The great and the good packed into town hall last night (Friday) as guests at the launch party for the fourth Marlborough Literary Festival, which is already running ahead of last year’s ticket sales.
Novelist Mavis Cheek, who chairs the festival, was there to greet them, in particular Fay Weldon, the feminist novelist who inspired many women to write and is now Professor of Creative Writing at Bath University.
Marlborough’s mayor, Councillor Guy Loosmore, wore his great chain for the occasion, alongside his mayor wife, Fiona, as they mingled with guests, among them directors from major sponsors Brewin Dolphin and Robert Hiscox, of the leading insurance company that bears his name.
Former mayors Nick Fogg and his wife Edwina joined the throng together with Shirley Pryor, newly-elected chair of Transition Marlborough.
Introduced by Sir John Sykes, a committee colleague, Mavis Cheek profusely thanked all the sponsors of the festival – “This wouldn’t be possible without your money,” she said – plus her formidable committee and army of volunteers on duty at more than 20 events.
“The team that runs this festival is fantastic,” declared Mavis. “None of us gets paid a groat and though sometimes we have the odd tipple.
“Already this year our ticket sales are 10 per cent ahead and that is a very good thing to be able to announce. Thank you all for coming. Now go out and tell the world about us.”