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Lots of possibilities to learn something new at the Abergavenny Writing Festival this month!

Some intriguing and enlightening talks from local writers, including Phil Madden’s session on Friday 12th April where he will share his experiences of writing to an inmate on Death Row. This session will be followed by a talk from the film directors and producers who are making a feature documentary on pen-palships with inmates on Death Row. On a completely different subject Patrick Hannay will present his thesis for discussion: have childhood tales sentimentalised our view of the countryside?

For the youngsters a chance to learn how to write and perform poetry and then compete in a ‘Youth Poetry Slam’ under the expert guidance of Bristol based aficionados Glenn Carmichael and Claire Williamson who have been running poetry slam workshops and hosting slams since 1994. Abergavenny Museum and Castle will provide the source material and base for an intergenerational memoir writing workshop led by Lynn Clausen on Saturday 13th April.
Or join award-winning Cardiff food bloggers Ed Gilbert and Jane Cook as they share their insights on food blogging; from finding a niche, building an audience, and navigating issues of ethics and transparency, right through to turning a food blog into a full-time career. This event will take place at Chesters Wine Merchants on Saturday 13th from 3.00 to 4.00pm.

There will be lots of practical advice for aspiring and established writers such as ‘Can I Write a TV Script’ and ‘How to Make a Living as a Writer’ led by experts in their field including BBC Wales Writers Room and The Society of Authors. But also many sessions focussing on writing for sheer pleasure: ‘Writing for Wellbeing’ with Sharon Brace and ‘Writing about Loss’ with poet Christine Thatcher in the beautiful and tranquil setting of Linda Vista Gardens. And for those who fancy something more active a ‘ride and write’ three hour back ride led by cyclist and writer Emily Chappell starting from Gateway Cycles in Abergavenny.
There’ll be speed-dating for artists and writers, a panel debate entitled ‘does everyone have a novel in them?’ (chaired by Focus editor Hannah Hill), a one day writers’ retreat and much, much more.

The final night is an opportunity to kick back and enjoy an exciting night of words and music upstairs at The Chapel. Author, journalist, TV presenter and cyclist Rob Penn will be introducing the stellar line-up. On the bill are vocalist of Afro funk, hip hop group Afro Cluster Tumi Williams, Costa award winning poet Jonathan Edwards reading from his new collection Gen, Welsh writer of poetry, short stories and children’s books Mari Ellis Dunning, saxophonist, beatboxer and loop-stationer Mr Woodnote and bi-lingual lyricist, rapper, singer songwriter and performance art poet Rufus Mufasa. Not forgetting the winner of Christie Residential’s local talent search.

The event is made possible with the generous support of Christie Residential, Literature Wales and Abergavenny Town Council.

More information and tickets available at

Lucie Parkin

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