Tag Archives: St Mary's

logo block for April 2023 event

NEXT HULF TALK: Festival of Words

Saturday 22nd April (10.30am-5pm)


The first HULF Talk of 2023 will be a new departure for us: an all-day event at the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Hawkesbury, situated in the delightful ancient hamlet just down the hill from Farm Pool, Hawkesbury Upton.

All profits from the day will be donated to the Friends of St Mary’s, which exists to maintain this beautiful part of our local heritage for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

The event will be provide a wonderful assortment of talks and readings to celebrate the rich delights of English language and literature, including:

  • the influence on the English language of William Tyndale (whose monument is in nearby North Nibley) – said to have had as much impact as the works of Shakespeare – by art historian and churchwarden Lisa Overton
  • jargon in literature, eg the language of boxing, from Dickens to the present day, and the secret jargon of the Suffragettes, by historian and historical novelist Lucienne Boyce
  • putting words in other people’s mouths – how ghostwriters work, by professional ghostwriter John Lynch
  • the art of the aphorism, with Michael Macmahon, author of Brevity is the Soul of Wit, a collection of memorable quotes
  • the use of codes in the Second World War, with a talk about Engima by William Fairney and another about the secret language of Colditz prisoners by Sir Ian Macfadyen
  • the language of bells (with a demonstration by Hawkesbury Ringers and a talk by Tower Captain Colin Dixon
  • the language of the church, a discussion of ancient and modern service forms by Hawkesbury’s Reverend Richard Thomson and Reverend Trevor Stubbs of Keynsham
  • the violent language of the Old Testament – an interpretation for the 21st century by Tina Stubbs
  • poems and readings that celebrate words and language, performed by Gerard Boyce and Michael Macmahon, including Thomas Hardy, John Betjeman, and Brian Friel
  • a calligraphy exhibition of pieces celebrating words and language

Chairing the afternoon will be HULF Director and local author Debbie Young.


As ever, tea, coffee, cake and biscuits will be included in the ticket price of £5 per head.

There will be a one-hour break for lunch when guests are welcome to picnic in the church and its grounds, and to enjoy the calligraphy exhibition.

An optional sit-down lunch of home-made quiche, salad, and fruit, served in the historic setting of the ancient Malthouse opposite the church, by kind courtesy of Lisa and Christopher Overton, will be bookable in advance for £10 per head. Wine and soft drinks will be available to buy on the day for a small extra charge. With just 30 seats available, early booking is advised.



There will be ample free on-site parking in the adjacent field on the day.

Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival is a series of not-for-profit book-related events run by Debbie Young. This is a HULF Mini event. For more information about HULF, please visit www.hulitfest.com.

Our stunning venue: St Mary the Virgin, Hawkesbury – photo by Sir Ian Macfadyen