More than 100 people tuned in for this year’s virtual Marlborough LitFest Big Town Read on Saturday September 26. Earlier in the week, on September 24th and 25th over 400 primary school children enjoyed free online author talks as part of the annual Marlborough LitFest schools outreach programme.
Always one of the most popular events at Litfest, the 2020 Big Town Read featured bestselling author Louise Doughty’s latest thriller, ‘Platform Seven’. Participants were able to log in to watch Louise Doughty in conversation with journalist and broadcaster Alex Clark. Faber & Faber hosted the interactive event, which allowed the audience to type in real time questions to Louise.
Louise Doughty explained how growing up in an East Midlands town had frequently meant changing trains at Peterborough railway station whenever she travelled anywhere. Her memories of the biting wind and desolation of the station late at night led her to use this setting for ‘Platform Seven’.
‘Platform Seven’ is her ninth novel and explores bereavement and coercive control, which says Louise, is the “more subtle cousin of physical violence”. The novel also observes the idiocies of human life. If you missed the webinar it can be found here
Genevieve Clarke, Chair of Marlborough LitFest, said: “We were really pleased with our first attempt at an online Big Town Read. Of course it is not the same as seeing everyone in person but the interviewer and author were both so engaging that the hour flew by. And it was great to get plenty of questions too. We’re very grateful to Faber for running this so smoothly for us.”
Children’s authors Ross Montgomery and Maz Evans entertained, enthused and inspired local primary school children in other virtual events. Years 5 and 6 from Kennet Valley, Oare Primary and St Margaret’s Prep School watched Ross Montgomery in action on Thursday 24th September. Maz Evans spoke to Years 5 and 6 from Marlborough St Mary’s, St Michael’s Aldbourne, Preshute Primary and Woodborough Schools on Friday 25th September.
Kate Fry of Marlborough LitFest said: “We’re delighted once again to have connected so many local school children to fabulous children’s authors, although this year in an online format rather than live! We hope to offer similar free events to more schools later in the year and fingers crossed next year we can return to our usual live format in Marlborough Town Hall.”
Next year’s Marlborough LitFest is 30 September – 3 October 2021. For more information go to