to generate great, original copy.

‘Foraging talk and walk’ with Adele Nozedar, Friday 22nd April, 11.30am-12.30pm, starting and finishing at Kings Arms Hotel

Adele Nozedar is the author of bestselling books ‘The Hedgerow Handbooks’ and ‘The Garden Forager’. Join her in a taster forage around Abergavenny, taking in both wild plants and ‘tame’ ones.

Abergavenny Chronicle, ‘How to write effective press releases & get them noticed’, Friday 22nd April, 1-2pm, Abergavenny Chronicle offices

If you are acting as a press or marketing officer get tips from the experts in this hour-long workshop session with Abergavenny Chronicle editor Liz Davies and the Borough Theatre’s communications manager Lynsey Wheeler. The introduction to press and marketing will include tips on how to write effective press releases and how to get your information noticed.

Rob Yorke ‘Walk & talk on the art of pithy prose’, Friday 22nd April, 2-3pm, start and finish at The Kings Arms Hotel

‘I haven’t the time to write a short letter!’ How to fit more into less; from Letters to The Times to pithy tweets, Rob Yorke discusses the art of communicating pithy prose. Join Rob, an independent commentator on rural affairs, for a walk and talk around The Meadows.

Arts Alive Creative Network, ‘Meet the Professionals: Editing & Publishing’, Friday 22nd April, 4-5.30pm, The Kings Arms Hotel

Hosted by the Creative Network this event will provide a professional insight into getting your work published. If you want to learn more about the publishing process and how to expand your readership join us for an informative panel discussion with leading authors Tom Bullough and Rachel Tresize, Seren editor Penny Thomas and publisher Simon Hicks.

‘Wild Mapping’ with Wild Tots, Saturday 23rd April, 10-30am to midday, Linda Vista Gardens

This event is inspired by the ‘Childish’ chapter in Robert MacFarlane’s book ‘Landmarks’. A chance for children to explore and enjoy outdoor spaces together. For 0-7 year olds and their families.

Imaginary Monsters with Naomi Doyle, Saturday 23rd April, 10-11am The Kings Arms Hotel

In this fun and fearsome workshop we will imagine, describe and make monsters in person and on paper. Through writing and rhyming, performing and improvising, we will bring our creatures to life and scare ourselves silly! For 7-11 year olds.

‘Percy the Pom Pom bear book launch’, Saturday 23rd April, 11.15-11.45am, The Kings Arms Hotel

Come and meet Welsh writer Mari Ellis Dunning reading from her new book ‘Percy the Pom Pom Bear.’ Percy came to her late one night while she was still studying for her undergraduate degree at Aberystwyth University.  The book is aimed at 3-6 year olds.

‘Children’s Poetry Workshop’ with Young People’s Laureate for Wales Sophie McKeand, Saturday 23rd April, 2-3pm, The Kings Arms Hotel

Working together our group will be masters of invention, dreaming up new words and language inspired by Roald Dahl’s writings. We’ll climb inside words, chew them up, garble them through translation systems, draw them huge, tear them up and stick them together again as we then focus on how to shape all this on the page. Finally we’ll work on some performance techniques before reading our poetry at the end of the session. Aimed at children aged 8-11.

Reading ‘The Magic Piano’ with author Helen O’Sullivan, Saturday 23rd April, 3.30-4pm, Kings Arms Hotel

Come and listen to Helen read the enchanting adventures of Freddie and Poco: who are magically transported by Magic Piano to exciting foreign locations. In this adventure they discover the wonders of Paris, the eternal city of light.  Join our intrepid explorers in their latest adventure.

‘Creative Ways to Write with Matthew James Dicken’, Saturday 23rd April, 4.30-5.30pm, Kings Arms Hotel

The session is aimed at children (aged around 9-14), their parents and aspiring children’s writers. In this session, writer Matthew will give you an opportunity to try out some of the ways he uses to inspire writing and description. This interactive session will include a special sneak-peak reading of Matthew’s new trilogy due to be published next year.

‘Word fuelled Saturday night shindig with Robert Penn, Mark Blayney, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Plumb and Sophie McKeand’, Saturday 23rd April, 7-11pm, Kings Arms Hotel

Robert Penn, writer and broadcaster author of ‘The Man Who Made Things out of Trees’ and ‘It’s all About the Bike’ will give a talk and compere the evening. Writer and performer Mark Blayney, will perform his hilarious solo show: ‘Be your own Life Coach with Abba.’ Costa poetry prize winner Jonathan Edwards and “Tree Surgeon Poet” Matthew Plumb will read some of their own poems. And Sophie McKeand (young people’s Laureate, Wales) will host an open-mic poetry session.

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About Author

Abergavenny Now founder and History graduate from Bath Spa University. I was born in Abergavenny and have lived in the town for most of my life.

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