The Abergavenny Writing Festival

April 2020


Our 2020 events will be announced soon. 

Saturday 13th April 2019  Line-Up 

Please see each event for venue

10am-4pm – One Day Writers’ Retreat @ St Mary’s Priory, 5 Monk Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5ND – Plan your journey here

Tickets are £25 (to include light lunch and refreshments) available to buy here

Join Rosi Hollister and Kay Smith for a distraction free day to write with friendly advice and support. Set in the tranquil space of the Music Room at St Mary’s Priory, Abergavenny take a whole day to do nothing but write!

Facilitators Rosi and Kay have extensive experience in teaching and lecturing, specialising in motivating others to fulfil their writing dreams. Both have studied Creative Writing through the Open University and Cardiff University and appreciate the necessity of having time and space to write, and the prompts and guidance to help get the creative juices flowing.

It is envisaged that you will bring with you a “work in progress” and will benefit from having the uninterrupted time, environment and feedback from like-minded company to help you advance, complete or edit your writing.

You will need to bring a notebook, pens or laptop and the pieces you would like to work on (or start from scratch).

We will provide light lunch and refreshments during the day, support, encouragement and any help you require to kick-start your writing.

10.00am-12.00pm – Intergenerational Workshop: Recording Memories of Abergavenny Castle @ Abergavenny Museum, Castle Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5EE – Plan your journey here

Tickets are £7 and available to buy here (entry for 2 participants, please contact us if you are interested but require a workshop partner)

Do you have special memories of Abergavenny Castle? Sharing memories is an enriching and valuable experience – for young and older alike. Join Lynn Clausen for this writing workshop as part of an intergenerational pair (a child and an adult). There will be a short tour of the castle and grounds followed by a creative writing workshop recording your memories.

To link with the current exhibition which tracks the past 200 years of Abergavenny Museum’s Keep and the Diamond Anniversary of the opening of the museum, this workshop hopes to celebrate and record shared and individual living memories of Abergavenny Castle and the surrounding area. Participants will be encouraged to share their memories of the castle. This session is also open to visitors new to the location, as an item from the exhibition could be used to record an imagined memory. There will be space provided too, as a part of the exhibition, for those happy to share (even anonymously) their memoirs of this central location in Abergavenny.

About Lynn Clausen

Following a 20 year teaching career, Lynn gained her MA in Creative Writing while setting up her own freelance enterprise (Raven Drama) putting the creative process at the heart of her work. Lynn offers drama and writing workshops, for all ages; in and around the Black Mountains. She also prepares learners for LAMDA exams with a focus on public speaking and acting. Lynn deeply appreciates the value of family and community memoir and life-history. She feels strongly that we are all, in part, our stories – including those that have gone before. Lynn is currently compiling the memoirs of her grandfather, born in 1909.

Ticket price of £7 covers entry for 2 participants; the aim being that the pair will work together as an intergenerational team. Suitable for ages 7 plus.

If you are interested in attending but don’t have anyone in mind to come with do get in touch and we will try and match you with a workshop partner.

Light refreshments will be available.


10.30am-11.30am- Bookworm Boogie @ The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD – Plan your journey here

Tickets – £4 per child available to buy here

Join children’s writer Sarah KilBride for a fun and energetic creative workshop exploring themes, from Doggy Antics to A Whole Lot of Hair. The session will start with a story and then explode into the story’s world with games, imaginative play, music, movement and art. We all cool down at the end of the session, cwtched up with picture books that follow the theme.

Recommended age range 0-7 years

Please note all children must be accompanied by an adult (only children need to buy a ticket)

Originally from the Black Mountains, Sarah KilBride is the author of Being a Princess is Very Hard Work, illustrated by Ada Grey (illustrator of the bestselling Royal Baby series). Sarah created the bestselling Princess Evie’s Ponies series, that has sold worldwide and next year sees the publication of A Cuddle and a Cwtch. Sarah works as the Baby Bookworm coordinator for the Stephens and George charitable Trust, promoting literacy and nurturing a love of books in schools and with babies and their families.

2pm – 4pm – Youth Poetry Slam @ The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD – Plan your journey here

Tickets – £6 per child available to buy here

If you love drama and poetry, then the Aber Writing Fest Youth Poetry Slam workshop is a must. Just come along and be prepared to write a poem, rehearse it and then slam in front of an appreciative audience. The winner will receive a special certificate and a prize.

Glenn Carmichael and Claire Williamson have been running poetry slam workshops and hosting slams since 1994. They will teach you everything you need to know to write a brilliant poem and coach you so you’re ready to perform in the poetry slam which will take place at the end of the workshop.

Glenn recently toured with SW Collective: ‘Flash’ a spoken word show about moments, and ‘Count Me In’ a promenade spoken word and visual show based in a bingo hall.

Claire is author of Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018) and three other poetry collections. Claire’s poetry has been highly commended and she is a doctoral candidate at Cardiff University.

Recommend for ages 7 plus; children must be accompanied by an adult.

The price is per participant (accompanying parents / carers go free).


3pm – 4pm – Learn about Food and Drink Blogging with the Experts @ Chesters Wine Merchants, Lewis’s Lane, 2 The Mews, Abergavenny, NP7 5BA  – Plan your journey here

Tickets – £7 available to buy here

Join award-winning Cardiff food bloggers Ed Gilbert and Jane Cook as they share their insights on food blogging; from finding a niche, building an audience, and navigating issues of ethics and transparency, right through to turning a food blog into a full-time career.

Ed Gilbert writes Gourmet Gorro, one of Wales’ most popular food & travel blogs. In 2012 he won best food & drink blog at the Wales Blog Awards, and has since written for Visit Wales. Ed is also Wales’ expert in Phaidon’s guide to the world’s best pizza, and is one of Bookatable’s top 50 UK bloggers.

Jane Cook writes HungryCityHippy, a food and lifestyle blog with a sustainable slant. She won best food & drink blog and best new blog at the 2014 Wales Blog Awards, and was shortlisted for Best Eco Blog in the 2017 UK Blog Awards. She has also written about the changing Cardiff food scene for a number of online publications, and co-hosts a monthly food podcast called Hank! Cardiff.

4.15pm-5.30pm – Writing for Wellbeing @ The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD – Plan your journey here

Tickets are £7 and available to buy here

Join creative writing tutor Sharon Brace for this practical workshop at The Chapel in Abergavenny.

Personal writing is believed to be good for you and is often considered a practice in self-care as it is a way of checking in with yourself, a way to relieve stress and create personal meaning. It is also a way to let go of things which are no longer beneficial and aids in gaining insight into our own motivations and actions by giving voice to our own stories. All of which promote wellbeing by releasing the negativities of the past and aiding in identifying and embracing future goals. It can quiet anxiety, encourage calm and bolster intention or just provide a way to tell your story. Whichever is most applicable, come along and have a scribble!

Sharon Brace gained an M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University, having harboured the instinct and desire to write since childhood. She now works as a Creative Writing tutor in several settings and is employed by Monmouthshire County Council. She is also engaged in running Creative Writing for wellbeing workshops for the charities Women’s Aid and Mind,and is writing on her own novel.

7.30pm-11.oopm – Poetry and Music Night @ The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD – – Plan your journey here

Tickets – £11 – available to buy here

A unique evening of powerful words will begin with readings from exciting Welsh poets Mari Ellis Dunning and Jonathan Edwards.  Mari will be reading from her debut poetry collection ‘Salacia’ and Jonathan (author of the Costa and Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award ‘My Family and Other Superheroes’) from his new collection ‘Gen’.
There will be dazzling bi-lingual poetry and music from literary activist, lyricist, rapper, singer songwriter and performance art poet Rufus Mufasa. And a unique set from Mr Woodnote and Afro Cluster’s frontman Skunkadelic. Mr Woodnote who freestyles beats and bass lines with the use of his loop-station, saxophones and beatboxing will be busting out live beats and bass with Afro Cluster’s frontman. They will be fusing their respective funkiness for the Aber Writing Fest!

And an extra performance from the winner of Christie Residential local talent search (to be announced soon) . . .