Programme

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The sixth Oswestry Literary Festival takes place from Friday 13th March – Friday 27th March 2015 with a host of top authors, writers and journalists appearing at a range of events celebrating words written, spoken and sung.

Big names attracted to Oswestry’s LitFest next year include Richard Madeleyand Judy Finnigan, Alastair Campbell, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Dame Stephanie Shirley and crime novelist Sophie Hannah.

TV’s most popular husband and wife team, and co-creators of Britain’s favourite book club, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan kick off LitFest fortnight on Friday 13th March at The Wynnstay Hotel, Oswestry. Judy will talk about her new novel, I Do Not Sleep and will be interviewed by her writer and broadcast journalist husband Richard.

Hot on their heels is novelist Sophie Hannah who appears on Wednesday 18thMarch also at The Wynnstay. Commissioned by the Agatha Christie estate to write a series of new Hercule Poirot mysteries, Sophie will talk about her first book in the series, The Monogram Murders, featuring Christie’s most engaging and enduring character. She will also reveal what it is like stepping into the ‘pen’ of one of the UK’s most celebrated crime fiction authors at an event that is sure to hit the mark with a legion of crime novel fans.

And as the political heat begins to glow white hot just weeks ahead of the General Election, controversial writer, broadcaster and master of spin, Alastair Campbell, visits the Lion Quays on Thursday 19th March to talk about his new book Winning.

Tony Blair’s famously uncompromising former Head of Communications will examine the wider theme of winning in the fields of business and sport, as well as politics, and will offer his unique perspective on the characteristics and behaviours that set many of the world’s most notable leaders and achievers apart from their competition.

There is also a much welcome return to Oswestry by LitFest Patron, the best-selling children’s author and screenplay writer, Frank Cottrell Boyce, who will visit schools to give readings from his new children’s book The Astounding Broccoli Boy, on Tuesday 24th March.

In a truly spectacular coup for Oswestry LitFest, Dame Stephanie Shirley, a pioneer of Britain’s emerging IT industry in the 1960s and one of the most dynamic and successful businesswomen of her generation, will close LitFest 2015 with a special Encore event on Wednesday 8th April, again at Lion Quays.

Dame Stephanie, who deliberately shortened her name to Steve Shirley, to foil the sexism she encountered as she grew her emerging software company, went on to become one of the richest women in Britain before giving her fortune away, becoming instead Britain’s most influential champion of philanthropy.

Fresh from giving a TED Talk at the Truth & Dare conference in Vancouver, Dame Stephanie will talk about her extraordinary life and achievements revealed in her autobiography Let IT Go. An unaccompanied refugee escaping the Nazis on one of the last Kindertransport trains out of Europe, her memoire is poignant, powerful, enthralling and genuinely inspiring. Dame Stephanie talksabout her extraordinary life in business and philanthropy – and of the period she spent as a schoolgirl in Oswestry and what it meant to her.

Oswestry LitFest Director, Carrie Morris from Booka Bookshop said: “Once again we have created a Festival programme that offers light and shade, froth and depth and a range of events designed to have broad appeal to all ages and interests. We are thrilled to bits to bring genuinely awe-inspiring authors, writers and performers to Oswestry again next March.

“Such is the strength of the 2015 programme, and particularly our headline events, we are making tickets available much earlier than in previous years. LitFest fans and book lovers can grab the opportunity to buy our top LitFest event tickets as Christmas gifts this year and secure what will definitely be the most sought after tickets in town.”

Oswestry LitFest is also pleased to announce its corporate sponsors for 2015 are Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, Morris Cook Chartered Accountants, Marches Care, Network Support Solutions, Oswestry School and The Shropshire Star.

“The support of business is ever more critical with cuts to arts funding,” said Oswestry LitFest’s PR and marketing officer Jools Payne. “Corporate sponsorship helps us bring top writers and performers to Oswestry and connect brands to their audience. We are delighted to partner with some of the best in class companies in Shropshire who really get the value in aligning their organisation with a credible destination arts Festival like Oswestry LitFest.”

Amanda Jones, Marketing Manager with Lanyon Bowdler said: “Lanyon Bowdler is delighted to once again support Oswestry LitFest in 2015. The firm believes in supporting local festivals and community projects and Oswestry LitFest is a perfect fit for us.”

Andrew Clarke, Senior Partner at Morris Cook Chartered Accountants, which has offices in Oswestry, Ellesmere and Llangollen added: “This will be our fourth year supporting what we see as one of the best arts events in Shropshire. We are thrilled with the quality of authors, range of events and opportunities to entertain both clients and colleagues alike next March.”

Tickets for Oswestry LitFest’s four major headline events can be booked online at www.oswestrylitfest.eventbrite.co.uk or purchased from the official Oswestry LitFest Box Office at Booka Bookshop, 26-28 Church Street, Oswestry. Tel: 01691 662244 or emailmail@bookabookshop.co.uk

Full programme details and news on the other events in the programme can be found at www.oswestrylitfest.co.uk and on the LitFest’s Facebook page.Follow us on Twitter @OswestryLitFest or on hashtag #OsLitFest.