Shrewsbury Festival of Literature returns this November

From a cricket legend to celebrated fiction writers and poets, the Shrewsbury Festival of Literature is back from November 22 to 24.

The Festival’s epic Poetry Slam will be back with its full-on, explosive poetry competition masterminded by the Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists Collective
The Festival’s epic Poetry Slam will be back with its full-on, explosive poetry competition masterminded by the Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists Collective

Cricket correspondent, broadcaster and former England star Vic Marks, travel writer and broadcaster Mike Parker, novelist Alix Nathan and author Catrina Davies, with her memoir of life in a Cornish shed, are among the writers lined-up for the three-day festival.

Also on the programme is the much talked about young writer Dean Atta, who was shortlisted for the Polaris First Book Prize, and horror thriller author and scriptwriter Jason Arnopp, best known for his critically-acclaimed cult hit ‘The Last Days of Jack Sparks’.

The Festival’s epic Poetry Slam will be back with its full-on, explosive poetry competition masterminded by the Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists Collective. The winner will get the chance to perform at next year’s festival.

Other events include an exploration of ‘Research and the Historical Novel’ with novelists Karen Maitland and Kate Innes, a workshop on mindful writing with writer, musician and arts worker Tom George and a Poetry Café in the company of poets Nellie Cole, Kuli Kohli and Emma Purshouse.

“As always there will be a good mix of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and workshops with the subject matter broader than ever before, ranging from cricket to the arms trade, from gothic thrills and spooky horror to life in rural Wales,” said Festival Chair Susan Caroline.

“Our underlying aim is still to discover the story behind the stories, how our writers approach the idea of telling the stories they hold inside. Events will take place at various venues across the town ”

Atta, who performs internationally and has been named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK, will open the festival on Friday November 23, focussing on his new novel Black Flamingo, a bold coming of age story.

Saturday November 23 sees Vic Marks tell the story of his life in cricket from his playing career, when he first lined up with Ian Botham and Viv Richards at Somerset Cricket Club, to his England days and many years as a newspaper cricket correspondent and commentator for Test Match Special.

Catrina Davies talks about her book ‘Homesick: Why I Live In A Shed’, a captivating memoir of personal struggle and recovery against the backdrop of a national housing crisis. Machynlleth-based writer Helen Pendry will lift the lid on her debut crime novel ‘The Levels’.

On Sunday November 24 former rock journalist Jason Arnopp talks about his career in fantasty sci-fi, thriller and horror writing for fiction and film, including Dr Who and Friday 13th books. He will introduce his newly released chiller thriller Ghoster, a haunting tale for the social media obsessed age.

Bishops Castle-based author Alix Nathan will shed light on the fascinating tale behind her book, ‘The Warlow Experiment’, inspired by the true story of an 18th century gentleman scientist who entices a volunteer to live underground for seven years, without human contact, in exchange for £50 a year for life,

Mike Parker will wrap up the festival with his powerful memoir ‘On The Red Hill’, a book of many levels – part personal history of four extraordinary lives, the history of gay men in the 20th century, the quest for belonging, the cycle of nature and life in rural Mid Wales.

The book was inspired when Mike and his partner inherited the rural Machynlleth home of their older friends Reg and George and discovered their remarkable lifetime collection of diaries, photographs and letters. Theirs was a story that needed to be told!

For full details about the festival and tickets visit or Pengwern Books in Fish Street, Shrewsbury.

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