Penzance Literary Festival
For up to date information about the event visit their website.
What's it all about?
The Penzance Literary Festival is a festival for everyone who enjoys words – the written word, the spoken word, the recited word and the sung word too.
Penzance Literary Festival began life in 2010 as a minor gathering on the fringes of a craft fair, but has expanded rapidly into a significant and diverse celebration of books, reading and writing, with music, theatre and performance poetry added to the mix. While it quickly began to attract big-name authors, the organisers made a decision at an early stage that the growing festival would always remain rooted in the local community.
The four-day festival, which will run in the Cornish seaside town, is now in its 7th year, having grown to become a major event in the West Country literary calendar.
How can you take part?
This year the Penzance Litfest (6-9 July) marks its seventh edition with a distinctive and enticing line-up that underlines the town's growing reputation as a top holiday destination and a centre for the arts.
For 2016 the festival has pulled off something of a coup with a guest appearance by best-selling author Gavin Knight, whose new book, The Swordfish and the Star, a gritty portrayal of life in the fishing communities of Newlyn and The Lizard, is due out in June.
Also among this year’s speakers will be Colin Taylor, whose book, The Life of a Scilly Sergeant, based on his famous Facebook posts about small-island policing, is also due out in June.
The patron of the festival, best-selling novelist and local resident Patrick Gale, has described Penzance as "the ideal setting for a festival of books and reading: beautiful, quirky, rich in history...and chock-full of interesting and interested people”.
Penzance already has literary links aplenty, including with famous poet, Dylan Thomas, who lived around the town in the 1930s and was a close friend of Joe Martin, a reporter on The Cornishman of the day. Another link is to the Brontë sisters whose mother, Maria Branwell, lived in Penzance's Chapel Street in her early years.
Headliners for July's festival include Rachel Joyce, best-selling author of the hugely popular The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and writer of BBC Radio's dramatised version of Jane Eyre, part of this year's 200th anniversary celebration of Charlotte Brontë's birth.
Other headliners at the festival include Patrick Barkham, the Guardian journalist whose latest book, Coastlines, celebrates many of the National Trust's coastal properties in Cornwall. Also appearing are the multi-award-winning novelist Andrew Miller, whose bestselling Pure won the Costa awards for Best Novel and Book of the Year, and Julie Myerson, whose latest novel, The Stopped Heart, has been described by one critic as "beautifully written and cleverly told...and completely terrifying". Other speakers include journalist John Crace and the renowned academic John Sutherland with their humorous versions of Shakespeare's most famous plays.
Cornish writers are strongly represented, in keeping with the festival's policy of promoting local talent, with Penzance’s biographer Michael Sagar-Fenton entertaining with stories of local smugglers. Well-known music journalist Lee Trewela will talk about contemporary music with colleagues Dick Porter and Ian Abrahams, while poets Bert Biscoe and Pol Hodge, and Penzance's own Gray Lightfoot and Colin Stringer fly the flag for Cornish creativity.
Add to all of this, writing workshops, literary walks and musical performances, and the Best Litfest in the West promises to offer another boost to Penzance's growing profile.
For more information see the official festival website