Full Events List for 2019 Festival

The 2019 Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival an international flavour though anchored firmly in our village community. 


photo of Brad Borkan in Shackleton's boat

Brad Borkan in an exact replica of Shackleton’s lifeboat, used in the Discovery Channel documentary recreating his epic rescue journey. “It’s a shockingly small boat,” says Brad.

The Festival will be opened at 10am by special guest Brad Borkan bringing with him perspectives on life from the furthest part of the globe: the Antarctic. Originally from California and now based in London, Brad is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an expert in Decision Science, and co-author of When Your Life Depends On It, a fascinating study of decisions made by Antarctic explorers such as Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen.

The Village Hall Lectures

From 11am until 4pm, in the Hawkesbury Village Hall, there will run a series of free illustrated guest lectures by the following speakers:

cover of When Your Life Depends On It

“A remarkable book” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

  • Brad Borkan on Lessons We Can Learn from the Early Antarctic Explorers
  • Dr Gerri Kimber on Why New Zealand’s Greatest Author Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) is Still So Important Today
  • David Ebsworth on Five Things You Almost Certainly Didn’t Know About the Spanish Civil War – the inspiration for his Jack Telford thriller series
  • Rod Griffiths & Lois Parker on Voicing Dementia, Sharing Empathy through stories and film
  • Lucienne Boyce, author of The Bristol Suffragettes, introduces Make More Noise, a selection of short films from the BFI National Archive including historic newsreels and feminist comedy
  • Doloranda Pember on the life of her mother Mercedes Gleitze, first woman to swim the English Channel

Panel Discussions

A series of multi-author discussions will run in the Bethesda Chapel from 12noon until 4pm, on topics including:

  • Novels inspired by the authors’ day-jobs (12noon)
    (accountancy, nursing, armed forces – and the prevention of money-laundering!)
    with A A Abbott (chair), Dawn Brookes, Susan Grossey, Wendy H Jones & Lynne Pardoe
  • Novels inspired by other arts (1pm)
    (dance, music, painting & photography)
    with Ali Bacon (chair), Jean Burnett, David Penny & Thomas Shepherd
  • Novels reflecting the impact of World War II on civilians (2pm)
    (in England and Germany)
    with Simon Bendry (chair), Maureen Armstrong, Rosalind Minett, Gillian Morton & Richard Vaughan-Davies
  • Beware of the ghost(writers) – and other publishing secrets (3pm)
    (including running a small press, publishing your own work, and defining the nation’s use of language)
    with John Lynch (chair), Rachel Amphlett, Katharine E Smith & Edmund Weiner
  • Around the world in 8ish novels (4pm)
    (a lightning world tour starting and finishing at Hawkesbury Upton!)
    with Debbie Young (chair), Hugh Arthur, Anita Davison, Glynn Holloway, Edward James, Jan Petrie & Jenny Wang

Readings & Performance

Themed groups of readings will take place all day in the Methodist Chapel from 11am until 4pm

  • Best of British (11am)
  • Non-fiction (12noon)
  • Short Stories (1pm)
  • Poetry Slam (new for 2019) (3pm)

Children’s Events

  • Book Launch (10am) As part of the opening ceremony, we will launch of Hawkesbury Primary School’s new book of poetry, written by the children, and published in collaboration with the Hawkesbury Literature Festival.
  • Art Workshop (11am) – with popular children’s author and artist Linda Alvis in the Bookworm Tent
  • Meet the Authors (12noon & 2pm) – two one-hour sessions in the Bookworms Tent with storytelling, story and art workshops


Workshops for adults (teens also welcome) will take place in the meeting room of Hawkesbury Primary School on:

  • How to Write for Magazines (11am) – with Ellie Stevenson
  • Writing Poetry (1pm) – with Shirley Wright
  • How to Live a Happier Life (with a little help from Aikido) (3pm) – with Mark Peckett

Art Exhibition

The Art Exhibition will take place from 11am until 4pm in the Methodist Schoolroom (behind the Chapel). Following the success of our first Festival Art Exhibition in the Methodist Schoolroom in 2018, which included artwork by Festival speakers, for 2019 we’d like to open up submissions to members of the parish, as we know there are many talented local artists, and we’d love to showcase their work here. For more information on how to submit a piece of art for the exhibition, please send a message via our general contact form.  Our exhibition curator, Chris Gooding, formerly of the Royal West of England Academy, will select the pieces for display from photographs of the artwork submitted in advance.

The Wonderland Bookshop Cafe

Our ever-popular Alice in Wonderland themed bookshop cafe will run all day in Hawkesbury Primary School’s hall, serving selling soups, cakes and drinks with a literary twist and books by festival authors.