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Tamworth Literary Festival

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
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Host of literary treats from crime writing to a Saxon lady
A series of literary inspired events will be taking place in a Staffordshire town over the course of nine days when the Tamworth Literary Festival is held in March. Launched in 2014, the festival aims to promote local and wider community participation in a variety of activities that celebrate the written and spoken word. Keeping the literature theme going, this year's Tamworth Literary Festival will, among other things, feature stories and poetry, fiction and non-fiction, readers and writers, comedy, and books, music and song. And, to help keep things as fully inclusive and accessible as possible, many of the events are free.

Martin Carver, Tamworth Literary Festival
The first event of the Tamworth Literary Festival

The literary festival takes place between March 2nd and 10th with a variety of venues across Tamworth being utilised, including St Editha's Church, Tamworth Town Hall, Bolehall Manor, and the Market Vaults and Globe Inn pubs. A spokesman for the event said; "Many literary festivals the length and breadth of the land bring in big-name authors, often as part of book tours, and we will also hope to attract names in the future as we have in the past. However, at Tamworth Literary Festival, we want to be able to showcase the lesser known authors, those who have yet to see their name in print, and those who aspire to be an author and have no idea where or how to start. By bringing in writers who can give their time and experience through talking to visitors, we know we can help to get other would-be writers in Tamworth and surrounding areas to see their work in print."

St Editha's Church
One of the venues in and around Tamworth

The festival gets underway on Friday 2nd March with a talk at St Editha's Church by former Time Team archaeologist Professor Martin Carver of York University on the subject of Lady Aethelflaed, the daughter of King Alfred the Great, who became known as the Lady of the Mercians. The talk marks the 1,100th anniversary of the death of Lady Aethelflaed, whose statue can be seen outside medieval Tamworth Castle. Tickets are £7.50. This is followed a day later by a free open day at Tamworth Town Hall on Saturday 3rd March where people can find out more information about the festival and buy tickets for forthcoming events. The festival switches to Bolehall Manor in Tamworth on March 5 when an open mic poetry night is hosted by Staffordshire's First Poet Laureate Mal Dewhirst. This is the chance for experienced as well as would-be poets to showcase their own work. Entry is free but a bucket collection will be held. Mal has organised a pre-festival workshop on January 29th at Tamworth Community Fire Station in Marlborough Way from 7pm to 9.30pm.

Tamworth Town Hall
Tamworth Town Hall hosts a free open day

On March 6th the programme moves to the Market Vaults in Tamworth for a free Story Night, with storytellers being given the chance to read extracts of what they have written, whether a novel, a short story, or anything at all that the audience might appreciate. Then, on March 7th, the festival returns to St for a Romance and Women's Fiction Panel. The event, costing £6 each for tickets, features five ladies - Phillipa Ashley, Erin Green, Dawn Bolton, Rachel Crowther and Christie Barlow - talking about their work, how they produce their stories, and where they get their ideas and inspirations. Something completely different comes along on March 8th at the Globe Inn, Gungate, Tamworth, with a crime and thriller panel chaired by former police constable Gary Hyde. Authors A A Abbott, Rob Sinclair and Darren Young and film-maker Jayne Harris discuss the world of crime, mystery, thrills and intrigue. Tickets cost £6.

Tamworth Castle
The Lady Aethelflaed statue at Tamworth Castle

March 9th sees musician, singer, poet and comic, Rob Barratt, perform at Wilnecote Parish Hall. Normal tickets cost £7, but you can also have a fish and chips supper, or vegetarian option, for £10. Finally, the festival draws to a close on Saturday 10th March when Tamworth Central Library hosts a celebration of literary-related fun and events, including a treasure hunt for children. Anyone wanting more information and tickets, or a place on the open nights or days, email, call 07562 653565, visit Twitter feed @TamworthLitFest or Facebook page at
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Why? Authors, Poets And A Comedian Line Up For Literary Festival
When: 2 - 10 March 2018
Phone: 07562 653565
Where: St Editha's Church, 29 Church Street, Tamworth B79 7BX
Cost: Price of events varies from free to £10
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