Main Festival (April)


The 2017 Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival will be officially opened by special guest Orna Ross, bestselling novelist, poet and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Orna has twice been named by The Bookseller as one of the UK’s 100 Most Influential People in Publishing. Her welcome address will be followed by the launch of several new books, including festival founder Debbie Young’s novel Best Murder in Show, and a tribute to Jane Austen for her bicentenary.

Talks and Readings will start every hour, on the hour

Each event lasts 50 minutes – see below for detailed list of topics, times and speakers.

Writing Workshops (open to adults and teens)

2pm               Writing Short Stories – with coach Sue Johnson
4pm               Writing Poetry – with poet Shirley Wright 

Children’s Events (All day) – in the Bookworms Tent (outside The Fox)

Children’s activities will be running non-stop in the Bookworms Tent, including Meet the Children’s Author sessions will start on the hour, every hour:

11am Linda Alvis (for young children)
12noon Jenny Heap (for young children)
1pm  Betty Salthouse (for primary school age)
2pm  Kate Frost (for 10 to teens)
3pm  Lu Hersey (for 10 to teens)
4pm  Jo Allmond & Jess Hiles (for primary school age)

Talks at The Bethesda Chapel (10am-4.50pm)

10am Official Opening by special guest Orna Ross 
Welcome address by special guest the author and poet Orna Ross,
named by The Bookseller magazine as one of the UK’s 100 Most Influential People in Publisihng – followed by the launch of several new books, including Debbie Young’s Best Murder in Show, and a tribute to Jane Austen for her bicentenary

11am   The Importance of a Sense of Place in Fiction
Chair: Lisa Overton, Chairman of the National Trust’s Arts Council
With Ali Bacon, JJ Franklin, Mari Howard, Jackie Kabler, David Penny, Katharine E Smith and Sophie E Tallis

12noon  Commoners or Kings? Historical novelists look at the pros and cons of writing about royalty or ordinary folk
Chair: Lucienne Boyce, historian and historical novelist
With Celia Boyd, Jean Burnett, Glynn Holloway, Christine Jordan, John Lynch and Ellie Stevenson

1pm The History of Print, Publishing and Dictionaries 1977-2017
Chair: Debbie Young, author of fiction & non-fiction
With Jonathan Ionides (former employee of Robert Maxwell), Peter Roberts of Clarendon Press in Wotton-under-Edge, and Edmund Weiner, Deputy Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary

2pm How to Live and Think More Creatively
Chair: Orna Ross, founder of the Creativist Club and lecturer in Creative Thinking
With Dan Holloway and Joanna Penn

3pm Writing About Difference
Chair: Dan Holloway
With Jo Allmond, Jess Hiles, Dan Holloway, Dan Jeffries, Thomas Shepherd, Joy Thomas and Debbie Young

4pm The Future of Reading and Writing
Chair: Joanna Penn, bestselling author and entrepreneur
With AA Abbott, Orna Ross, Debbie Young

Readings at the Methodist Chapel (11am-4.50pm)

Dan on chair performing a poem

Award-winning performance poet Dan Holloway in action (Photo: Joanna Penn)

11am Our Festival Poets Perform
Chair: Dan Holloway, award-winning performance poet
With Jo Allmond, Sue Johnson, Orna Ross, Joy Thomas, Bob Woodroofe and Shirley Wright

12noon  Poetry, Please!
A new feature in which members of the public share their favourite poems Chair: Suzie Grogan, author, researcher and broadcaster
With Lyn Bulley (Joyce Williams), William Fairney (Robert Southey), Michael MacMahon (Dylan Thomas), Paul Murphy (Laurie Lee), Orna Ross (WB Yeats) and members of the audience

1pm Short Stories
Chair: John Holland, author and director of Stroud Short Stories
With AA Abbott, Ali Bacon, Jacci Gooding, Rod Griffiths, Jenny Heap, Rosalind Minett, Mark Rutterford and Sophie E Tallis

2pm  Non-fiction
Chair: Michael MacMahon, author and voice actor
With Simon Bendry, Jean Burnett, Bill Fairney, Suzie Grogan, Dan Jeffries, Christine Jordan, Paul Murphy, Alan Moyes, Jann Tracy and Edmund Weiner

3pm Historical fiction
Chair: John Lynch, author of historical and contemporary fiction
With Jean Burnett, Celia Boyd, Lucienne Boyce, Glynn Holloway, Christine Jordan, Joy Kenward, Rosalind Minett, David Penny and Orna Ross

4pm  Contemporary fiction
Chair: Ali Bacon, novelist and author of short stories
With J J Franklin, Kate Frost, Mari Howard, Sue Johnson, Josephine Lay, Lynne Pardoe, Thomas Shepherd, Katharine E Smith and Ellie Stevenson

Outdoor Event (4pm at the War Memorial)

Simon Bendry will talk about and read from his biography of villagers listed on the village war memorial, with the Hawkesbury Writers (authors of A Monument to Hawkesbury) and the Hawkesbury History Society (authors ofThe Hawkesbury Chronicles)

Official Closing Ceremony in the Wonderland Cafe (5pm)

With a celebration of Shakespeare in advance of his birthday next day!

Photo of cake table

Bookish cakes and soups galore in Alice’s Wonderland Bookshop Cafe (Photo: Joanna Penn)

Bookshop and Refreshments

  • The Wonderland Bookshop Café will be selling soups, cakes and drinks with a literary twist and books by festival authors in the Methodist Hall.
  • Excellent Italian meals, alcoholic and soft drinks, and Italian coffee will be served in The Fox Inn all day (booking advisable if you plan to stay on for an evening meal.)

Watch the launch of the 2016 Festival on YouTube here courtesy of Thomas Shepherd’s video.