Pupil-led Monmouth Literary Festival gets underway

June 23, 2015

The ambitious pupil-led Monmouth Literary Festival got underway this week, with stars from the world of poetry and fiction taking over the town’s venues.

Organised by a committee of teenagers from Monmouth School, Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth Comprehensive, the four-day cultural event kicked off on Monday.

Former Monmouth School pupil, Welsh rugby international, journalist and BBC Wales sports commentator Eddie Butler will appear tonight (Tuesday, June 23) at the Blake Theatre to talk about his novel The Head of Gonzo Davies.

“I am nearly tempted to say that I, not so very young, and the organising pupils, full of the enterprise of youth, are part of the same rearguard – a retreating effort to will people to carry on reading (and buying) books,” he said.

“But I have found at various festivals and gatherings for Gonzo over the past nine months that the process may be less portentous (and less mercenary) than that. We have a chat and, with luck, a laugh or two, and… well, that’s about it really.”

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And tomorrow (Wednesday, June 24), British Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, is setting her mesmerising words to atmospheric music performed by John Sampson at the Savoy Theatre between 6pm and 8pm.

Lucy Neil, 18, from Monmouth Comprehensive, said that the financial backing of the festival and the quality of authors the committee has attracted, illustrates the potential of the festival to expand, adding: “It is important to expose young people to literature and the arts, as young people do not tend to read as in years gone by.”

Abergavenny-raised writer, Owen Sheers, closes the programme of public events on Thursday evening at the Blake Theatre, where he will be introducing his new novel I Saw a Man.

His first book, Resistance, was translated into 10 languages and adapted into a film and The Dust Diaries, his Zimbabwean non-fiction narrative, won the Welsh Book of the Year prize.

Click here to download the programme of public events (PDF – 695kb)