The Abergavenny Writing Festival

April 2020

Saturday

All events are postponed until further notice.

Saturday 4th April 2020 line-up

Please see each event for venue

10:00 – 10:45 – Bob Rogers on Creating a Children’s Book and a Career in Writing

Tickets are £3 

Please note this event takes place at: Abergavenny Library, Baker Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5BD (Plan your journey here)

Bob Rogers’ book Northwind is about a young and inexperienced white hedgehog abandoned by his mother then helped by some very special friends. It has been described as “a wonderful read for the young at heart, nature and wildlife enthusiasts and little bookworms that enjoy listening to enchanting tales.”

Bob will talk about the process of writing a children’s book from conception to print and the barriers, misconceptions and challenges of creating a world that has to be at once both plausible and fantastic. Bob will also answer questions about his writing career which spans journalism, TV and radio.

Bob Rogers was born in South Wales but spent many of his formative years in Stratford-Upon-Avon. A former regional newspaper editor, Bob still writes for national newspapers and magazines throughout Europe as well as still regularly reporting for the Abergavenny Chronicle. Bob has created comedy and drama shows for the BBC, ITV and many independent companies both in the UK and abroad.

10:30 – 12:30 – Texts and Textiles Workshop 

Tickets are £7 

Please note this event takes place at: The Wool Croft, 14 Nevill Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5AD (Plan your journey here)

Writing resembles textile art, weaving words, stitching them into texts of subtle shades and textures. Join writer Bob Walton and textile artist Jan Thomas to explore the inspirational possibilities of textiles for creative writing. We’ll look at writers’ use of the rich imagery of fabrics and learn how Jan’s work combines her passions for landscape and craft. Whether you write poetry or prose, or if you’d like to give it a try, you’ll have the opportunity to produce your own writing in response to Jan’s artworks, Bob’s prompts, or the colourful, tactile environment of the Wool Croft. Have a go at stitching or writing your words on textile material!

Artist and tutor Jan Thomas runs courses at Textiles at the Weir in Llanddewi Rhydderch. She is Chair of Made in Monmouthshire, a cooperative of artists and makers, and Abergavenny Arts Festival. She has worked with textiles all her life and her work is inspired by the Welsh countryside, particularly the mountains surrounding Abergavenny.

Poet Bob Walton also writes scripts, fiction and non-fiction, and teaches creative writing at Cardiff University and in community groups. An experienced reader at events, his second collection, ‘Sax Burglar Blues,’ is published by Seren.

 

11:00 – 12:00 – Stories, Games and Making with Children’s Writer Claire Fayers 

Tickets per child are £3 (accompanying adults are Free) 

Please note this event takes place at: Abergavenny Library, Baker Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5BD (Plan your journey here)

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 children are welcome. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Ticket price is per child.

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.

11:30 – 12:30 – Birth Stories with Emma Mills

Tickets are £5 

Please note this event takes place at: Upstairs and The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD (Plan your journey here)

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.

 

14:00 – 14:45  – G.G. Burrows in Conversation with Claire Williamson 

Tickets are £3 

Please note this event takes place at: Upstairs and The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD (Plan your journey here)

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).

 

14:00 – 16:00 Creating Performance from Women’s stories workshop 

This event has been postponed 

Please note this event takes place at: The Melville Centre, Pen – Y – Pound, Abergavenny NP7 5UD ( Plan your journey here)

Creating a piece of art with a new group of people is something special – exciting and motivating. This workshop offers women from all walks of life, a chance to experience this process and explore their ideas using creative, drama techniques.

Liz Pearce has worked professionally in the theatre arts for over 30 years as an actress, writer, director and teacher. She is presently the co-founder and director of Rareseed Theatre, based at the Melville Centre.

“My approach is to start with individual experience and to creatively transform this into universal stories that resonate. The process will enlighten and uplift you. It’ll be challenging and fun!”

This workshop is just the beginning – regular monthly sessions will follow, for those interested in creating some new work, to be shared at next year’s writing festival.

 

15:00 – 16:30 – Writing for Resilience presentation, workshop and discussion

Tickets are £7

Please note this event takes place at: Upstairs and The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD (Plan your journey 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).

 

17:00 – 18:00 – 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 

Please note this event takes place at: Upstairs at The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD (Plan your journey here)

Sabrina is an acclaimed playwright, poet and screenwriter and author of ‘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 Sabrina Mahfouz 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. This particular workshop will be baby and child friendly, so people can bring their children but we won’t be providing any care for them.

Sabrina Mahfouz is a British Egyptian playwright, poet and screenwriter. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the recipient of the 2018 King’s Alumni Arts & Culture Award, a Sky Arts Academy Award for Poetry and a Fringe First Award. Mahfouz is currently writing the biopic of legendary ‘Godfather of Grime’, Wiley, for Pulse Films. She is also the cofounder of the Critics of Colour Collective which helps ensure fairer representation in UK arts criticism. She lives in London.

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

 

19:30 – 23:00 – Writing Fest 2020 Finale Night 

Tickets are £15 

Please note this event takes place at: Upstairs at The Chapel, Market Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD (Plan your journey here)

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

Writer and performer clare e. potter

Poet and organiser of the Swansea Poetry Slam Iqbal Malik

Bi-lingual poet and literary critic Frank Olding

Playwright, poet, screenwriter and performer Sabrina Mahfouz (author of Smashing It)

Welsh-Egyptian TV presenter, comedian and writer Omar Hamdi

Poet and author of three poetry collections Fran Lock

There will also be an open-mic section hosted by Iqbal Malik. Open to anyone who writes original material, whether you’re a comedian, poet, songwriter . . . Performances will be strictly limited to 3 minutes. An overall favourite will be chosen by the audience on the night to receive £100 prize money. Slots are limited so pre-registration is recommended by emailing lucie.parkin@gmail.com