The Abergavenny Writing Festival

April 2020


All events are postponed until further notice.

Friday 3rd April 2020 line-up

10:00 – 11:00 – Stop and Sketch 

Tickets are £7 

Learn about the Stop & Sketch project and join in a collage workshop with Fiona Marr and Pam Wesson. 2019 saw the inception of Stop & Sketch: Fifty sketch books were distributed to local people with a challenge to create a sketch book in any medium. The sketch books were exhibited at The Melville Theatre during Abergavenny Arts Festival. The aim being to eventually create a library of sketch books for permanent display in the town.

The organisers were overwhelmed by the response. The participants’ ages ranged from 6 – 90 with one participant submitting three sketchbooks journaling her pilgrimage of The Camino de Santiago.

There will be an introduction about the project followed by a fun collage workshop based on ‘Six Word Stories’ and some of the sketch books will be on display.

Ticket price will include a sketch book. Sketch books will also be available to buy on the day for £1 or you are welcome to submit your own.

11:00 – 15:00 – Create your own letterpress print Francesca Kay 

Drop in session! Tickets are £5 and are pay on the day – more information can be found here

Poet and printer Francesca Kay demonstrates letterpress printing – making words with movable type and ink, printing in a way essentially unchanged for 600 years, and more fun than a computer. Francesca will help you find a word or short phrase that has meaning for you, and help you typeset and print it on her vintage Ajax tabletop printing press. You will take away a unique memento of this ancient and enjoyable art. William Caxton would be proud of you. If you can read backwards it will help!
This is a drop-in session; pop by between 11am and 3pm and pay £5 on the day to make a print.


11:15 – 12:15 – Writing through the fiction of thought with Dr Giles P. Croft 

Tickets are £7 

What happens when we write? Where does creativity come from? Why is it sometimes easy, sometimes hard? And here’s the biggie: Who is actually doing the writing?

Join Dr Giles P Croft for an exploration of these questions, and others, in a light-hearted but deeply thought-provoking session about how we experience the creative process. Through readings of his own writing about the human condition, quiet reflection and playful group exercises, you’ll leave with an entirely fresh perspective on the writing that you do.

Giles is a psychology graduate and former NHS surgeon who stepped away from clinical practice to explore various careers that led to a seven year stint as a Features Writer for his favourite cycling magazine. He has a regular column in the Focus Magazines and runs a heart-centred coaching practice in the Brecon Beacons, helping individuals and groups to see through the fiction of thought, revealing the unfaltering wellbeing that resides inside them.


12:30 – 13:30 – Want to make a podcast? Just do it. 

Tickets are £7 

Podcasts are one of the most exciting media developments of the past decade – and the demand for these unique and inspiring audio experiences shows no sign of slowing. Anyone can make a podcast about any subject and there will always be an audience if you get it right. But how do you go about doing it? Fergus Collins is the creator and voice of the Countryfile Magazine podcast – the Plodcast – and he shares his journey from launch in January 2019 to being nominated for national awards within a year. Learn about scripting, storytelling and editing – plus the extra magic ingredients you need.



13:45 – 14:45 – Dancing a Story Home with Rhiannon Hooson 

This event has been postponed 

How often do you write a story or poem without once holding a pen or touching a piece of paper? What does it mean to be a writer in a paperless society? How will turning the process of writing back into a physical one of page and muscle, ink and bone, affect the things we write? Come and spend an hour exploring the landscape of the page, with not a keyboard in sight.

A short creative writing workshop exploring expanded practice for writers, with award-winning poet and editor Dr Rhiannon Hooson. Her work has won major accolades, and been performed at literature festivals across the UK. An experienced workshop leader and creative mentor, she now lives in the Welsh marches after time spent living and working in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.


15:00 – 16:00 – Writing and Publishing Children’s Books

Tickets are £7 

Using Sarah Kilbride’s latest book ‘A Cuddle and a Cwtch’ as a case study Sarah and Peter will talk about the publishing process including: looking at the original concept hand written text by Sara, the book idea, format and illustrations, combining text and images and book format, the final book and merchandising.

A Cuddle and a Cwtch is Sarah’s nineteenth picture book. She is the author of Being a Princess is Very Hard Work (Bloomsbury) and the Princess Evie series (Simon and Schuster) which has sold over a million copies worldwide.

Peter Gill started in publishing by founding Graffeg in 2003. Graffeg publish illustrated books about food, culture, history, travel, wildlife and books for children. Peter has a background in design starting with the BBC Wales as head of graphics. He then formed Design Systems with a partner, and later opened his own design studio Peter Gill & Associates. Graffeg now have over 200 titles in print selling to worldwide customers.


16:30 – 17:30 – Writing on Social Media Discussion 

Tickets are £7 

The ability to share photos, opinions and events in real-time has transformed the way we live and do business. Has it also transformed the way we write, what and how we communicate? We’ll be covering the positive and negative sides of writing on social media; issues around censorship, anonymity, gender and persona as well as how and which platforms enable a global reach for our words. Taking part in the discussion will be:

Emma Bevan is the Creative Director of The Makers Gallery and Artisan Events Wales, the events coordinator of The Big Skill CIC, and the artist and tutor of FfolkyFfelt. Emma uses social media every day to promote her events, classes and those of her members.

Hannah Hill is the Director of Focus Magazines and uses social media daily to promote her own business and that of her clients. She is also a behavioural consultant and parenting coach, and reaches out to parents, via social media, who may be struggling with their own child’s behaviour.

Simon Lancaster has been a speechwriter for the last 20 years. He has written speeches for many high profile politicians and top business leaders. He is the author of several books about communication including Winning Minds: Secrets from the Language of Leadership.’

David Collyer is an Operating Department Practitioner in the NHS and also a Photographer. He is an avid user of social media, moderating a local community forum, and a blogger, combining observations on life with photography

Dee Ball is a creative consultant in interactive design and multimedia. Dee guest lectures at various Universities in the field of ‘Psychology of Design’ and also gives workshops and consult on Social Media Assets.


Events take place at: Kings Arms Hotel, 29 Nevill Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5AA – Plan your journey here