Shrewsbury Festival of Literature kicks off Nov 25

Shrewsbury’s first Festival of Literature opens on Friday November 25 featuring best-selling authors, storytellers, performers and poets from across the UK.

The three-day programme will see events held at 11 venues all over Shrewsbury ranging from talks by literary prize winners to theatrical performances, workshops and even a poet in an ambulance.

Festival chair, Susan Caroline, of Pengwern Books, said: "We have authors who have been on the best-seller lists for many years, literary prize winners and new voices. 

“We’re thrilled to have such an array of talented writers taking part in our very first festival. All in all it's an exciting programme with something for everyone.

“The festival will celebrate fiction, poetry, storytelling and non-fiction. The theme is 'telling the stories within', because it's not only about the story that an author is writing but also about how they came to write that particular story or chose and researched a particular subject of non-fiction.

"The festival committee has put in some serious hard work over the last year and now we can’t quite believe it’s actually happening. We’re urging people to look at our website or call into Pengwern Books to book their tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.”

The festival runs from Friday November 25 through to Sunday November 27 with a programme of 21 free and ticketed events.

Best-selling authors include: festival patron Jonathan Coe, author of 11 novels including ‘The Rotter’s Club’ and the Shropshire-based ‘Rain Before it Falls’; Louise Doughty, author of ‘Black Water’ and ‘Apple Tree Yard’ which is currently being adapted for BBC television; historical novelist Lindsey Davis, author of the Marcus Didius Falco crime series;  ‘Rumi’s Daughter’ novelist Muriel Maufroy and the writer and 2016 Polari Prize winner Paul McVeigh.

Shropshire-based author James Hannah, who was long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction for his novel ‘The A to Z of You and Me’, will be appearing on Sunday evening.

The Emergency Poet Deb Alma will be on hand in her ambulance, parked at St Alkmund's Churchyard, on Saturday to dispense poetry first aid. And award-winning playwright and poet John Agard will perform a satirical take on the voyages of Christopher Columbus.

An Open Mic Poetry and Short Stories event on Saturday 1pm -3pm, at Theatre Severn, will be a chance for local poets and writers of flash fiction to showcase their work.

Workshops include how to write a ‘killer’ short-story, travel writing, writing for radio, a self-publishing hub and a fun family poetry and illustration session.

Tickets can be booked online at or purchased at Pengwern Books, Fish Street, Shrewsbury, tel: 01743 232236.


Friday November 25:

Novelist and Shrewsbury Festival of Literature patron Jonathan Coe in conversation with the award-winning writer Paul McVeigh at the Blackburn Theatre, Prestfelde School, London Road, 8pm – 9.30pm.   

Saturday November 26:

The Emergency Poet – Deb Alma offers poetic first aid in her ambulance parked at St Alkmund’s Churchyard, St Alkmund’s Square, 10.30am – 3.30pm. 

‘The Flavia Albia Mysteries’ – Afternoon Tea with the Roman crime novelist Lindsey Davis and supported by Shropshire author Kate Innes, Shrewsbury Central Baptist Church, Claremont Street, 4.30pm - 6pm.

‘The Good Son’ – with 2016 Polari First Novel Prize winner Paul McVeigh, Rowley’s House, Barker Street, 5pm – 6.30pm.

‘Black Water – Novelist Louise Doughty, supported by Shropshire author, Jenny Blackhurst, Blackburn Theatre, Prestfelde School, 8 – 9.30pm.

Sunday November 27:  

‘The A to Z of You And Me’ – Novelist James Hannah in conversation with Nadia Kingsley and Robert Becker, Rowley’s House 3.30 – 5.00pm.    

‘Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century’ – with John Higgs, St Alkmund’s Church, 6.00pm – 7.30pm.

‘Roll Over Atlantic:’ A one man show by the playwright and poet John Agard. A satirical revisting of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, The Blackburn Theatre, Prestfelde School, 8pm – 10pm.