Returning for its 14th year from 28 September – 1 October, Marlborough LitFest is excited to announce its 2023 Golding Speaker as the acclaimed Irish novelist, Sebastian Barry. This year’s festival programme is currently being put together and confirmed authors and events will be released over the coming months.
Marlborough LitFest hosts an annual Golding Speaker to highlight the town’s long connection with the Nobel Laureate and Booker Prize winner, William Golding, at an event sponsored by William Golding Limited. Past Golding Speakers include Ali Smith, Elif Shafak, Ben Okri, Rose Tremain, Will Self, Lionel Shriver, Louis de Bernieres, Fay Weldon and Howard Jacobson.
The Dublin-born novelist, playwright and poet, Sebastian Barry, is considered to be one of Ireland’s finest contemporary writers, especially revered for his lyrical literary style. The 2018-21 Laureate for Irish Fiction, his novels have twice won the Costa Book of the Year award and he had two consecutive novels shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Long Long Way (2005) and the top ten bestseller The Secret Scripture (2008). His latest book, Old God’s Time, which was published on 23 February, is a beautiful novel about memory, love, mystery and reckoning. Barry will be speaking at LitFest on Friday 29 September at Marlborough Town Hall, in conversation with journalist and broadcaster Alex Clark.
Marlborough LitFest is also delighted to welcome Fermoie as its lead festival sponsor for 2023. Fermoie creates beautiful and original fine fabrics, all designed and manufactured entirely in-house at their studio and factory in Marlborough. Established in 2010 by Farrow & Ball founders Tom Helme and Martin Ephson, it now employs 50 people at its design studio, production facility and showroom in Marlborough.
The new partnership between LitFest and Fermoie underlines the co-founder Martin Ephson’s lifelong commitment to community in its widest sense and builds on the natural connection between Fermoie as a creative design-led business and the artistic and literary worlds.
Martin Ephson says: “I’ve been a Marlborough resident since 2006 and started Fermoie here in 2010. In that time I’ve seen the LitFest grow and thrive, and heard some fantastic speakers, including one of my favourite authors, William Boyd. I’m delighted that Fermoie is in a position to contribute to and share in the joy of this wonderful event. We’re very much looking forward to working with the amazing people behind it and helping strengthen LitFest’s place on the national as well as the county calendar.”
As lead sponsor, Fermoie will provide a range of support, particularly with promotion in print and across social media. Martin Ephson adds: “Throughout my working life, I’ve believed that a business must be fully part of its local community in the widest sense. We’re absolutely committed to creating a network of opportunity from sourcing through to recruitment. It’s really important to us that local people see Fermoie as somewhere they’d love to work, and where they can express and
develop their talents and build great careers. This new partnership with Marlborough LitFest, which encourages and celebrates the best in human creativity, is a perfect fit with that broader ambition.”
Genevieve Clarke, chair of LitFest, says: “We’re very excited to be working with Fermoie and really appreciate their enthusiasm and support. It’s fabulous to see the quality of their fabrics designed and printed on our doorstep in Marlborough and there’s definitely a match between their creative approach and our ambitions for LitFest. Having Sebastian Barry as our Golding Speaker, with the support of William Golding Ltd, gets us all off to a good start.”
This year’s festival will feature a varied programme of events for all ages including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and the annual Big Town Read. The festival aims to champion new, upcoming writers as well as established names and also encourage a love of reading in children and young people with author talks, competitions and our ongoing community outreach programme. The full LitFest programme will be available in the summer. For more information, click here.