2014 Oswestry LitFest Programme Announced

Martin Bell
Martin Bell

New Festival Patron Frank Cottrell Boyce, one of the most influential writers in British popular culture, congratulated Oswestry LitFest for securing some of the UK’s most popular writers, novelists, journalists and broadcasters for this year’s Festival at a special launch event in Oswestry on Friday.

Big names attracted to Oswestry this year include the Sunday Times No. 1 best-selling writer and documentary film maker, Jon Ronson; former BBC Foreign Correspondent Martin Bell OBE; Sunday Times best-selling author of romantic fiction, Carole Matthews, and leading crime fiction writer Aline Templeton, creator of the popular Scottish female detective DI Marjorie Fleming.

Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo the Bear also pop up in a typically eclectic programme as do Nanook the Snow Monster, a War Horse, a rock God, and a young poet taking her first foray into verse a century behind another – the greatest of all the Great War poets, Oswestry’s most famous son Wilfred Owen.

In an event that sees chick-lit meet chocolate, The Sunday Times best-selling romantic novelist Carole Matthews kicks off the traditional opening Festival Friday on 14th March at The Dining Rooms, Oswestry with a deliciously fun and frothy account of her journey from Milton Keynes to Hollywood.

Championed by Oswestry-based Morris Cook Chartered Accountants, An Evening with Carole Matthews promises love, laughter and a sweet surprise from Shrewsbury-based chocolate maker Julia Wenlock from Toots Sweets – Oswestry LitFest’s official chocolatier.

The flagship event of this year’s Festival is the Inaugural Wilfred Owen Lecture in honour of the WW1 poet who inspired Festival Director John Waine to found Oswestry’s LitFest in 2010.

Former BBC Foreign Correspondent and Royal Television Society Reporter of the Year award-winner, Martin Bell OBE, will deliver the landmark lecture on Tuesday 18th March 2014 at Holy Trinity Church to mark the 121st anniversary of Owen’s birth in Oswestry.

John Waine, commented: “Martin Bell’s long and highly distinguished broadcasting career covering conflicts in places like Vietnam, Angola and Bosnia, allied to his ardent appreciation of Owen’s writing, makes him the perfect choice to deliver the first ever Wilfred Owen Lecture.

“Martin will explore the theme of Conflict and Communication and how our perception of war and conflict is affected by literary, poetic and journalistic interpretation. It’s a subject ripe for deconstruction, and who better to do it than the man who in that trademark white suit of his covered 11 major conflicts from 80 countries spanning 30 years.

“I am particularly pleased that a Shropshire law firm, and leading conflict resolution specialists Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, is championing this event of national, even international significance.”

Lanyon Bowdler’s Mediation specialist Brian Evans said: “Lanyon Bowdler is pleased to support this event in honour of one of Shropshire’s most famous literary sons. As a mediator I try to help parties in conflict communicate effectively, and come to a point where they can reach an agreement. I will be very interested to hear Martin Bell’s insights into the communication of war and our perception of conflict.”

Martin Bell added: “It is an honour and a pleasure to be invited to deliver the very first Wilfred Owen Lecture at the Oswestry LitFest, especially in the centenary year of the outbreak of WW1. I am looking forward to it immensely.”

Headlining the 2014 Oswestry LitFest and closing the Festival’s final weekend is international best-selling author and documentary film maker Jon Ronson.

The Crazy World of Jon Ronson – from Keyboard to Goats sees the Sunday Times No.1 best-selling author, Guardian and GQ columnist and self-confessed serial seeker of mysteries and madness discuss his extraordinary encounters with some of the world’s weirdest characters.

Ronson, author of Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Psychopath Test will offer his signature left field look at life’s most perplexing personalities and events on Sunday 23rd March at 6pm at The Marches School.

In between there are 14 more Oswestry LitFest events designed to appeal to audiences of all ages, interests and budgets. Ticket prices range from just £2 to £10 with dining tickets for some events available at £25. There are also several FREE events in the main and festival fringe programme.

Full programme details can be found at www.oswestrylitfest.co.uk.