The Abergavenny Writing Festival

April 2023

Thursday 7th 2022

Unless stated otherwise all events take place at Kings Arms Hotel, Abergavenny, NP7 5AA. Plan your journey  here

9:30am – 11:30am – Mother Nature – Exploring the transformative journey of motherhood – Tickets are £15 (+ £1.26 booking fee) and are available here 


Join Lily Sequoia for a nourishing, reflective process as we explore the seismic transition that occurs with becoming a mother. This workshop incorporates nature connection, mindfulness and the written word to unearth your creative expression as we share from the lived experience of motherhood. For anyone who identifies as a Mother and who would like to experiment with creative writing.

Lily was 5 when she started writing poetry and it has been her friend ever since. Lily is a poet, doula, body worker, facilitator, film maker and mother of two. For Lily, motherhood brought with it the question: “how can my role as a mother feed my sense of self, rather than detract from it, and vice versa?” Exploring how our actions can honour ourselves and future generations underpins her work and passion for creating nurturing spaces and was the focus of award-winning documentary ‘wetheuncivilised: A Life Story”, which she co-created in 2016.

Stwidio Felin Fach, Ross Rd, Abergavenny NP7 5RF Directions here
Further Directions – It is a blind right hand turning into a tree-lined drive off Ross Road, (before the going under the bridge if you’re heading out from town). Look out for the  flags. Once you come into the drive, It’s the first gate on the left. Call Lily if you have any trouble finding the venue – 07832258877

10:30am – 11:30am – Men’s Words – Tickets are £7 (+ 59p booking fee) and are available here

A photograph of a man with short grey hair, wearing a dark jumper, there is a tree in the backgroundIt’s a changing world. In this session we’ll come together to celebrate our various experiences of male-ness in an atmosphere of creativity and support. We’ll talk about what we value and weave our words together in a collaborative poem.
You don’t need any writing experience to take part in this celebration of the imagination! All who consider themselves to be male are welcome.
Graham Hartill lives near Crickhowell. A poet and workshop facilitator, he teaches on the Master’s degree in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes for the Metanoia Institute, the only course of its kind in the world. He was a co-founder of Lapidus, the international organisation for writing and wellbeing, has worked in the fields of mental health and ageing and was Lifelines facilitator for the Ledbury Poetry Festival for eight years, working with elderly people. He recently retired as a writer-in-residence at HMP & YOI Parc after 15 years and was the first writer in residence for Swansea University’s School of Medicine.

12:00pm – 13:00- Creative Writing for well-being, a talk and discussion led by Graham Hartill – Tickets are £7 (+ 59p booking fee) and are available here

The idea of writing for well-being has never been more popular than it is today. Graham has worked in this field for over thirty years, running workshops for people with mental health issues, older people, including those with dementia, prisoners and in a variety of other settings. As a tutor on the only Master’s degree programme in the field in the UK, Graham will talk about his work, read some examples of writing produced and lead a discussion on good practice and ethical guidelines.
All are welcome.
Graham has published papers, given many talks and run countless workshops in varied areas of writing in health care and personal development. His poetry has been widely published in the UK and the USA as well as in China where he publishes co-translations of Chinese poetry alongside Professor Wu Fusheng of the University of Utah.
His latest selection is Rhapsodies, published by Aquifer Books in 2021.


14:00 – 15:00 – Come and try Writing Flash Fiction – Tickets are £7 (+ 59p booking fee) and are available here

A picture of two women. The woman at the top has bright blue hair. The woman on the bottom has brown hair and glasses.Liz and Cath will introduce you to flash fiction, what it is and ways in which it can transform your writing. They will have picture prompts for you to try out writing your own flash. An explorative and fun workshop in which you might surprise yourself. All ages from 8 to 108.

Liz Aiken is a renowned blogger and writer living in Blackwood. Her popular blog Bluesdoodles captures the power of music and words, with a new Doodle-zine focussing on the written word. She is currently writing a historical novel based on a branch of her family tree. Flash is her perfect antidote to the longer form of writing: she enjoys submitting her stories, and has been long/shortlisted in various journals and competitions.
Cath Barton is an English writer living in Abergavenny. She is the author of three novellas: The Plankton Collector (2018, New Welsh Review), In the Sweep of the Bay (2020, Louise Walters Books) shortlisted for Best Novella in the Saboteur Awards 2021, and Between the Virgin and the Sea (forthcoming, Novella Express, Leamington Books). Her short stories are published in The Lonely Crowd, Strix and a number of anthologies. Cath is active in the online flash fiction community.




15:30 – 16:30pm – Letterpress printing with Francesca Kay – Tickets are £5 (+42p booking fee) and are available here

Try your hand at letterpress printing and leave with your own creation!

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!





17:00 – 17:30pm – I am a writer (video) – Tickets are FREE but booking is essential to access the event in person or online (via YouTube) book your ticket here  

Eight writers groups have joined together to produce a selection of ‘Writing Journeys’ and other useful information about writing groups in Gwent, South Wales and the Borders. To launch the book ‘Journeys into Writing’ this video is a taster of some of those journeys read by their authors for the Abergavenny Writing Festival 2022.

Writing groups are a great way to improve your skills, practice your writing with an audience and meet other local writers. Eight writing groups in Gwent and the Borders joined together to share over 60 Journeys into Writing.  From first picking up a pen to the camaraderie of a writing group on to the thrill of publication.

We will be sharing a video made to launch the book. You can view it with us at the Kings Arms or watch remotely via our YouTube channel. If you sign up and we will send you a link to view.

‘Journeys into Writing’ is available at the festival or to purchase online


18:30 – 20:00 – Poetry Webinar: Health and Wellbeing with Marvin Thompson – Tickets are £5 (+ 42p booking fee) and are available here


In this welcoming, poetry webinar, Marvin Thompson will explore the health benefits of creative writing. Participants will explore topics such as journal writing, walks with nature and fantastic futures. This webinar is suitable for those new to creative writing as well as more experienced writers.
Marvin Thompson was born in London to Jamaican parents and now lives in south Wales. In 2021, he made headlines by winning the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition. He was the first poet of colour to win since 1981. His debut poetry collection, Road Trip, is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. The Guardian described Road Trip as an ‘invigorating journey through the complexities of black British family life.’ It was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year Award, 2021.