Lit Fest back in Swindon schools for another year

This Is Wiltshire: Clockwise from top left, Steen Osborn, Josh Turner, Sam Richardson and Connor Forrest Clockwise from top left, Steen Osborn, Josh Turner, Sam Richardson and Connor Forrest

ORGANISERS of this year’s Swindon Youth Festival of Literature are hoping it will be a real page turner.

Young bookworms will have plenty to cast their eye on this November as the Youth Festival of Literature begins.

This will be the fifth year for the festival, which was at risk of ending two years ago when funding stopped.

The festival is a collaborative project co-ordinated by the headteachers and librarians of the town’s secondary schools and aims to encourage the youngsters to discover the pleasures of reading.

This year’s line-up has been announced and the Two Steves will be the highlight of the festival as the two authors take to the stage of the Wyvern Theatre to talk about their 70 books they have written.

Also giving talks to the students throughout the week-long festival will be Ash Dickinson, Swindon illustrator Fred Blunt, Liz Pichon and Marcus Sedgewick.

The festival was in doubt at the beginning of last year after Swindon council cut its £65,000 grant to Swindon Ten who previously ran it. But thanks to hard work from the schools’ headteachers they have managed to keep the popular festival alive.

Fiona Hardcastle, co-ordinator of the Swindon Youth Festival of Literature, said: “I’m just delighted that the festival has been running for five years it has been a real success.

“The headteachers strongly supported the literature festival and what it brings.

“The idea is to encourage creativity, writing and reading and it is well known that children who read succeed.

“I think that by having authors coming in makes it a lot more real, and the children can relate to who is writing the book and you get them reading books they would never read before.”

Dorcan Academy headteacher Scott Sissons said: “The festival is just fantastic it encourages young people to pick up a book and share in the enjoyment of reading because there is nothing better than a good book.”

The festival was the first of its type in the country, with schools working together to put on a week-long schedule of events and cross-school activities. This year’s festival will take place November 9 and 16.

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