The 2018 Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival was be officially opened by special guest Caroline Sanderson, Associate Editor of The Bookseller and author of many books including A Rambling Fancy: In the Footsteps of Jane Austen.

The opening ceremony also showcased the launch of several new books, including festival founder Debbie Young’s novel Murder by the Book, fourth in her popular Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series.

Click here to download a printable pdf of the 2018 Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival programme

Talks and Readings will start every hour, on the hour

Each event always lasts 50 minutes, allowing ten minutes for changeover between rooms.


  • 10am Launch Event
  • 11am Crime Writing: From Cosy to Chilling
    with a psychologist and four crime writers: Rosalind Minett (chair), Angela Buckley, Barry Faulkner, JJ Franklin & Debbie Young
  • 12pm Preserving Words
    with a linguist, a bookseller, a librarian and a lexicographer: Dan Holloway (chair), Hereward Corbett & Dan Gooding
  • 1pm Six Ways to be a Writer
    with six authors with very different approaches to the writing life: Debbie Young (chair), A A Abbott, Joy Kenward, David Penny, Katharine E Smith & Stella Wilkinson
  • 2pm The Legacies of the First World War
    with three historians who share their research: Michael Macmahon (chair), Simon Bendry, Lucienne Boyce & Suzie Grogan
  • 3pm Writing for Children
    Six authors discuss the motion: “There’s no such thing as children’s stories – just great stories” – Thomas Shepherd (chair), Kate Frost, James Minter, Betty Salthouse,  Trevor Stubbs & Miranda Walker
  • 4pm Writing Your Passion
    Six writers share their passion for writing about unusual subjects – Caroline Sanderson (chair), Bill Fairney, Jacci Gooding, Peter Lay, Lynne Pardoe & Jann Tracy 
  • 5pm Closing Ceremony
    Presentations, thank yous, and our traditional Shakespearean send-off with Prospero’s speech performed by Michael MacMahon


  • 11am Contemporary Fiction
    – with Kate Frost (chair), Rod Griffiths, Nicola Horton, Mari Howard, Josephine Lay,  Thomas Shepherd, Katharine E Smith & Stella Wilkinson
  • 12pm Historical Fiction
    – with Celia Boyd (chair), Jean Burnett, Lucienne Boyce, David Penny & Margaret Taylor
  • 1pm Poetry
    – with Dan Holloway (chair), Bobbi Coelho, Jacci Gooding, David Williams & Shirley Wright 
  • 2pm Short Stories
    – with John Holland (chair), Ali Bacon, Martin Brown, Mel Golding, Jenny Heap, Deborah Jones, Nastasya Parker, Mark Rutterford & Ellie Stevenson
  • 3pm Mysteries, Crimes & Thrillers
    – with Debbie Young (chair), AA Abbott, Angela Buckley, Barry Faulkner, JJ Franklin  & Jo Ullah
  • 4pm Poetry Please! – for this final session, members of the audience are invited to bring their favourite poems, or poems they have written themselves, to read aloud

Writing Workshops (open to adults and teens)

  • 2pm  Mindful Writingwith coach Joy Kenward, author of Mindful Writing
  • 3pm  Writing Poetry with award-winning poet Shirley Wright 

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

Providing the opportunity to meet authors who write for children and young adults throughout the day
– with Kate Frost, James Minter, Betty Salthouse,  Trevor Stubbs &  Miranda Walker
Plus fun activities and storytelling all day long

Art Exhibition – in the Methodist Hall
*NEW FOR 2018*

A display of calligraphy with a literary twist, portrait photography, architectural drawings, paintings and book illustrations by Festival authors and friends of the Festival, curated by Chris Gooding, former of the Royal West of England Academy

Bookshop and Refreshments

  • The Wonderland Bookshop Café sold delicious home-made will be selling soups, cakes and drinks with a literary twist and books by festival authors in the School Hall.
  • Italian Nespresso coffee and herbal teas in the Methodist Hall alongside the Festival Art Exhibition (11am-5pm)