​Arts & Culture

Bournemouth set to make waves in the writing world with second festival now just weeks away

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: April 9, 2024 | Updated: 8th April 2024

The countdown has started to the second annual Bournemouth Writing Festival later this month.

Building on the success of the inaugural event in 2023 this year’s festival looks set to attract even more writers, drawn by over 100 activities and the opportunity to meet literary agents face-to-face.

Taking place from Friday April 26 to Sunday April 28, the three-day festival in Bournemouth town centre will bring together a diverse community of UK-wide writers, authors and professionals for a weekend of learning and collaboration to improve and progress people’s writing.

Writers appearing this year include award-winning author Kathleen Whyman, editor and writer Gary Dalkin, self-publishing success Matt Shaw and bestselling author Alex Stone, discussing topics from plotting a novel to choosing the best publishing options.

New for 2024 is the chance for writers to pitch their manuscripts to literary agents in personal 1-2-1 sessions – something which is already proving to be a huge draw.

Sessions with Peter Straus CBE MD of RCW Literary Festival, pictured left, and David Headley, MD of DHH Literary Agents, are almost sold out.

Festival Director Dominic Wong said: “The opportunity to sit face-to-face with a respected agent and receive genuine feedback is invaluable for the wannabe writer.

“We’re honoured that five London-based agents are coming to our festival to meet our talented attendees and give them the chance to pitch their novels.”

There is also a Poetry Hub where people can try poetry for the first time aided by professional poets, beach writing workshops and even a photo studio to get those all-important headshots.

A competition for schools and home-educated children in Dorset includes an exclusive video introduction from Chris Packham, and a Poetry & Flash Fiction competition runs alongside the festival. Entries have already been received from as far afield as Australia.

In addition to Creative Writing Workshops for adults with additional needs and international students, a literary walk of Bournemouth is also planned, taking in sights and stories from writers who lived, holidayed and were inspired by the town, including Mary Shelley, J.R.R Tolken, Robert Louis Stevenson and Bill Bryson.

Dominic, pictured right, said: “The festival has a variety of experiences to inspire writers in whichever genre they are passionate, and wherever they are in their writing journey – whether a complete beginner or those have already published.

“We’ll be making full use of what Bournemouth town centre has to offer in terms of hospitality, with genre breakfasts and networking lunches and dinners in many of our independent cafes and restaurants.”

For more information on the festival’s schedule, speakers, and to buy tickets click here.

The Bournemouth Writing Festival is supported by the Town Centre BID and Solid Imagery Photography.

The project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Arts Council England.

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