Shrewsbury Festival of Literature goes Global!

Shrewsbury Festival of Literature is going ‘virtual’ for 2020 and taken to the internet to bring this year’s events to an even wider audience.

Festival chair, Susan Caroline, of Pengwern Books
Festival chair, Susan Caroline, of Pengwern Books

Writers and poets from Shrewsbury to Los Angeles will be taking part in events over the weekend of November 27th to 29th as part of the 5th annual festival.

Festival Chair, Susan Caroline said: “There’s no doubt that this year’s Festival line-up is exceptional and I hope that folk will enjoy what will be some very informative and entertaining talks.”

This year’s programme includes renowned writer, editor, lecturer and broadcaster on language, David Crystal who, in his new book Let’s Talk, explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation.

Also appearing is Nick Hayes, artist and author of The Book of Trespass, recently published and already a bestseller. Investigating the vast swathes of land currently forbidden to the general public, Hayes’s passionately argued book is both a call to trespass and a wholesale re-evaluation of ownership and privilege.

Rebecca Wragg-Sykes will be sharing her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to demonstrate a new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside cliched depictions of rag-clad brutes in icy wastelands.

Derbyshire writer, Sarah Ward and Shrewsbury based Lisa Blower will be “joining the dots” in a discussion of their own recently published novels and, from this, sharing their ideas on how to create a good plot. Both Sarah and Lisa have appeared at SFL before and this will be an informative event for budding writers.

Sarah Rozenthuler is a Chartered Psychologist, leadership coach, dialogue consultant and author. This will be an essential event for any leader seeking inspiration to feel alive at work, inspire an enthusiastic team and generate competitive advantage.

Brimming with wisdom and humour, David Kynaston’s diaries, written over one football season, offer up his most personal take on social history to date.  A testament to the ways in which fandom gives solidity and security to our lives, particularly in these bewildering and rapidly changing times, David’s latest book gets to the heart of what it means to be a devoted follower of a sports team.

The ever-popular SFL Poetry Slam is back, compered as always by the inestimable trio of Emma Purshouse, Dave Pitt and Steve Pottinger, only this time it’s a Virtual Slam! 

SFL 2019 Poetry Slam winner, Colin Wells, will be talking to poet, Jean Atkin, as they share their experiences and poetry and talk about their personal process when it comes to creating.

The final event of the weekend comes to the Festival all the way from Los Angeles.  Guyanese-British poet, novelist and playwright Fred D’Aguiar will be sharing works from his new collection, Letters to America, in which he has some difficult things to say.  This book is the Poetry Book Society’s Choice for Winter 2020. Fred is an old friend to Shrewsbury and SFL is delighted that we are able to host this trans-Atlantic event.

Earlier this year Shrewsbury Festival of Literature once again won an award for Best Shropshire Arts Festival.

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

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