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War Horse author Michael Morpurgo to headline pupil-led literary festival

May 19th, 2016

litfest1War Horse author Michael Morpurgo is set to headline a unique literary festival organised by pupils from Monmouth’s three senior schools.

The award-winning children’s novelist is due to speak about many of his best-loved works, including Private Peaceful and its importance as the centenary of the Somme approaches.

Running from June 21 to June 29, The Monmouth Literary Festival is now in its third year and the line-up is more impressive than ever.

Planned and run by volunteers from Monmouth School, Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth Comprehensive, the annual event unites the community in its love of reading.

Annabel, a boarder at HMSG, is on the committee.

michaelmorpugo1The 16-year-old said: “Michael Morpurgo’s books have been read by just about every child in the country – he has such a magical way of storytelling and we are delighted to have him as our headliner.

“I love reading and I liked the idea of being involved in something that would encourage other students to feel the same way. Helping to organise events has also been good preparation for the future – we played a big part in the process and it’s been really enriching.”

The majority of the many events during the festival are open only to local children, with around 10 schools benefiting from the various workshops.

But ticketed readings, such as Morpurgo’s at The Savoy Theatre on June 21, will be ticketed and open to members of the public.

Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, was so impressed with the sixth formers’ organisational skills and the warm welcome she received last year that she is returning once again this summer.

She will be performing, alongside other poets, at a public event entitled Shore to Shore at The Savoy Theatre on June 22.

Alongside musical accompaniment by composer John Sampson, the writers promise an evening of the finest contemporary poetry to celebrate what Duffy passionately believes to be our national art form.

HMSG committee member Maya, 17, said: “This year we have really upped our game and secured some unbelievably talented acts.

“I believe that all members of the public should support the festival as it is vital for it to be passed on to younger generations. The festival isn’t just about education, it’s about coming together and supporting the town in order for it to fulfil its potential.

“I am most excited to meet Tony De Saulles who is an illustrator because his artworks are out of this world and I would love to learn to draw cartoons like his.”

The volunteers have been working closely together for months to organise the festival, which has involved fundraising and finding suitable venues.

Maya added: “I have learned to be much more confident and outgoing due to pitching to the council. I have also learnt how to manage my time more efficiently.

“The festival involves every member of the community, which I feel is very special.

“However what makes it stand out is that it’s run by children for children. It’s this ethos that really makes the festival as without it, it would just be like every other literary festival.”

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