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.


Maids, Wives, Widows

Sara Read May 11thTamworth resident and lecturer in the Department of English and Drama at Loughborough University Sara Read will be appearing at Tamworth Town Hall to talk about her book Maids, Wives, Widows: Exploring Early Modern Women’s Lives 1540-1740.

Sara’s appearance on Wednesday 11th May 2016 from 7pm will be an opportunity for anybody who has an interest in the stories of everyday people, to hear tales of daily life as seen through the eyes of women during over two hundred years of history.

Tickets cost £3 and can be bought on the door on the night, in advance from Tamworth Information Centre, Corporation Street, Tamworth or by emailing LitFest directly (see ‘Keep in touch’ elsewhere on this website).

Meet The Author: Julia Ibbotson

Have you booked your tickets for our What’s Cooking event yet?

If not here’s a little encouragement in the form of some background to one of the fabulous authors who will be on hand to talk about her book The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen and some of the recipes it contains.

The Old Rectory:  Escape to a Country Kitchen - Julia Ibbotson
The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen

Julia Ibbotson lives with her second husband in the heart of England in a renovated Victorian rectory. With their four children having grown up, she is now suffering from empty nest syndrome.

Julia read English and Sociology at Keele University after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but life (and the need to earn a living as a single mother) intruded and she became a school teacher. On gaining her PhD as a (very) mature student, Julia moved on to be a university lecturer.

Apart from academic research texts, Julia has written a memoir The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen (with recipes) and a children’s book S.C.A.R.S, before embarking on her Drumbeats trilogy.

Julia is currently completing a new novel, A Shape on the Air, a historical/romance time-slip story. Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in a community choir and a rock choir, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and walking in the English countryside.


What’s Cooking?

Flyer - click to download
Flyer – click here to download

Are you a fan of BBC’s MasterChef? Do you love The Great British Bake Off? Then you’ll really enjoy our next LitFest event.

What’s Cooking is a culinary themed day of demonstrations, tastings, author meets and book-signing opportunities.

Taking place on Thursday 14th April at two locations in Tamworth, we’re sure you’ll find something to entertain you.

Authors include Julia Ibbotson author of ‘The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen‘ and Vivian Khan author of ‘Khan’s Curry Kitchen’.

Both Julia and Vivian will be offering you the chance to taste their recipes and will be available for book signings.

All tickets available from Tamworth Information Centre: The Philip Dix Centre, Corporation Street, Tamworth, B79 7DN (see map below).

Here’s a run-down of the day’s activities:

South Staffordshire College – Tamworth Campus – Croft Street, Tamworth, B79 8AE

9.30am – 10.30am: DaQuino Ristorante Italiano – Demo and Taster – Spaghetti and Prawns

11am – 12 noon: Vivian Khan (author of Khan’s Curry Kitchen) – Demo and Taster – Chicken Curry

2pm – 3pmChristopher’s Restaurant chef Ian – Demo and Taster – Wild Sea Bass

Tickets: £3 each (max. 20 spaces) for morning or afternoon. Alternatively, £5 for both sessions.

The Tudor House – 111 Lichfield Street, Tamworth, B79 7QB

5pm – 8pm: The Tudor House will host a number of authors as well as providing a culinary demonstration, including:

  • Julia Ibbotson (book signing and tasters)
  • Vivian Khan (book signing)
  • Waterstones book stand (book sales)
  • …and others.

No tickets required, but tickets purchased for daytime events can be redeemed for refreshments.

Morning and afternoon sessions in association with South Staffordshire College, Tamworth campus.

Evening session in association with The Tudor House, Lichfield Street. Supported by Waterstones booksellers (Sutton Coldfield branch)

Thanks to all concerned.

Support ‘The Unstoppable Maggie McGee’

The Unstoppable Maggie McGee - Image courtesy of
The Unstoppable Maggie McGee – Image courtesy of

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is currently raising funds for the construction of a new building ‘Magnolia House’.

As part of this appeal, all funds raised through the sale of a new children’s book called ‘The Unstoppable Maggie McGee’ will go directly to this building.

We would encourage all our supporters and followers to buy this book.

The new £1 million building will be a calm and natural environment that supports families when they need it most.

For information on the book and the appeal, please visit The Unstoppable Maggie McGee website.

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.”

Festive Story Fun 2015

Festive Story Fun

Do your kids get over-excited in the run-up to Christmas? Do they need to let off some steam?

Let their creative sides loose and bring them along to our Festive Story Fun Day on Saturday 12th December between 11am and 3pm at St. Editha’s Church, Tamworth town centre.

The event – in collaboration with our friends at Dig-iT – will feature Children’s authors and illustrator, story workshops, Christmas crafts, storytelling, raffle and lots, lots more. Oh and it’s completely free to attend!

Here’s what we’ve got planned:

Comictopia Logo

11:00am – Comictopia: Tamworth’s only Comic Book store – based in Lower Gungate, Tamworth – will be running a ‘Create a Festive Superhero’ workshop.

Penguinpig Cover

Midday – Amy Bradley: Illustrator of the bestselling children’s book Penguinpig will be doing a story workshop.

1:00pm – Margaret Clarke: local author and well-known Tamworth figure, Margaret will be leading an interactive story-telling workshop where the children will produce a story together.

2:00pm – Wanda Pierpoint-Jones: another local author and poet will be reading from her collection.

Between the sessions, we will have other fun activities and things to do and see:

  • second-hand book sale
  • Christmas card making
  • crafts
  • raffle (see details below)
  • refreshments

Our raffle tickets cost 50p each or five for £2 and the excellent prizes are:

Other prizes (no order): £10 Planters voucher; book of Literary Walks; tobogganing for 2 at the Snowdome; set of six Staffordshire/Tamworth books from the History Press; fruit basket from Bodnetts Farm, Plantation Lane; meat pack from K R Evans Butchers of Lichfield; Desperate Housewives Board Game.

Huge thanks to all who kindly donated prizes!

So, why not drop in for some light relief, fun and entertainment. We’d really love to see you!

Download our flyer here.

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.

LitFest Needs You!

Your LitFest Needs You!

Ok guys! It’s time for you all to step up and pitch in.

Much as we love spending all our days planning events for your entertainment, some of us do have other things to do as well. So, if you’ve got a bit of spare time on your hands and want to help out with some of the work, why not consider being a LitFest Superhero and become a volunteer.

Superhero Time

If that doesn’t float your boat, how about you take part in our snazzy Spring Survey. You tell us what you like and we do our best to see if we can bring some of that to our future events.

Spring Survey

Finally, we want stuff for our website. If you’ve got something you want to say, be it a poem, a short story, an article on a topic of your choice, or maybe a photo, drawing or painting that you think would be of interest, drop us a line. We’ll see if we can publish it for you, so all the world can see it. How cool is that?

Submit an Article

So, click a button (click all three!) and join in.

LitFest Out and About

Ankerside Stall – February 2015

Last Saturday – 28th February – the LitFest team set up stall in Ankerside Shopping Centre, Tamworth to promote next Saturday’s inaugural LitFest event.

Attracting the attention of passers-by was a paper model of Iron Man, fashioned by the fair hands of Simon Goodwin, a Beano bedecked guitar from Comic Book Guitars’ Matt Wilson and assorted LitFesters wielding promotional flyers.

Thanks go to the Ankerside Management for putting up with the kerfuffle!