Preparations are underway for the start of the 12th Marlborough LitFest next Thursday 30th September and the excitement is building as the festival gears up for its return. Roadside banners are now up in and around Marlborough and the Town Hall banners go up next week. Ticket sales are going well for the hybrid festival, which the LitFest Committee hopes audiences will flock back to, either in person or online, after such a challenging year.
Sold out events include: Lori Sauer’s Bookbinding Workshop (afternoon session); one ticket is still available for the morning session at 10am on Friday 1 October at The White Horse Bookshop. Also sold out: Sarah Winman on Saturday 2 October and both Charlie Corbett Birdsong Walks on Sunday 3 October. Tickets are still available for a range of author talks, which include established authors such as the acclaimed Irish writer, Colm Tóibín, local author Gill Hornby, journalist and writer, Sathnam Sanghera, environmental campaigner, Jonathon Porritt, as well as debut writers, poetry events and children’s authors and an exclusive finale event with LitFest patron, Sir Simon Russell Beale.
As well as established names, LitFest is delighted to welcome a mix of authors with fiction and non-fiction titles across many genres for 2021. Author and illustrator Matthew Dooley will talk about his debut graphic novel, Flake, which won the 2020 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction (the first time a graphic novel has won this award) in a tale of a skirmish in the ice-cream van wars of the North-West of England, that has echoes of Alan Bennett.
Award-winning novelist and short story writer Jon McGregor has been called one of the most exciting voices in English literature and has been nominated for the Booker Prize for three of his books, most recently Reservoir 13. He will be appearing in a virtual event at LitFest to talk about his latest, fifth novel, Lean Fall Stand. Cricket and memoir-lovers can hear writer and journalist, Ian Ridley, talk about his book, The Breath of Sadness: On Love, Grief and Cricket, which was shortlisted for the 2020 William Hill Sports Book of the Year and recounts how Ridley found the game of county cricket helped him deal with the grief of losing his wife to cancer.
LitFest Patron, Sir Simon Russell Beale, has pre-recorded three readings for us from Richard Davenport-Hines’ 2006 book, ‘A Night At the Majestic: Proust and the Great Modernist Dinner Party of 1922’, which celebrates Proust and re-imagines a legendary dinner involving the composer Stravinsky, Picasso and James Joyce.
LitFest has arranged for author Sarah Winman (who will be doing a talk at LitFest on Saturday 2 October at 12pm) to give a talk about her latest book, ‘Still Life’, at the Jubilee Centre in Marlborough on Friday 1 October. The Jubilee Centre offers a wide range of activities, catering services and transportation to local people over 60 years old. LitFest has set up this talk to provide some entertainment to the local community, after such a difficult year for many elderly people living alone at home. The Jubilee Centre provides a safe and welcoming area for people to socialise in. Sarah’s book, ‘Still Life’, will hopefully resonate with the audience as it is set in the Second World War.
LitFest will once again provide free author talks to hundreds of local primary schools in its annual schools programme: nearly 400 schoolchildren will hear from children’s author, Tom Palmer, at Marlborough Town Hall and over 250 children will hear from author Natasha Ferrant in the Bouverie Hall in Pewsey. Ticketed events for children at this year’s LitFest include a talk with Eileen Browne at the White Horse Bookshop for the under 5’s and a talk with Emma Carroll at Marlborough Town Hall, both events on Saturday 2 October.
Marlborough LitFest has partnered with Swindon-based video creativagency, StreamWorks, in order to livestream events from the Town Hall so that the festival can reach as wide an audience as possible. Please check the festival brochure for details of each event. LitFest is offering a special bundle of tickets for all 13 online events at this year’s festival, for £50.
Marlborough LitFest Chair, Genevieve Clarke, said: “There’s real enthusiasm for the return of LitFest which is so encouraging. We’re delighted to be putting on live events in Marlborough once again and also offering an online option so that people can join in from wherever they are.”
Click here for tickets or call 0333 666 3366 or pop into The White Horse Bookshop.