The Abergavenny Writing Festival

April 2024

Saturday 20th 2024

Unless otherwise stated events will take place at Melville Centre for the Arts. 

10:00 – 11:30 – Laura Sheldon – yoga and poetry

Tickets are £10.84 (including booking fee.) Book your ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A black and white photograph of a woman. She is facing the camera and happy. She is wearing dark leggings and light vest tops. She is sat with her legs crossed, with her hands resting on her knees - the palms are upturned and thumb and index finger on each hand are touching to create a circle.

Join Laura in a Yin Yoga and Poetry session, in which yoga postures will be used to explore how to unlock creativity. This workshop is accessible for anybody over the age of 18; whether you are an experienced yogi and/or poet or a complete beginner. Please come prepared with a yoga mat, blanket, notepad and pen.
Laura Sheldon is a children’s author and a writer of poetry, screenplays and stories. She completed her yoga foundation course in 2014, with the British Wheel of Yoga and went on to complete teacher training in Yin Yoga with Arhanta academy in 2020. Her children’s books are published by Firefly Press and Y Lolfa as well as the online library, ‘Giglets’. Her new verse novel will be published by Firefly in 2025 and she is currently working on her first verse drama for adults.


11:30 – 12:30 – The Writers’ Hub with Owen B Lewis and George Harold Millman 

Event to be held at The Abergavenny Hotel. 

Tickets are free but booking is essential. Book your free ticket here (link opens in new tab)

Two people sat on a wall, with a large, blurred building behind them. On the left the person is wearing a blue jumper and a matching blue knitted hat. They have dark skinny jeans on and they have one leg crossed over the other. On the right the person is wearing a dark grey jumper, and have short dark hair. They are wearing dark jeans ripped at the knee and have on leg crossed over the over.

A screening for a new grassroots TV drama project called Square. Afterwards the writers Owen B Lewis and George Harold Millman will talk about the drama and give insight into the struggles of getting something produced for television. They will talk about how they have been gaslit by high profile people in the TV industry, and why going alone on a project like this is the best way forward. They will also talk about their other projects and how and why they continue to make creative work in spite of all the challenges.

Please note the drama contains adult themes. 
Owen worked as a support worker before going on to be a writer. Currently writing his third novel, he’s written and produced everything from short films to full-length features, and spends his days selling books in Abergavenny. George is an actor, writer and audiobook producer, who also writes about politics and activism on his blog The Rebel Without A Clause.


12:00pm – 14:00 – Crossing Boundaries: Nature and Wellbeing Creative Writing Workshop 

Tickets are £10.84 (including booking fee.) Book your ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A split image of two people. On the left is a person in a blue coat and hat, sat in a wheelchair they are turned with their back to the camera and are smiling. They are on a mountain path, on a clear but cloudy day. There is dog on the path in front of them. On the right is a person in a dark coat, with white hair. They are stood on a beach with sand and sea behind them.

Despite the importance of nature for our wellbeing, we often face boundaries to our access: between the human and non-human, urban and rural, internal and external, or physically and culturally. In this workshop, writer and disability activist Beth Handley from Monmouth and Seren poet Bob Walton (‘Sax Burglar Blues’) will create opportunities to identify, reflect on and write about our experiences of nature both in more traditional places such as mountains and coast and in less obvious locations. Sharing poems, extracts and writing prompts, we will challenge some traditional assumptions in nature writing to explore ways of writing with greater awareness of diversity and inclusivity. Beth and Bob aim to make the workshop suitable for writers of poetry or prose at all levels of experience, aiming to celebrate greater access to nature for all and expand our wellbeing.



12:45 – 13:30 – The Writers’ Hub with Nathan Monday. 

Event to be held at The Abergavenny Hotel. 

Tickets are free but booking is essential. Book your free ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A man with short dark hair, he is smiling. He is wearing a dark green long sleeve shirt. The backgroud is an orange and beige patterned curtain, a blue-green wall and a short blurred bookcase.

Author Nathan Monday introduces his book ‘Whaling’ followed by Q&A.

Set in 1790, Nantucket whalers are invited to found the port of Milford Haven in Wales. What does the arrival of these hardy Quakers – immigrants to America a century before – mean for the local people? And what is the meaning of the beached whale that preceded them? Two cultures rub against each other and distrust grows, driven by the local preacher.

Nathan Munday is a Welsh writer and trainee minister from Carmarthenshire. Recently, he was the guardian of Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant in the heart of Snowdonia, the birthplace of Bible translator William Morgan.
In 2016 he won the M. Wynn Thomas New Scholars Prize with his essay on R. S. Thomas, and came second in the New Welsh Writing Awards with his creative non-fiction book Seven Days: A Pyrenean Adventure published by Parthian in 2017.
His debut novel Whaling is coming out this May with Seren Books.

This event is supported by Cornerstone Church.


13:30 – 14:30 – Ysgri-Fenni Bwyd! gyda Lowri Haf Cooke 

Tickets are £7.59 (including booking fee.) Book your ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A woman with curly blonde hair, smiling at the camera. She is sat at tablecloth covered table, with a half glass of wine in front of her. She is writing in a book.

Ymunwch â Lowri am sesiwn fywiog o flasu a thrafod ac ysgrifennu bwyd.
Ar y fwydlen bydd gwahanol flasau, atgofion a theimladau, danteithion lleol a thymhorol  – fel hufen iâ! – a  chyfle i holi cwestiynau i’r adolygydd bwyd.
Ar hyn o bryd, mae gan yr awdur o Gaerdydd nofel a llyfr bwyd Nadolig ar y gweill ac mae hi hefyd yn gwneud gwaith creadigol gyda gwahanol ysgolion.  Mae hi hefyd yn ysgrifennu i gylchgronau Golwg, Barn, Y Dinesydd a Croeso Cymru / Visit Wales.
Llyfrau diweddaraf Lowri yw Gwledd (Y Lolfa) Bwytai Cymru (Gwasg Gomer) sef dathliad o’r 50 bwyty gorau yng Nghymru. Hi hefyd yw awdur Canllaw Bach Caerdydd –  llyfr sydd yn tywys y darllenydd o gwmpas Caerdydd. Ei llyfr arall yw Caffis Cymru adolygiad o gaffis gorau Cymru.
Ar ôl ennill gradd mewn Daearyddiaeth a Chymraeg ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth aeth Lowri ymlaen i ennill M.A ym maes Theatr, Ffilm a Theledu.
Mae Lowri hefyd yn wyneb a llais cyfarwydd ar S4C a Radio Cymru yn adolygu ffilmiau. Felly dewch a’ch tips sinema ynghŷd a’ch chwant bwyd i’r sesiwn hwn!

13:45 – 14:30 Writers’ Hub with Gavin Clifton 

Event to be held at The Abergavenny Hotel. 

Tickets are free but booking is essential. Book your free ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A man stood in a brightly lit entryway. He is bald and smiling. He is wearing jeans and a dark red sweatshirt with 'the disabled writer' Gavin Clifton written on the right side. Gavin Clifton talks about his latest book ‘Cerebral Palsy & Me’ as well as his children’s books and campaigning.
The Author of the children’s books Max And The Magic Wish and Paddy The Polar Bear Teddy, Gavin Clifton, was born with cerebral palsy, and it has always been a lifelong dream of his to become a published Children’s Author. Gavin is passionate about showing others with all kinds of disabilities, whether their disabilities are physical or hidden, that if they set their mind to it, and if they just trust in their unique abilities, there’s nothing they can’t achieve. His philosophy is ‘Always be yourself; then your true colours will always shine through.’

Gavin really wanted to make a difference and write his story about disability and acceptance just the same as any other children’s book is written, and in a way that kids can relate to and learn, whilst their senses and imagination go to where ever they need to go, but always keeping the true underlying educational message that it is ‘O.K’ and acceptable to be different, and never to judge someone until you truly get to know them.

14:45 – 15:30  – Writers’ Hub with Louisa Guise 

Event to be held at The Abergavenny Hotel. 

Tickets are free but booking is essential. Book your free ticket

A blue book cover, there is a pink toned right hand hold a smart phone. The Smart Phone has 'How to Leave a Group Chat' written in orange text. The text remaining is white and reads (from top to bottom) Louisa Guise A guide to navigating digital communication.

Louisa Guise on writing ‘How to Leave a Group Chat’

Do you lose hours of your life scrolling social media? Have too many group chats on your smartphone? Do you want to leave them, but don’t know how? Then this book is for you.
How to Leave a Group Chat is a practical guide that will help you navigate the world of digital communication.
Since the late eighties, communication has been developing at a speed that has greatly outpaced us and continues to do so. Social media and instant messengers might just be the tip of the iceberg but, although we enjoy them, they have pushed us into a new digital dimension which has dehumanised us, and we haven’t quite had the chance to understand what this means.
How to Leave a Group Chat is a ground-breaking book which makes sense of this new digital age whilst providing a fascinating look at how we communicate and how this has changed over time.

Cardiff born and bred, Louisa Guise lives to write and has had a number of poems published. How to Leave a Group Chat is her first non-fiction book which draws upon the knowledge gained from her long career as a communications professional. Louisa now lives in Reading with an army of houseplants, where, aside from writing, she enjoys yoga, fine dining and kayaking on the Thames.


15:30 – 16:30 – Poetry Masterclass with Alex Wharton – This event is suitable from age 10+ but adults are also encouraged to attend.
Tickets are £5.42 (including booking fee.) Book your ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A Man with short, black textured hair and facial hair. He is staring to the right and smiling. The background is plain white and he is wearing a blue-grey shirt.

Stretch the imagination with tips and tricks for writing poetry with current Children’s Laureate Wales, Alex Wharton. Drawing from his three collections of poetry, Alex will seek to engage, connect and inspire a love of playful and curious language through writing, editing and performance exercises.
Age range: 10 plus (for guidance only)
Alex Wharton is an award winning writer, poet and performer. He is the current Children’s laureate Wales 2023 -2025. His work has been shortlisted for Wales Book Of The Year and named as a National Poetry Day Recommended read. His fourth collection of poetry for young people ‘Red Sky at Morning: Poet’s Warning’ will be published by Firefly Press in 2024.


15:30 – 17:30 – Liz Pearce workshop – Finding a Voice creative writing workshops. 

Tickets are £16.26 (including booking fee.) Book your ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A photograph of a small group. There is an audience in the foreground and four people sat at the back around small tables. The audience are in unlit sections of the space. The focus is of a woman sat in the centre of the photograph. The background feature five large photographs L-R - A happy child, old fashioned pots, a pair of old work boots (sepia toned) an abundance of figs both whole and halved, words from newspaper clippings.

Following the success of these workshops launched at the 2022 and 2023 Aber Writing Festivals Liz Pearce will be delivering a two hour taster session again in 2024. Finding a Voice will inspire new approaches to your writing and offer you the chance to experience a whole new creative process.
If you enjoy the taster session, Liz offers an opportunity to continue working as a group over 10 fortnightly sessions, towards a public reading of your writing.
“The workshops and subsequent performance set us free as writers, as performers (we didn’t know we were) and as women per se. This was an enormous gift Liz offered to us. Thank you.” Susanne – Finding a Voice 2023.
Liz Pearce has over 30 years professional experience as a writer, performer and facilitator, working in theatre, television, radio and education in the community: For further information on her work:


16:00 – 17:00 – Mckenzy Dominy in conversation with Claire Fayers. 

Tickets are £5.42 (including booking fee.) Book your ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A book cover. The Cover is black. In the centre are two white skulls, within a circle, the skull on the right is missing its jaw, around the skills are pink roses with green leaves. The text on the cover is white At the top - Why the good die young. At the bottom - M.L.Dominy

Hear from Mckenzy Dominy, a writer from Merthyr Tydfil, who wrote voraciously from a very young age and had his first novel published at the age of 16. Mckenzy has talked about how he returned to his childhood hobby of creative writing which helped him “rebuild” himself after the death of his mother. He later published his novel, Why the Good Die Young, a supernatural thriller set in an afterlife town based on Barry Island. His second novel, Blood Brides was published in February this year.
He will be in conversation with local author Claire Fayers about his writing experiences, tips, how he got started and what he has learned from writing and publishing his first book. Mckenzy will read from his book and there will be time for questions at the end.




19:30 – 22:00 (doors open at 19:00) – Writing Fest Final Night at the Melville 

Tickets are £16.26 (including booking fee.) Book your ticket here (link opens in new tab)

A split photograph of two people. On the right is a black and white picture of a man, he has short dark in hair style into cornrows. He is wearing a check coat with a fleece collar. His hand is resting on his chin. On the left is a woman wearing a floor length dress, she has long dark hair and her arms are touching above her head. The photograph was taken outside, there are trees, ferns and grass, all green. It was taken on a bright day.

Join us for a special evening of performance at the Melville Centre for the Arts Theatre, with performances from:
Spoken Word Poet, Duke Al Durham, Author, Hip Hop Artist and Creative Practitioner Duke Al is a published poet, spoken word artist, hip hop artist and creative practitioner. Writing rhymes is Duke Al’s therapy. He is the author of ‘Bittersweet: The Highs, The Lows, Hypers and Hypos of Living with Type 1 Diabetes’. You can find Duke Al’s recent published work on Creative Cardiff, Cardiff Metropolitan University ‘Graduation’ and ‘Move More Cardiff’ initiative, TNT Sports ‘Sport in Words’ for Black History Month on Sir Lewis Hamilton, BBC Wales, BBC Scrum V for The Six Nations 2022.

Angeline Morrison is a folk singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose 2022 album The Sorrow Songs : Folk Songs of Black British Experience was No 1 Folk Album of the year in The Guardian. The album uses history and imagination to tell stories of UK Black ancestors in the sonic style of traditional folk music. Angeline explores traditional song with a deep reverence and handmade sonic aesthetic. Making her TV debut on Later..with Jools Holland, Angeline has recently appeared at many festivals including London Jazz Festival, Glastonbury and Brighton Festival.



Melville Centre for the Arts, 4 Pen-Y-Pound, Abergavenny, NP7 5UD. Plan your journey here (link opens in new tab)

The Abergavenny Hotel, 21 Monmouth Road, Abergavenny, NP7 5HH. Plan your journey here (link opens in new tab)