A celebration of literature, organised by pupils from Monmouth’s three senior schools, is back for its fifth year.
Well-known natural history writer, Horatio Clare, who has written two highly-acclaimed children’s books, is the headline guest for this year’s Monmouth Literary Festival which runs from Monday 25th June to Friday 29th June.
Planned by volunteers from Monmouth School for Boys, Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth Comprehensive School, the festival aims to share the talent and diversity of young people in the community and to encourage reading and a love of literature.
The first Monmouth Literary Festival took place in 2014 after student representatives put forward the idea of a joint festival which they thought could be run along the lines of a mini Hay Festival.
Significant funding has been secured from Monmouth Town Council and Monmouth Rotary Club for this year’s programme which has been planned by the students, who approached and contacted the writers themselves.
Packed with a host of an exciting workshops and talks, the venues will include the Savoy Theatre and Bridges Centre.
Mr Clare, who grew up on a hill farm in the Black Mountains, will spend the day in Monmouth on Tuesday 26th June talking about his comic stories, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot and Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds which deal with the subject of depression.
One of the UK’s best-loved storytellers, Cat Weatherill, a best-selling children’s novelist, will round off the festival on the final day.
Neuroscientist Dean Burnett, author Sam Hay, who will visit children at Osbaston and Trellech primary schools, and poet Jonathan Edwards are involved on the opening day.
Mr Clare is joined at the festival on the second day by teen fiction writers Bryony Pearce and Hayley Long, who has penned several award-winning books, including The Nearest Faraway Place.
Crime writer CJ Daugherty, famous for her Night School series, will be talking to students on Wednesday 27th June along with author Daniel Morden, who tells stories based on myths and legends from Wales and around the world. It promises to a vibrant but enthralling day because author Cathy Farr, who has a passion for Irish wolfhounds, and has written fantasy adventures Moon Chase and Moon Crossing, will also be speaking to primary-aged and Year 6 pupils.
The programme for Thursday 28th June includes a visit from author Rob Lloyd, a writer of historical thrillers, including The Bloodless Boy and The Clockwork Assassins.
A cast of 45 Year 8/Form II pupils from across the three senior schools will be taking part in the hugely popular, A Play in a Day. Monmouth Comprehensive is directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while Monmouth School for Boys’ is directing the Henry V element and Monmouth School for Girls is taking on Hamlet.
Also planned for the penultimate day is an informal tea concert and literary event, from 1.10pm to 2.30pm at Bridges Centre. The special inter-generational event, organised by students, will feature music, drama and literature recitals, showcasing talent from the three schools, as well as special performances from some of the local primary schools. Tea and cakes will also be enjoyed.
The eagerly-awaited visit from Cat Weatherill, who combines a passion for language with a playful spirit to make enduring story magic, should prove a fitting finale to this year’s event.
Monmouth Literary Festival programme:
Monday 25th June:
Neuroscientist Dean Burnett: The Happy Brain: The Science of Where Happiness Comes From, and Why.
Poetry workshops with Jonathan Edwards.
Author Sam Hay visits Osbaston and Trellech primary schools.
Tuesday 26th June:
Children’s writer Horatio Clare: Dealing with depression based on the comic stories Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot and Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds.
Teen fiction writer Bryony Pearce: Thrillers for teenagers.
Hayley Long: Presentation on teen fiction. Author of several award-winning books, including The Nearest Faraway Place.
Wednesday 27th June:
Daniel Morden, story-telling: Weird and wonderful tales based on myths and legends from Wales and around the world.
CJ Daugherty, Crime writer famous for her Night School series.
Cathy Farr, fantasy writer, speaking to Primaries and Year 6 pupils.
Thursday 28th June:
A Play in a Day, The essence of Shakespeare involving pupils from the three senior schools.
Rob Lloyd, writer of historical thrillers, including The Bloodless Boy and The Clockwork Assassins.
Informal tea concert and literary event from 1.10pm to 2.30pm at Bridges Centre.
Friday 29th June:
Author Cat Weatherill visits.