The Abergavenny Writing Festival

April 2019

Saturday – Daytime

Saturday 21st April 2018 Daytime Line-Up

10am – 1pm Riding & Writing with Emily Chappell and Jack Thurston £15 *Please note event meets at: Gateway Cycles, 5-9 Brecon Road, Abergavenny, NP7 5UH*







Bring your bike and take a ride in the stunning countryside around Abergavenny. Along the way, Emily and Jack will talk about how to translate your cycling adventures and passion for the bike into words, whether for personal pleasure or future publication.

To join us for this workshop you should be capable of cycling 20 miles at a moderate pace. There’s no need to worry about being left behind – the group will proceed at the pace of the slowest rider. Please ensure that your bike is safe and roadworthy, and that you are carrying adequate clothing, a drink, a snack and a pen and paper. Numbers will be limited to a maximum of 8 to ensure lots of quality time to talk writing with Emily and Jack.

Jack Thurston is the author of the best-selling Lost Lanes series of cycling guidebooks, in which he shares his life-long passion for exploring the British countryside by bike. Jack’s writing on cycling has appeared in a wide range of newspapers and magazines, including Rouleur, The Sunday Times, The Guardian. He presents the popular and long-running cycling podcast The Bike Show.

Emily Chappell is an accomplished long distance cyclist and has ridden from Wales to Japan and across Iceland and Alaska in winter. She was the first woman to finish the 2016 Transcontinental Race. Emily worked for six years as a bike messenger and her first book “What Goes Around: A London Cycle Courier’s Story” is published by Guardian Faber. Emily also writes regularly for The Guardian’s Bike Blog. She is a founder member of the Adventure Syndicate, a collective of extraordinary cyclists who happen to be women and who aim to challenge what others think they are capable of.

Meet at Gateway Cycles 5-9 Brecon Road, Abergavenny NP7 5UH


10 – 11am Giant Bogeys and Stinky Stories  £3.50 


An interactive workshop for families, with children’s author Sarah KilBride.

The giants of Wales were a horrible lot! Come along and listen to some great giant tales and discover who were the greediest and the grumpiest of them all. Let giant aromas and the contents of giant hankies inspire you to create your very own mythical creature – just bring your imagination and friends and have some gigantic fun!

Sarah KilBride, the Welsh author of the series Princess Evie’s Ponies. In 2009, Simon and Schuster published her first two Princess Evie books, Neptune the Magic Sea Pony and Silver the Magic Snow Pony. There are now ten picture books in the series and four Evie fiction books for older readers. Princess Evie has been translated into seventeen languages including Welsh and Arabic, and this year the series will appear in Mandarin! Sarah’s stories have sold over a million copies nationally and internationally and are currently enjoying a re-brand. Her new picture book, Being a Princess is Very Hard Work, published by Bloomsbury, will be out in 2018. She is over the moon to be working with Graffeg 2018 on her brand new book, A Cuddle and a Cwtch, which is all about spreading the love.


11:15am – 12:15pm Who am I? Children’s writing workshop £3.50 


Join actress and storyteller Naomi Doyle and aspiring children’s writer Carys Glyn in a fun, interactive and engaging writing workshop. Together participants will explore objects, create characters, write monologues and maybe even perform them. Find out how objects can help us find a doorway into character creation. Bring in an object that means something to you. A shell, a photo, a hat, (hats are great!) a ring – anything! Tell us its story and then pick some other objects provided by us and let your imagination run riot. Who will you create and what will their story be? We can’t wait to meet you and the characters you will create!

The workshop is for children and young people of all ages.

Naomi Doyle will lead this workshop in English, and then Carys Glyn will lead the afternoon’s workshop in Welsh.


11.30am – 12.30pm – The Passionate Alphabet Workshop £5

*Please note event is held at Abergavenny Library, Baker Street, Abergavenny NP7 5BD*


Join international librarian Fiona Marr and learn how to create your own ‘Passionate Alphabet Book.’ Using the librarians’ favourite organisational design – the alphabet – produce a creative tool that will help unearth your passions and allow you to explore the art of words. Like Morning Pages – the brain child of creativity guru Julia Cameron – developing a ritual in which you set aside time to express your passions in picture form as well as through words can provide multiple benefits.

We will discuss the value of putting it down on paper, lists and vision boards; be introduced to some examples of alphabet books and explore some simple techniques for expressing ourselves through art as we use collage and word art to create pages for our personal Passionate Alphabet Book.

Fiona Marr has travelled the world as an international librarian. Settling down in Wales (her middle name is Llewellyn) she is enjoying the pursuit of her creative passions.

1 – 2pm Reading and Activities with Children’s Author Ross Montgomery £3.50


Children’s author Ross Montgomery will hold an interactive session based around his latest book Max & the Millions. It’s for 7-12s, and is about a boy who discovers a microscopic fantasy world of tiny people living on his bedroom floor. The event will feature a reading, loads of fascinating facts about all the tiny invisible creatures living around us, and some activities where we try to imagine what it would be like being ant-sized in a human sized room!

Ross Montgomery is the author of Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door, The Tornado Chasers and Perijee & Me. Ross has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Award and Branford Boase Award and nominated for the Carnegie Award. His first picture book The Building Boy with David Litchfield was published to critical acclaim and sold around the world. He lives in London with his girlfriend, a cat called Fun Bobby, and a cactus on every available surface.


2.15 – 3.15pm Pwy ydi i? Carys Glyn  £3.50


Ymunwch â’r storïwr Naomi Doyle a’r awdur Carys Glyn mewn gweithdy ysgrifennu hwylog a rhyngweithiol. Fe fydd y gweithdy yn cynnig cyfle i blant archwilio i wahanol wrthrychau, creu cymeriadau, ysgrifennu ymsonau ac efallai hyd yn oed i’w berfformio. Dewch i ddarganfod sut mae gwrthrychau yn medru helpu ni wrth i ni fynd ati i grefftio cymeriadau yn ein hysgrifennu. Dewch ag gwrthrych sydd yn bwysig i chi i’r gweithdy. Cregyn, llun, het ( rydym yn hoff iawn o hetiau!) – dewch ag unrhyw beth! Dywedwch stori wrthym ni, dewiswch wrthrych a rhowch ryddid i’ch dychymyg berwi a ffrwtian. Pa gymeriadau byddech chi’n creu a beth fydd eu stori nhw. Dydyn ni methu aros i ddod i’ch adnabod chi na’r cymeriadau byddech chi yn creu.

Fe fydd y gweithdy yn addas ar gyfer plant a phobl ifanc o bob oedran.

Fe fydd Naomi Doyle yn arwain gweithdy Saesneg yn y bore ac fe fydd Carys Glyn yn arwain gweithdy Cymraeg yn y prynhawn.


3.30 – 4.30pm – Create a Mystery with Eloise Williams £3.50 


Are you a villain with your pen? Can you create a mystery that will have people biting their nails? Come and join in with the thrills, spills and quills! Take a peek into the dark side of stories and write something mysterious, scary and downright icky. Be creative . . . if you dare.

There will be interactive games, creative writing, author reading and Q&A. Learn about storytelling, Victorian theatre, plotting a mystery story, developing atmosphere and creating convincing characters. Recommended for age 8+

Eloise Williams was an actor for more than a decade and now writes books for children and middle grade readers. Her first book Elen’s Island was a Booktrust Advent choice, selected for their Letterbox scheme and was highly commended in the Tir na n-Og awards 2016. Gaslight, her second book, won the Wales Arts Review Young People’s Book of the Year 2017. Her third book Seaglass a salty windswept ghost story set in West Wales will be published in September by Firefly Press. In this workshop Eloise invites young readers and writers to delve into the theatrical world of Gaslight and examine the darker side of Victorian Cardiff, where everything shimmers with mystery and nothing is quite as it seems.


Abergavenny Writing Festival tickets are now available to buy from the Borough Theatre, Abergavenny box office. Open Tuesdays through to Saturdays 9.30am-3pm buy in person or by phone 01873 850 805. For more information visit: Abergavenny Borough Theatre