Wrexham’s Carnival of Words, one of Wales’ leading literary festivals, has put together a wonderful programme to celebrate its 10 birthday in 2024. This year’s festival will take place between 20 and 27 April with a diverse range of well-known authors.
Local writer Simon McCleave, whose latest book in the best-selling DI Ruth Hunter crime-thriller series is The Wrexham Killings, will headline the opening day of the Carnival. Simon will be joined on stage by Katy Watson, the award-winning author of Golden Age crime novels with a modern twist, The Three Dahlias and A Very Lively Murder. There will be secrets galore to be revealed in this fabulous session.
There will lots more for fans of the genre with bestselling crime fiction author Vaseem Khan challenging the audience to solve a particularly fiendish puzzle – with a special book prize to be won. This year’s Murder Mystery will feature a script by local writers, with the winning entry to be revealed soon.
A spectacular performance will feature Joanne Harris, the internationally acclaimed author of Chocolat (the award-winning novel and Hollywood film), and many other best-selling novels. Joanne has teamed up with the Storytime Band to create a live show featuring tales from her fantasy novel Honeycomb, with stunning image projections and music. The show has been described as “intimate, engaging, quirky and darkly magical, appealing to audiences of all ages, but especially lovers of folklore, fantasy and fairytale”.
Among the many other authors highlighting the 2024 Carnival will be the Sunday Times bestselling author Catherine Isaac who also writes under the name Jane Costello. Her emotional love stories and romantic comedies have been selected by the Richard and Judy Book Club and she has won the Romantic Novelists’ Award twice. Author, journalist and TV presenter Suzan Holder has woven her love for music and comedy into both her rockin’ rom coms Shake It Up, Beverley with its’ Beatles themeand Rock n’ Rose, set in Elvis Presley’s Memphis and Graceland.
“Poetry: Live and Dangerous” will feature Belfast poet Elizabeth McGeown and provide a platform for local performance poets to share their latest poems in an event sponsored by the successful local company Moneypenny. More scintillating poetry will be provided by the A470 poets.
History fans will not want to miss the annual ‘My Era is Better Than Yours’ challenge with four accomplished historical fiction authors arguing their corner: Catrin Kean arguing for The Seventies; E. M. Powell for Plantagenet Power; Kate Innes for The Minoans; and Sarah Woodbury for the Life and Times of Llywelyn the Last. Headlining the evening will be Alis Hawkins talking about her 14th century Teifi Valley Coroner mysteries series set in West Wales during the 1850s, as well as her 2023 novel, A Bitter Remedy – and its much-anticipated sequel, The Skeleton Army, both set in Oxford during the 1880s at the dawn of the women’s college movement.
Back by popular demand will be Mike Parker, award winning author of Map Addict and On the Red Hill. Recently, Mike walked the length of the Wales border, a journey described in All the Wide Border, and he will be talking about how his work relates to, and is inspired by, Wales.
The runaway success of Philippa Holloway’s début novel, The Half-Life of Snails – set in both Anglesey and Ukraine – tackles the whole debate about nuclear power into a tense tale of human connections and communities in their surrounding landscapes.
Highly esteemed Welsh-language author Islwyn Ffowc Elis, who was born in Wrexham a century ago, will be celebrated with a special talk on his formative years growing up in the Ceiriog Valley by academic and librarian Rheinallt Llwyd of Aberystwyth.
Local writers and budding authors will be able to attend a free event to meet other local authors, poets, bloggers, journalists and songwriters and participate in the active panel sessions “Stories from Wonderland” and “From Twilight to Star Wars”. There will even be a readathon by local book-lovers of Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Miserables.
Families are warmly invited to a free event at Wrexham Library where Dynamic’s Signing Sensations and children’s storytellers Jude Lennon, Fay Evans and Sarah Parkinson will entertain children and grown-ups on Saturday 20th April. Magi Ann will entertain younger children in Welsh and English and award-winning children’s author Elen Caldecott will explain “How Do Books Happen?” and show how everyone can become an author. The annual Wrexham Rotary poetry prize will also be presented during the day.
“This year’s Carnival is back with a bang”
The 2024 Carnival of Words will be formally launched with a special event on 27 March with Siân Hughes, the award- winning poet who was also longlisted for the Booker Prize 2023 for her brilliant first novel Pearl. Siân will talk about her inspiration for this fabulous novel set just over the Welsh border in Tilston, Cheshire.
Festival Director Dylan Hughes has said: “This year’s Carnival is back with a bang with an exciting and varied programme of events, and we hope that local book lovers and reading fans will join us to meet the wonderful authors in our programme”.
The programme is at www.wrexhamcarnivalofwords.com and tickets for individual events are available now with the Festival Ticket also available at an “early bird” price of £35 until the end of March.
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