Little did I know what I was getting into when five years ago I decided to mark World Book Night in my village by running a mini literature festival…
The idea was to bring together a few author friends for an evening of talks and readings in one of our local pubs. What started out as a sedate two-hour schedule quickly overflowed into five hours, to allow time for all who wanted to take part. These included illustrious guests such as the bestselling romantic novelist Katie Fforde, who kindly accepted my invitation to declare it open, and Orna Ross, bestselling historical novelist and poet and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, for which I’m UK Ambassador.
Before the evening was over, people were already saying to me:
“This is going to be an annual event, right, Debbie?”
“Can you make it a whole day next time?”
“Let’s have it on Saturday next year so the kids can join in.”
Five Years On…
Always eager to please, I fell in with all of those suggestions. Five years on, here we are a month away from the most ambitious Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival yet, on Saturday 27th April.
That modest evening in the pub has morphed into a village takeover, with events now scheduled simultaneously in six venues, with different things starting on the hour every hour from 10am through 5pm.
A Vast Array of Talent & Goodwill
Over seventy authors and artists will be taking part in talks, discussions, readings, a poetry slam, an art exhibition, children’s events and a series of workshops.
We’ve gained huge local support, including sponsorship from local individuals and organisations – the Hawkesbury Parish News, Head Start Studio, Hawkesbury Writers, Sid Crighton of Orange Dog Studio – and also from the globetrotting travel writer Jay Artale, who is managing our Twitter account from wherever she is in the world! (See our list of sponsors here.) Their generous support and encouragement has enabled us to keep the Festival free to attend, while increasing its reach and appeal.
How to Attend the 2019 Festival
If you’d like to attend, no prior booking is necessary – just come along on the day. Head for the Village School, the hub of the Festival, to grab your programme and venue map.
Even better, download them now from our website to plan your day in advance, so you don’t miss any of the events that especially appeal to you. You can also keep up with Festival news on Twitter at @HULitFest.
More Reasons to Attend!
And if you’re not yet convinced that a day at a small provincial lit fest is worth your while, read my guest post on the Oakwood Literature Festival website about what makes these events so special: What Do Small Lit Fests Offer that Big Ones Don’t? I’ll be speaking at the second Oakwood Festival on Saturday 18th May, and in the meantime at the Wrexham Carnival of Words on Thursday 2nd May.
And maybe in June I might find time for a little lie-down in a darkened room…