Romancing the Word

Romancing the Word flyerDoing anything on Saturday June 11th 2016? Why not join us celebrate the wonderful world of romance with a selection of authors handpicked by LitFest. The event includes author talks and readings, a workshop and an informal ‘meet the authors’ event where you can have a chat and get your hands on signed books.

Entrance to the meet the authors event at Tamworth library is FREE. The author talks, readings and workshop – taking place in St Editha’s – are ticketed, priced at £3 each. Alternatively you can opt for the whole day ticket of £8.

Tickets are available from Tamworth Tourist Information Centre, Corporation Street, Tamworth (tel: 01827 709581). Or you can contact us directly (see Keep In Touch for email link).

Additional information on Facebook and the Facebook Event page.

Free eBook

Cover Photo - eBook - Amington From Village to Suburb
Cover Photo – eBook – Amington From Village to Suburb

The very lovely people from Hodge Lane Conservation Group – more specifically Diane Wells (the guiding light of Tamworth History Group) – have donated an ebook for free distribution through our eShop.

Titled “Amington From Village to Suburb“, the book contains reflections on the history of the Amington district of Tamworth and contains several images of the area spanning many years. We would recommend you pop over to the shop and download yourself a copy, then sit back for a most enjoyable read.

If you would like more information on the area, Diane will be speaking for Tamworth and District Civic Society at St. Editha’s Church, Amington on March 17th.

See the Civic Society website for more details on this event.


Comics Move Into a Golden Age

Saga - Volume One - Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples Image courtesy of Image Comics
Saga – Volume One – Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Image courtesy of Image Comics

According to the The Guardian newspaper, comics are moving into a “new golden age of creativity and diversity”.

Rather than “growing up” with the introduction of adult themes, the current surge is put down to “growing outwards” instead, embracing wider audiences than the stereotypical “lone male comic reader”.

These days there are now more women writers and artists, and more diverse creators in general, working in the medium with the “best books …fuelled by the pulpy, pop-art immediacy and sense of wonder that make the form so addictive…”.

Today’s books move away from the usual themes of power and embrace instead broader themes of  family, teen drama and soap operas.

Read the full article here.

Anthony and the Teapot

Recently, LitFest committee member Anthony Poulton-Smith did a very nice thing.

He went on Countdown to raise money for us via JustGiving. The money-pledging window has since passed but Anthony raised £200 of much needed funds.

Here’s his take on the whole story:

“Some may have seen in the local press of my fund-raising or perhaps you actually saw my appearances on Countdown. Anyone who thinks they would like the opportunity should certainly give it a go. There’s a short telephone audition beforehand, no pressure situation where you are just playing the game. After that it’s off to the studios and hopefully come back with a teapot – but for that you have to win a game.

Seeing how programmes are put together is entertaining in its own right. I travelled to Media City in Manchester to record as long ago as the last week of September – shows are pre-recorded and they manage five a day. Once firmly ensconced in my nearby hotel room it’s a short walk across the developed Salford Quays (you can see the set of Coronation Street off to one side) and before long you’re in make up.

Image courtest of Tamworth Herald
Image courtesy of Tamworth Herald

On that first day I was scheduled to be in the challenger’s chair on final of the three recordings that afternoon. It did help to be last because I got the chance to get in ‘Countdown mode’ by taking a seat in the audience while the current champion – a young lady of 18 from Northern Ireland – coolly disposed of her third and fourth victims.The audience, which may seem sizeable on the television, numbered around twenty, some of whom were either contestants or their supporters. Then it was my turn. To be truthful I didn’t feel nervous at all and I won a closely fought game. Now the proud owner of a teapot, I retired for the night determined to do as well the following day.

Now I am not making excuses for what I consider a below-par performance the following day, on the contrary I did my best on the day but certainly cringed when I saw the broadcast later, but what happened before the cameras eventually started rolling next morning was as much a part of the experience as selecting vowels and consonants. First the hotel lift decided to make some ghastly noises and then a hopeful on the recording of The Voice next day decided the bathroom acoustics too good to miss out on trying out their scales. By 2am in the morning, I made a polite request for them to maybe try out as a mime artist.

A short night’s sleep was broken by my alarm going off. I always use my original mobile phone as an alarm when travelling and it works wonderfully. However I had forgotten it uses the ringtone I had downloaded some ten years or so ago to wake me, that ringtone being (quite coincidentally) the familiar Countdown theme. For a fleeting panic-stricken second the sound of this tune in the early morning made me think, in my confused state, I had dropped off in the middle of a recording. My moment of sheer terror was fleeting but very, very real and the adrenaline pumping as I leapt out of bed.

After breakfast off to the studio and make up (again), then at the appointed hour of 10am back into the studio and the champion’s chair. Here the audience welcomed myself and the challenger – although the warm-up man thought it a good idea to introduce me as “Our current champion, Nigel Farage!”All was set, the introductions filmed and I chose the first set of letters. At this point I should say that while the challenger’s seat does give a reasonable view of Rachel Riley‘s board, the champion’s chair is at an awful angle and does not. Furthermore, the angle of the screen in front of us means having to peer over the edge where, somewhat distractingly, I now realise they keep showing images of the contestants. However the clock started and I started scribbling away. Soon I was aware there was something wrong but, with my challenger still working away, so did I until the floor manager pointed out we would have to reset as the clock wasn’t working. To us the tune was playing away and everything hunky dory but behind us the brand new clock, the icon of the programme, hadn’t moved at all.

A fifteen minute delay followed where the problem was fixed and I again chose a second set of letters. Start the clock and a few seconds later stopped again as the clock wasn’t working. The recording broadcast was the fourth attempt and some 90 minutes after the first abortive attempt, by which time concentration was wandering and I performed badly in that first part. In truth I did have a matching seven in the second game – but when the challenger said “Seven but I don’t think it will be accepted” I declared a six as I thought better of also declaring a seven as I was fairly certain I knew what he had and had written down the same word. pair of sevens when I also had the word GOOLIES.

I did more or less match my opponent after that but, as have others before me, made the mistake of trying to play catch up and looking for that longer word instead of noting down everything I saw (there’s a tip should you ever apply!) When it came to the final conundrum I had already lost and had not a notion of what was in front of me when, around 25 seconds, I hit the bell. Now I’ve seen the broadcast and they have very cleverly and seamlessly edited out what followed. For those who have seen the programme and when the conundrum answer is wrong you see the letters roll over revealing the word INCORRECT. Now what you don’t know is that this is edited in afterwards. So when I hit the bell and said “I think it will say INCORRECT” I thought it rather amusing. Unfortunately the only people who got this jest were guest Michelle Collins, regulars Rachel Riley and Susie Dent, and the challenger. Nick Hewer missed it completely, as did the audience, and so they rolled on. Pity they had to edit it out as, somewhat ironically, you will see the actual answer was WISECRACK.

Image courtesy of Tamworth Herald
Image courtesy of Tamworth Herald

So I departed, complete with teapot – although, despite what Nick Hewer said, winners do not get the rest of the ‘goody bag’ as the losers do. I didn’t stop for the afternoon recordings, not sour grapes just that I had to make a couple of train connections, but it wasn’t until I arrived home I realised I had been on a tram, two trains and a bus whilst wearing make up.

So there is the story behind the appearance. Not much glamour (except when in make up) but an excellent experience and one I shall be repeating as soon as I can, this time a contestant on another show and again to raise money for Tamworth Literary Festival. What will it be? At present no clues but hope to make an announcement soon – of course if I fail the audition nobody will ever find out.

May I take this opportunity to thank all those who have given so generously, almost 50% of our target is a tremendous achievement.”

Get Shopping!

Exciting news! We now have an online shop so that we can raise much needed funds.

Currently, it has two ebooks on sale – donated to us for the purpose by LitFest committee member Anthony Poulton-Smith – but hopefully we will add more products to it over time.

So, if you fancy finding out more about the origins of Tamworth street names and pubs in Tamworth, pop over to the Tamworth LitShop and download yourself a bargain (or two).

Happy shopping.

LitFest Stall - Amington Fete

Amington Fete

Wow! We had a fantastic first ever LitFest fundraiser stall courtesy of Amington Fete.

The sun shone, books were sold (the children’s books being the favourite, we are glad to report) and lots and lots of people of all ages very helpfully took part in our survey.

And our ‘Make a Bookmark’ competition for children proved popular too. Congratulations to Hannah on winning the prize! Have a look at all the entries below (in no particular order), including Hannah’s. Thanks to Cllr Margaret Clarke for judging the entries.

Jo McMillan: Motherland Launch Event

We have a LitFest exclusive!

Jo McMillan - Motherland - Flyer
Jo McMillan – Motherland

Former Tamworth resident Jo McMillan – who now resides in Berlin – is coming back to the town as part of the launch of her debut novel Motherland.

Set in late-70s Tamworth and cold war East Germany, this partly autobiographical tale relates how thirteen year old Jess and her mother leave England and head out into the unknown.

Jo will be talking about the book at a ticket-only event at the fabulous Town Hall on 6th July between 7 – 8:30pm.

Tickets cost £2 and can be bought from Tamworth Information Centre on Corporation Street or on the door on the night. Though, note that there are only 50 tickets available. Best get a move on then!

BSL Interpretation
BSL Interpretation

All money raised will be donated to charities chosen by Tamworth Mayor Cllr Maureen Gant, who will be in attendance too.

For further details, click on the poster to view or download it.

For more information on Jo and Motherland, visit her website.