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Award-winning author Owen Sheers backs Monmouth Literary Festival

June 26th, 2015

Owen Sheers-1055Abergavenny-raised novelist, poet and playwright, Owen Sheers, has said he hopes other schools follow the example set by pupils who united to organise Monmouth Literary Festival.

The award-winning author brought the programme of public events to a close last night at the town’s Blake Theatre, where he talked about his new book, I Saw a Man.

Owen had audience members on the edge of their seats as he read beautifully written, exciting extracts from the novel – trying his best not to give too much of the suspense-filled story away.

Organised by a committee of teenagers from Monmouth School, Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth Comprehensive, the annual festival is in its second year.

“It is really impressive that this has been organised by schoolchildren and I really hope other schools will be following your example,” Owen told the crowd.

“I think it’s especially impressive to see pupils from the town’s three schools working together like this.

“I wasn’t doing this sort of thing when I was at school – it’s all a bit intimidating really,” he quipped.

A question and answer session followed the reading, giving Owen’s fans the chance to ask him about everything from writing to his favourite pastimes.

Owen Sheers-1084

Responding to a question about how it feels to have his poetry studied as part of the syllabus, the former King Henry VIII Comprehensive School pupil said: “It’s a real privilege.

“For many people, it might be the first time they study and learn about this form of writing properly.

“I certainly always know when it’s exam time because I get a wave of abuse on Twitter,” he joked.

“On the whole it’s a fantastic experience, and it’s meant I’ve visited 150 schools in the last 10 years.

“You get to meet English teachers who are at the forefront of creating the next generation of writers.

“It is a real honour.”

The talented playwright, who penned the emotionally-charged Two Worlds of Charlie F, interviewed a great number of wounded war veterans when researching for the hit play.

An ex-military man in the Blake’s audience took the chance to thank Owen publicly for his war stories, which clearly meant a lot to the writer.

Monmouth School pupil Jamie, who has been offered a place to study English literature at the University of Cambridge, took great pleasure in introducing the novelist to the stage.

Thanking him for supporting the festival, Jamie said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity to hear from such a successful and local author.”

Monmouth Literary Festival ends today, as its programme of events exclusively for local schoolchildren comes to a close.

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