The Abergavenny Writing Festival

April 2022


All events are free and online. Unless otherwise stated each event is pre-recorded, links to book each event will be added soon.

Monday 9th November

13:00 – 14:00 – Writing for Resilience presentation, workshop and discussion (Live)

Register for a ticket here

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).

18:00 – 19:00 – Want to make a podcast? Just do it. 

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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.



Tuesday 10th November 2020

13:00 – 14:00 – Writing through the fiction of thought with Dr Giles P. Croft (Live)

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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.



18:00 – 19:00 – G.G. Burrows in Conversation with Claire Williamson 

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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).


Wednesday 11th November

13:00 – 14:00 – How to Interview for Newspapers and Magazines 

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Meet Abergavenny-based freelance journalist Jude Rogers. She regularly interviews musicians, actors, politicians and plenty of ordinary people for national newspapers and magazines. She knows more than most that speaking to people, and trying to understand them, can make our writing come alive.

But how do you do an interview? How do you prepare your questions (and your nerves)? How do you get people to speak? How do you write up your encounter in a way the reader will find relatable and revealing? And…what do you do if the interview goes wrong? Jude dishes out advice from over fifteen years writing for The Guardian, the Observer, the New Statesman, music and women’s magazines, teaching us skills transferrable to so many areas of our creative life

18:00 – 19:00 – Writing on Social Media Discussion (Live) 

Register for a ticket here

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