Faversham Literary Festival 2020

A huge thank you to everyone involved in the third Faversham Literary Festival, which took place 19–23 February 2020. After months of planning behind the scenes the resounding success of the festival is thanks to the support of local people who turn out in their droves to help make it happen – the technicians, volunteers and helpers, venue staff, cake bakers and caterers, and the all-important audience!

This year's speakers made us laugh, they made us cry. We saw into other's lives; we shared passions and obsessions; heard different points of view on history; shared stories of sorrows and joys; we witnessed recollections of traumatic events and were invited onto paths of imagination.

Events took place over five days in various of the town’s historic venues. As in previous years the programme featured a line-up of both well-known authors and local talent. The quality and scope of the programme is what gets us all excited and makes it a festival that people want to come to. Different viewpoints are the fudge that hold it all together and get us talking.

 

  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Alexandra Campbell (@midsizegarden)
  • image: Alexandra Campbell (@midsizegarden)
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
  • image: Phil Weedon - https://www.philweedon.com
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There were many highlights at this year's festival and we will each have our different map of experiences. The festival brings together different communities, with people from varied backgrounds coming together each year to listen to author talks, ask questions, join workshops, and make new friends and opportunities.

Some of the 2020 festival authors are stalwarts of the literary circuit, some are personal friends and contacts, others are exciting discoveries. It's a bit like putting together a weekend meal for a few thousand friends. How to whet the appetite? Which combination of flavours for the  main course? How about a cheeseboard to start the show?

The sell-out opening night at this year's festival was sponsored by Shepherd Neame, with lashings of cheese and ale served in the company of raconteur cheesemonger Ned Palmer, who said, ‘Thank you again for such a smashing night! As a connoisseur of these things now, I can say that was a particularly special one. I was so impressed by the organisation and the production values, eg the lovely menu designed by local artist Hugh Ribbans, which we are going to frame! It was very thoughtful of you to book me a taxi. I think I would still be there otherwise...’

A star-studded weekend at the Alexander Centre included among the speakers Michael Rosen, Jenny Eclair, Lemn Sissay, Ken Livingstone, Gavin Esler and Sarah Perry. Will Self returned to Faversham to talk about his recent memoir; and there were packed houses for Stephen Morris of Joy Division/New Order, and Everything But the Girl singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn. 

Plus a great line-up of more than 30 Kent-based authors, including historian Peter Williams MBE, nature writers Lara Maiklem and Katherine May, crime writer Julie Wassmer, prize-winning poet Rosemary McLeish and many more. This year it was wonderful to include local author Stephen Gillatt talking about mental health issues with Marnie Summerfield-Smith at the Abbey Physic Community Garden.

In the adult Short Story Competition first prize was awarded to Faversham writer Deborah Cook for her story 'Roadkill' and second prize to Canterbury writer Frances Knight for her story 'The Verge'. Click here to listen to the the winning story, Roadkill, read by poet and playwright Sadie Davidson. Faversham Mayor Alison Reynolds was delighted to award the prizegiving for the children’s Under 11 and Under 18 short story competitions.  

The festival was a great success with jam-packed events and a bustling town as people made their way between the various venues, enjoying the local eateries and bars that Faversham has to offer. The involvement and support of local people was tremendous and there were thousands of visitors to Faversham over what might otherwise have been a dreary winter weekend. From the amazing feedback it was a weekend that many people enjoyed.

I hope you’re all looking forward to next year’s programme. Sign up for the newsletter to receive notification later in the year.

Amanda Dackombe, festival director