Manx Litfest 2018 gets underway today (Tuesday) with 20 events and 27 school visits packed into six days of literary talks, shows, workshops, family events and competitions.
The seventh annual festival has drawn 12 visiting authors, poets, illustrators, storytellers and musicians to the Island from around the British Isles, who will be joined by a host of Isle of Man contemporaries for a festival that should conjure up something for everyone, whatever your literary fancy.
This year’s headliner is former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell.
Chris is an author and illustrator whose books include the Goth Girl and Ottoline series. His new picture book, Once Upon a Wild Wood, is the focus of this year’s Family Day at Garey Ny Cloie, St John’s on Saturday (1.30pm-4.30pm), while Chris will also be at Noa Bakehouse on Saturday night (8.00pm) for Poems to Live Your Life By, a collection of classic and contemporary poetry that Chris has curated and illustrated. And on Sunday, he’ll be at Castletown Civic Centre (10.30am) to talk about his new paperback, Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony, which will see string quartet Manx Camerata performing alongside Chris.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) sees Litfest head north to Andreas, for two workshops and the main event, Folk, (7pm start) in St Andrew’s Church and featuring author Zoe Gilbert and The Bookshop Band (visiting from the Wigtown Book Festival).
Performance storyteller Ben Haggarty returns to Litfest to perform Frankenstein at the Gaiety Theatre (8pm on Friday), to mark 200 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s Gothic classic, and he’ll be performing a children’s show at King’s Court Theatre (4.30pm Saturday) – The Devil, The Tsar and the 3 Dry Biscuits.
Philip Ardagh, Jonathan Meres and Birdie Milano are some of the visiting children’s authors helping deliver Schools’ Day, on Friday, alongside Island writers Susie Heckles, Elizabeth Brooks, Rakie Keig, Roz Stimpson, Angela Roberts and illustrator Jacqui Mulvagh.
Influential Women, Powerful Words (6pm Friday) is a panel discussion at the Villa Marina arcade about the influence of female writers through the ages, while Moonbrella (7.15pm Sunday) is a poetry event at Peel Cathedral, hosted by performance poet Thommie Gillow, and inspired by the craters on the moon that were named after women.
Two Isle of Man-based authors with new books published this year are Elizabeth Brooks (Call of the Curlew) and Rona Halsall (Keep You Safe), and in addition to Influential Women, they are teaming up for a Q&A session at Writers’ Day (Saturday), which is again taking place at King William’s College – with Writers’ Day including masterclasses from Island authors Jennifer Kewley Draskau and Pat Skillicorn and a poetry panel involving Thommie and two Manx Bards – Stacey Astill, the second Manx Bard, and Sara Goodwins, the fourth Manx Bard.
Three ever popular events will be dusted off and return – the Poetry Slam (tonight, Tuesday), the Book Fanatics’ Quiz Night (Thursday) and the Short Story Slam (Sunday).
A full programme for the festival can be downloaded from here which has full details about times and how to get tickets/reserve seats for all Litfest events.