Apr 28, 2019
Something for everyone at biggest literary festival
The biggest ever Guernsey Literary Festival begins this week with more than 60 events featuring a host of fascinating speakers, all experts in their own fields. Last year, no fewer than 5,000 tickets were sold and this year could break that record.
Festival Director Claire Allen is excited by the prospect. ‘We can’t wait to get going,’ she says. ‘We started planning for the 2019 Festival almost as soon as last year’s was ending. It’s been a lot of hard work but it will be well worth it. I think that this year we really have something for everyone.’
Whatever their specialities, the speakers are united by books and the spoken word and the island’s own Literary Festival is a celebration of all forms of literature, bringing the people of Guernsey the chance to listen to speakers who they would normally have to travel across the country to see.
There are still tickets available for many of the events and these can be obtained from the Festival website, guernseyliteraryfestival.com, which also has a full programme and details of all speakers. During the Festival, tickets will be available from the ticket office in Market Street.
The 2019 Guernsey Literary Festival, which runs from Wednesday 1 May until next Monday 6 May, has speakers and performers covering history, the arts, music, current affairs, business, sport, health, wellbeing, nature, travel, poetry, and literary greats. The Festival - this is the seventh - has become an annual event, one of the highlights of the island’s arts calendar.
Top names this year include Adam Kay, whose event at St James sold out so quickly that he has agreed to do another performance, Matt Haig, renowned novelist Lionel Shriver, who will be in conversation with BBC broadcaster Libby Purves, inspiring poet Lemn Sissay, environmental campaigning broadcaster Lucy Siegle, and the Festival’s own honorary chairman Terry Waite.
From its beginnings in 2011, the Festival placed great importance on organising events and workshops for the island community and this year there is also a vibrant family, outreach and schools programme, events and workshops for local writers, as well as evening events with cutting-edge spoken word performances and musicians.
This year over 2,000 children from 18 local primary and secondary schools will be involved in the festival education programme, meeting and listening to some of the UK’s most successful writers and speakers. There are also outreach events taking place in the Princess Elizabeth Hospital and Guernsey Prison.
The main festival events this year are mostly in and around St Peter Port, including at St James, the Festival Hub in Market Square, the Guille Alles Library and Les Cotils, but there will also be talks and performances at the OGH Hotel, St Peter’s Church and the Town Church, Elizabeth College, The Golden Lion, Hauteville House and Candie Museum.
The Festival is planned and run by volunteers, ‘and without them, it just wouldn’t happen,’ says Claire Allen. ‘I’d also like to say a special thanks to all our sponsors. Events like this cost money to put on and without them the Festival would not be what it is today. I think they see the importance of investing in the arts because they believe in fostering creativity, and I hope they will stay with us for future Festivals.’
The full programme for the Guernsey Literary Festival, including workshops and events for and by local writers, are on the Festival website guernseyliteraryfestival.com, where tickets can also be obtained.