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Shrewsbury Litfest Returns
23 Nov 2021

Shrewsbury Festival of Literature is taking place across town this weekend - November 26th -28th with a host of authors and poets dropping into Shrewsbury to share their wisdom.

Comedian, writer and broadcaster Robin Ince will be stopping off at Shrewsbury Festival of Literature this Friday as part of a bookshop tour of the UK!
Robin is probably best known as the co-host of the Sony Gold Award winning BBC Radio 4 series The Infinite Monkey Cage, with Professor Brian Cox.
You can hear Robin talking about his new book, The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity at 1pm this Friday (Nov 26) at The Hive.

The same evening, SFL 2021 will be hosting two Shropshire authors, Violet Fenn and Kate Morgan, who will be talking about their current works. Violet will be delving into The History of the Vampire in Popular Culture and Kate’s book, Murder: the Biography, is a gruesome and utterly captivating portrait of the legal history of murder.

For lovers of Fiction the Saturday line-up includes local creative duo, Phil and Jacqui Lovesey, creators of the Matlock the Hare triology and three companion titles, plus an ever-growing series of oracle card-decks and related artworks, who will be sharing their creative process.

Phil is an award-winning author, having also written a series for HarperCollins, together with numerous published short stories - he's a past winner of the CWA Silver Dagger Award. Jacqui is an artist and illustrator - it was from her original miniature watercolour artworks that the world of Matlock the Hare originated.

On Sunday, three local novelists will be sharing their latest novels whilst looking at the development of Character. Annie Garthwaite, author of Cecily, Alix Nathan, Sea Change and Kate Innes, Wild Labyrinth, will talk about how they each look at character development with their books.

For Poetry lovers there are two events scheduled. The ever popular SFL Poetry Slam on Saturday, coordinated and run by the fabulous Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists from Wolverhampton and featuring performances from 15 poets who will submit themselves to the judgement of the audience for the prize of a place at next year’s Festival. And on Sunday lunchtime, the Poetry Café takes place featuring Jean Atkin with Slam Winners Colin Wells and Gerald Kells. There will be an short Open Mic session during this event.

Four, further non-fiction events round up the Festival. On Saturday Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside cliches of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland in her book, Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art.

And renowned social historian, David Kynaston, will be talking about the latest instalment in his post-war history of Britain. On the Cusp takes place during the summer and early autumn of 1962, in the charged months leading up to the moment that a country changed. The Rolling Stones' debut at the Marquee Club, the last Gentleman versus Players match at Lord's, the issue of Britain's relationship with Europe starting to divide the country, these months were thick with incident and Britain would never be the same again.

Sunday continues with Dr Jude Piesse who will be talking about her book, The Ghost in the Garden, which explores how the forgotten garden that inspired Charles Darwin becomes the modern-day setting for an exploration of memory, family, and the legacy of genius.

And finally SFL 2021 concludes with an author from the USA. Pam Petro’s book, The Long Field, burrows deep into the Welsh countryside to tell how this small country became a big part of an American writer's life. Petro twines her story around that of Wales by viewing both through the lens of hiraeth, a quintessential Welsh word famously hard to translate. It literally means "long field," but is also more than the English approximation of "homesickness."

You can read interviews with Pamela Petro and Annie Garthwaite in My Shrewsbury magazine (Sept 2021 & Nov 2021 issues) - or you can find those editions online under 'Previous Editions' 

Chair of SFL, Susan Caroline of Pengwern Books, said the Festival is honoured to be able to host such a diverse range of writers, especially so much local talent. “I am delighted that we are able to go ahead this year’s Festival after the uncertainties of recent times. And there is so much to look forward to!”

For more information go to shrewsburylitfest.co.uk or contact Pengwern Books on 01743 232236