Wymondham set for second literary festival

A weekend of readings, conversation and music will take place in Wymondham this month as the town gears up for its second literary festival.

Following a series of successful inaugural events last year, Wymondham Words will return between September 16 and 18.

Award-winning poet and Wymondham resident George Szirtes, who is chairman of the organising group, encouraged people to come and meet some of the region's most 'remarkable' talents.

He said: 'We are delighted to present a marvellously varied programme with a green accent in this our second year. We have the leading nature writer in the country Richard Mabey, as well as Mark Cocker and Jeremy Page.

'There is poetry from one of the major living English poets, Peter Scupham, and from first book poet Heidi Williamson, besides readings from five young poets with growing national reputations.'


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The festival begins on September 16 with a literary lunch at the Abbey Hotel, between midday and 2.30pm, with nature writer Richard Mabey whose books have previously won a National Book Award and the Whitbread Award.

Between 8pm and 10pm, the Ex-Services Club will give centre stage to five emerging young poets – Costa Poetry Award shortlisted Kate Kilalea, Tim Cockburn, Tom Warner, Andrew McDonnell and Julia Webb. There will also be music provided by an open mic session.

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On September 17, a poetry workshop with Helen Ivory will take place at the Baptist Church between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

Meanwhile Richard Horne and Helen Szirtes, authors of 101 Things To Do To Become A Superhero Or Evil Genius, will help trainees develop their secret identities and prepare for awesome challenges at Wymondham Library between 10.20am and midday.

The Market Place will also host a poetry busking event between 10am and midday.

Then between 4.30pm and 5.30pm, the Baptist Church will be the stage for a one-man show about the witty poet John Donne performed by James Clarkson.

The venue will also host an evening of readings, called Electric Landscape, by poets Peter Scupham and Heidi Williamson, with music from Charlotte Evans and John Stephens, from 8pm to 9.30pm.

On September 18, T S Elliot Prize winner George Szirtes and Norwich guitarist Andy Kirkham will provide music and verse centred around animals in With Great Pleasure, Summoning The Creatures from 10.45am to 11.45am.

Families are also invited to create a Tree of Words and Birds from recycled materials with writer Belona Greenwood and artist Kate Munro in Wymondham Library between 2pm and 3.30pm.

From 3pm to 4.30pm, naturalist and author Mark Cocker and Jeremy Page, who was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for his first novel Salt, will be reading from their books at the Baptist Church.

The festival will finish at the Arts Centre with dark and funny tales told by story tellers Elspeth Barker and Padrika Tarrant, with harp interludes by Ceinwen Thomas, called Of Mice and Jackdaws: Story Telling by Candlelight, between 7pm and 8.30pm.

Tickets and programmes are available from The Book Fountain, in Wharton's Court, or by calling 01953 603663.

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