BLOG Rachel Carney

NWR Issue 111

Cardiff Book Festival Launch

Cardiff Book Festival LaunchCardiff has its fair share of festivals, and has recently played host to the annual festival of children’s literature, which started in 2013. There are numerous literary festivals in the surrounding area, including those in Abergavenny, Caerleon and Monmouth. But, until now, the capital city of Wales has never had a book festival of its own.

There was a certain sense of anticipation, therefore, on this sunny July morning, arriving in the new ‘Creative Suite’ on the top floor of Cardiff Central Library, with fabulous views across the city, to be attending the launch of Cardiff’s first ever book festival, a festival which will celebrate the literature of Wales but will also be inviting literary stars from further afield to participate in three days of debate, discussion and dialogue.

Cardiff Book Festival, which will take place on the last weekend of October, is supported by Literature Wales, Cardiff Council and Cardiff University, and will feature the National Poet for Wales, Ifor ap Glyn and other award-winning writers including Dan Tyte, Rachel Trezise, Jonathan Edwards, and Martin Williams.

The launch began with a short introduction from organisers Cerith Mathias and Brian Meechan, who then introduced Lleucu Siencyn, the Chief Executive of Literature Wales. She described the festival as being a place to showcase “the best of Wales”, emphasising how Cardiff is “inclusive, bilingual, multi-cultural and welcoming” and therefore the perfect place for “exchanging ideas and bringing people together”.

We then watched a short film of Ifor ap Glyn talking about the importance of literature. He described the festival as a way of lighting up the city. This was followed by a short festival taster with Dan Tyte reading a short story from the Rarebit collection, published by Parthian. The story, entitled ‘Onwards’, was one which he had read at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where people mistakenly thought it was a story about Cardiff, so he thought it was an appropriate story to read for the Cardiff Book Festival launch. The story had a certain rhythm to it, as you listen to the description of someone moving around a city, following directions, always moving onwards.

The festival organisers are aiming to raise £5,000 through their crowdfunding site, where you can pay amounts from £5 to £1000, to receive a variety of benefits, such as advance booking, signed books, or even a master class with one of the writers. The aim is to develop a diverse programme of talks and debates covering topics such as poetry, politics, crime fiction, feminism and even a few walking tours and events for children.

In the same year that we celebrate the centenary of Roald Dahl, Cardiff’s most well-known literary hero, it seems fitting that the first ever Cardiff Book Festival will take place, hopefully the first of many festivals to come.

Rachel Carney is a librarian and blogger based in Cardiff.


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