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Swindon Festival of Literature Launch 2014

21 Mar

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The Death Cafe. “Everyone welcome but not recommended for anyone recently bereaved.” I’m wondering if I should go to this on Monday 12 May as my cat died a few weeks ago.

She was twenty years old and this was, I’m told, a ‘good innings’. But she was part of our family for nearly half my life so our cat-lessness is making us sad.

But what’s this got to do with the launch of the twenty-first Swindon Festival of Literature, yesterday, noon, at Swindon Central Library?

Funny you should ponder. Sandwiched between Nathan Filer (The Shock of the Fall) and Kate Adie (Needs No Introduction), is the Death Cafe, a discussion about death and dying. You may partake of rich tea but perhaps not sympathy. Bring not your raw nerves; bring instead your pragmatism. Continue reading

Finale words and flutes and double bass

18 May


Swindon Festival of Literature reached its climax at the Town Hall with the annual Poems and Pints event. Continue reading

Bell chimes workshop rhymes

18 May
Jo Bell Workshop

Jo Bell Workshop

Workshops, full of anvils, lathes and maybe a vice or two, unless it’s the last day of the twentieth Swindon Festival of Literature when it’s something else entirely. Continue reading

Outskirts of Swindon

17 May
Fiona Sampson

Fiona Sampson

Internationally acclaimed poet Fiona Sampson showcased her book. ‘Coleshill’  at the Arts Centre Studio. Continue reading

Cherries As Insurgent Art

16 May
Mabel's House

Mabel’s House

Domestic Cherry’s Swindon Festival Of Literature residency continued at Artsite Post Modern as Mabel Watson threw one of her infamous house parties. Continue reading

Genetically Modified Truths

15 May
Steve Jones

Steve Jones

‘Just in case there are any people down from London for the day I’ll translate the Latin because I know that the highly educated people of Swindon won’t need me to’. Continue reading

The Magic of Listening

14 May
Ben Okri

Ben Okri

Writer Ben Okri talks in poetry,

especially when talking of poetry,

‘the very nature of it is wild,

all poetry is spiritual’.

But Okri also considers poetry so powerful

that we  have to be careful with it.

Tyrants have been known to be poets

bad poets.

We are walking amongst monsters

these flowers

are protection against evil.

Follow the song.

Poetry wants nothing from you but

cascades of sound.

Make our hearts a festival.

We live in a story shaped world – CS Lewis

13 May
C.S.Lewis - a life by Alister McGrath

C.S.Lewis – a life by Alister McGrath

A week of the Swindon Festival of Literature has gone by and it’s at about this time that frazzled Festival types starting running out of sleep and clothes to wear, today the search for a clean T-shirt brought a lengthy, fruitless search in the bedroom, it wasn’t there of course, maybe my tired brain was lying about which wardrobe. Continue reading

Family fun at Swindon Festival of Literature

13 May

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Who’d have thought Death would have a sideline in sausages?

Anyone, I guess, who’d followed the reason for the Grim Reaper meeting a pig to its logical conclusion, ie to make bangers, bacon, chops and other stuff that you won’t find in a kosher/halal butchers.

This was the end of Piggery Jokery – a wonderfully funny puppetry tale of nature told to us by Hand to Mouth Theatre at the Swindon Festival of Literature’s Family Day, at Lower Shaw Farm – when Piggy Wiggy met the Grim Reaper of Winter. Continue reading

Picture Hooks – Tamar Yoseloff workshop

12 May
Word & Image with Tamar Yoseloff and BlueGate Poets

Word & Image with Tamar Yoseloff and BlueGate Poets

Surrounded by one of the best collections of 20th century British art outside London and in the company of Tamar Yoseloff one of the most critically acclaimed poetry tutors in the country, twenty poets responded to art at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in Bath Road. Continue reading


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