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Pam Ayres will be kicking off this year’s festival

13th – 17th October 2021

Returning after an unsettling two-year break the Crickhowell Literary Festival is determined to dazzle as never before. Running for fewer days, but with over fifty events and a host of new venues to accommodate larger numbers, we promise the most ambitious Festival yet!

We are especially delighted to include a tribute to Nevill Hall hospital, so crucial to the local response to the pandemic, with Glenn Dene discussing, Behind the Mask, which describes how the hospital’s dedicated team of professional staff faced the challenge of Coivd-19. The return to normality is celebrated by our habitual feast of Welsh culture, and this year Crickhowell itself is a star attraction in events that tell stories about Crickhowell people from 1881 to wickedly funny anecdotes about Crickhowell life in the present day. We will celebrate too, the story of our beautiful local Bethesda chapel.

Welsh legend Roy Noble is also returning to regale us with more urban myths and legends from Wales, but the festival is never merely parochial, and political concerns are represented by Professor Brian Brivati, revealing the effect of the Trump presidency on the Abraaj group based in Dubai, whilst broadcaster and comedian Robin Ince discusses The Importance of being interested and why scientific wonder isn’t just for the professionals.

The usual heady mix of well-known authors includes this year’s Booker-nominated writer, Mary Lawson, speaking on A Town Called Solace; Stacey Halls on Mrs England, and Tracey Rees, winner of the Richard and Judy Search for a best seller competition, speaking about her novel, The Rose Garden.

The Festival literary criticism series packs its usual intellectual punch with Professor Meg Jensen exploring the work of the short-story writer, Katherine Mansfield, a fellow writer greatly envied by Virginia Woolf; Professor Avril Horner invites you to take afternoon tea with some well-known vampires, and at this year’s Festival Literary supper, Dr Miles Leeson will celebrate the centenary of one of the greatest crime and thriller writers of the twentieth century, Patricia Highsmith, author of The Talented Mr Ripley.

Lovers of murder mysteries can, in fact, look forward to a crime fiction feast, with six events from Welsh crime writers, Crime Cymru, nail-biting mysteries from Emma Stonex, Laura Shepherd Robinson and Fiona Cummins, so don’t plan on walking home in the dark. To calm the nerves, you could try foraging with Adele Nozedar or some brisk walking with Kevin Walker. And if all that fails, to soothe the soul we are running an unusually large number of poetry events: ‘National treasure’, Pam Ayres is the star of our grand opening event; the Welsh publisher, Seren’s, poetry showcase event will celebrate its 40th anniversary with readings by four of its finest poets; award-winning Welsh poet Christopher Meredith will read from his recent collection, Still, and our grand finale this year is Twitter’s unofficial poet laureate, Brian Bilston.

When the festival closes, relax and mull over this plethora of literary delights in good company and a glass or two of wine at one of the excellent hostelries in our High Street. We will see you there.

Iechyd da!

Emma Corfield-Walters

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