The Abergavenny Writing Festival

November 2020

Events III

Online events for November

Stories with Children’s Writer Claire Fayers 

Something strange is happening in Abergavenny. Thunder and lightning rumble in the mountains, magical creatures lurk in the shadows. There are rumours that wizards have arrived in town. What are they looking for? Storm Hound by Claire Fayers begins when a stormhound belonging to the Norse god, Odin, crash lands in Abergavenny. Join Claire for an exciting mix of Welsh stories, magical maps and super-powered pets.

Suitable for age 7-12, but younger (and older!) children are welcome.

Claire Fayers grew up in South Wales, and lives in Cardiff. She has worked as a church caretaker, a shoe shop assistant, in accountancy, in health and safety, in IT, and in a library. Now she’s very happy to be a full-time author, sharing her workspace with a pair of demanding cats and an ever-expanding collection of model dinosaurs. Her first booked debuted as Waterstones Book of the Month, and her books have been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award and many regional awards.

Birth Stories with Emma Mills

Consultant Midwife and clinical midwifery research led Emma Mills will give a short talk about her career and her books ‘Your Birth: stories from midwifery led areas’ and ‘Your Birth: stories from Consultant led areas’ (jointly written with colleague Louise Taylor). This will be followed by a practical session with pointers on writing your own birth story and the benefits of doing so. Attendees will leave with ideas and inspiration to continue their story.

Emma Mills is an experienced midwife with a passion for promoting and protecting physiological birth. She writes for Welsh government publications and has had numerous articles published in a variety of professional journals. Emma is a founding trustee for the charity/non-profit organisation ‘Midwives @Ethiopia’ and has been delivering skills, training and research in Ethiopia for the last twelve years. She is on many advisory panels and steering groups and has won a multitude of awards for her contribution to midwifery. Emma has recently presented her published research all over the UK, Poland, Canada, and is due to present a symposium in Bali in 2020.

‘Your Birth’ is a collection of birth stories written by women, about women, for women. A positive birth environment, kind and compassionate support, and access to balanced evidence based information enables women to take control of their births. The intention of the book is to redress the balance of negative media around birth and give women the confidence to believe in their bodies, to feel positive as they approach birth and to consider a midwifery led setting as an option. All stories are written in women’s own words.

G.G. Burrows in Conversation with Claire Williamson 

A couple of years ago, Burrows suffered a mental breakdown. With his mental health at an all-time low he contemplated suicide. As part of his recovery he threw himself into writing his book the Rotten Apples Comedy Club. Deciding he wanted to laugh more he scrapped 15,000 words of the book he had originally conceived as horror and re-wrote it as a dark comedy. Rotten Apples is about four comedians who have one more opportunity to make it big in the U.K. It tackles mental health issues and writing it became Burrows’ therapy for two years.

G.G. Burrows is a photographer and writer who works for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. His ‘Magpie’ project, which follows the lives of ten children with ASD has been widely published and exhibited at the Senedd. Burrows was part of the ‘Men Open Up’ exhibit for the mental health charity ‘CALM.’ His first novel, ‘Rotten Apples Comedy Club,’ was released in late 2019, and he is currently writing his next book. In 2018 he published a book of short horror stories ‘Tales of Latham’ based in Abergavenny. He writes under the name ‘G.G Burrows’, and for photography uses the name ‘Glenn Dene.’

Claire Williamson has been a writing for wellbeing facilitator, working in a range of social and healthcare settings, for over twenty years. She is Programme Leader of Metanoia Institute’s MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, and author of four poetry books, the latest is Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018).

Writing for Resilience presentation, workshop and discussion

When we are encouraged to be resilient – what does it mean and how do we do it? What is writing for wellbeing – and how is it different from other forms of writing?

Expressive and creative writing can be a way past barriers to self-care, to help ourselves meet the basic needs of being seen, safe, secure and soothed, which may not come naturally to many of us, particularly in the current social and political climate.

This presentation, workshop and discussion will introduce the ‘how’ of writing for wellbeing, in theory and practice, with opportunities for reflective discussion and connection with others.

Claire Williamson has been a writing for wellbeing facilitator, working in a range of social and healthcare settings, for over twenty years. She is Programme Leader of Metanoia Institute’s MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, and author of four poetry books, the latest is Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018).

Smashing It: Working Class Artists in Life, Art and Making it Happen

Tickets are free but are capped at 15 people who self-identify as working class, pre-registration essential 

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and contributor to ‘Smashing It: Working Class Artists in Life, Art and Making It Happen’.

Arts funding in the UK is available for all artists, whatever their background. But many working-class artists often feel excluded by the application process. This one-hour workshop with Joelle Taylor aims to help working class artists of all mediums (dance, poetry, fiction, music, visual art etc.) get their idea for a project application-ready by demystifying the process and discussing your plans. It helps if you have an idea in mind, but it’s not a prerequisite for attendance. All ages welcome.

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor. She has performed across the UK as well as internationally, both for the British Council (Zimbabwe, Brazil, Botswana, Australia and Singapore) and on solo projects across Europe. She has read in a diverse range of venues from the 100 Club, the 02 Arena, the Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott’s to the Royal Court, the Globe, the ICA, Buckingham Palace and various prisons including Pentonville and Holloway. She has published three full collections of poetry: Ska Tissue (2011, Mother Foucault Press), The Woman Who Was Not There (2014, Burning Eye Books), and her latest collection Songs My Enemy Taught Me (2017, Out-Spoken Press).

Free workshop capped at 15 people who self-identify as working class, pre-registration essential.

Writing Fest 2020 Finale 

Join us for the final event of the Writing Festival with words and performances from:

Poet and organiser of the Swansea Poetry Slam Iqbal Malik

Bi-lingual poet and literary critic Frank Olding

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor.

Writer and performer clare e. potter