Hay Festival 2017

Getting Ready For #HAY30

hay festival 2017Congratulations to the Hay Festival for reaching its thirty year milestone. #Hay30 takes place from 26th May to 4th June in its home town of Hay-on-Wye and hosts another incredible calendar of events.

In March this year Director of Hay Festival, Peter Florence said: “For 30 years Hay Festival has brought readers and writers together to share stories and ideas, to imagine the world – to tell our truths and renew our lives. We’ve seen the world move from paper to the digital realm, we’ve witnessed boundaries and languages shift, and vast migrations of people and money. We trust writers and the authority of the published word. We love stories and we love to throw a party. Please join us.”

To find out more about what’s on at Hay Festival as well as their exciting #Hay30 projects go direct to the website – https://www.hayfestival.com

Continuing on the ‘30’ theme an additional 30p has been added to the price of each ticket. Hay Festival will be donating this direct to Hay-on-Wye Public Library. Threatened with the possibility of slashed opening hours, loss of professional staff and eventual closure, the people of Hay, HOWLs (Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters) have rallied to the cause and so have Hay Festival with this very generous gesture.

The Hay Writers’ at Hay Festival 2017.
Catch us Live!

Of course we are extremely fortunate to receive support from Hay Festival too. This year our group are event number 513 – 9am on Saturday 3rd June in the aptly named Scribbler’s Hut.

Our performance includes a variety of styles and genres. So if you fancy a cocktail of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or prose, serious, humorous or a bit of both we’ll have something to delight at the bargain price of just £5.30 per ticket. Several of our members are published or prize-winning writers in their own right and for the last couple of years our tickets have sold-out!

So don’t delay CLICK HERE  and order yours today.

Hope to see you there.

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jan book merv picJan Newton’s much anticipated debut crime novel Remember No More enjoyed it’s official book launch recently at the Wyeside Arts Centre in Builth Wells; complete with a fanfare from a brass band!

Jan was taken by complete surprise as the packed room delighted in this live music spectacle. Everyone then joined in with a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to the author, whose birthday it had been the day before. There were definitely some very fine Welsh voices in the audience that night!

Once all was settled Jan read excerpts from her detective drama, answering a few questions before the photographs and book signings began.

Everyone looked absolutely thrilled to be at this event. I mean, what could be better than books, brass bands and a brilliant birthday cake!

Since it’s launch, less than two weeks ago, Remember No More has received many excellent 5 star reviews and is steadily making it’s way up the best seller lists.

Currently it is Wales Book Of The Month April 2017 – CLICK HERE for article 


ORDER YOUR COPY NOW – Remember No More by Jan Newton
Available at all good bookshops – £8.99 – ISBN – 978-1909983564  – Published by Honno Press.
Online via Amazon as a Paperback or Kindle Edition – CLICK HERE



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Hay Writer – Jan Newton Book Review!

Remember No More by Jan Newton – “Newly promoted DS Julie Kite is at a crossroads. Her husband’s desire for a different life takes her away from urban Manchester and its inner city problems to tranquil mid-Wales. It is to be a clean slate for them both. On her first day at her new police station, Julie is thrust unexpectedly into the centre of an investigation into a suspicious death in a remote farming community.”

via Cracking Celtic Crime Noir – Book Review — Emma van Woerkom ~ Poet

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Debut Detective Novel Launch

With these wintry evenings still long and dark, there is absolutely nothing like curling up on the sofa and enjoying a well written, sharply observed detective story, especially if it is set in darkest mid-Wales. So do we have a recommendation for you!

Hay Writers’ member, Jan Newton is literally weeks away from launching her debut detective novel, Remember No More – D S Kite mystery.


Jan is no stranger to excellent writing or story telling, she has won several competitions, including the Allen Raine Short Story competition, the WI Lady Denman Cup, and the Oriel Davis Gallery competition. She has also appeared in the New Welsh Review.

She secured her book deal with award winning Honno Press and Remember No More is their first publishing venture together.

About The Book


Newly promoted DS Julie Kite is at a crossroads. Her husband’s new job takes her away from urban Manchester and its inner city problems to a new life in tranquil mid-Wales. It is to be a new start for them both. On her first day in her new job, Julie is thrust unexpectedly into the centre of a murder investigation in a remote farming community. At the same time, Stephen Collins is set free from Strangeways. He immediately makes his way back to mid-Wales, the scene of his heinous crime, in order to confront those who had a hand in his incarceration.

The twists and turns of the investigation into the death of solicitor Gareth Watkin force DS Kite to confront her own demons alongside those of her new community and the lengths to which we’ll go to protect our families.

Honno – Wales Book of the Month: April 2017
Pages : 302 – ISBN: 9781909983564 – Price : £8.99 (Kindle £4.00)
Release Date : April 2017 – Paperback & Kindle

CLICK HERE to pre-order your copy via Amazon


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Three Incredible Years

All Change

September arrives and marks the change of season. Gone are those long, languid but brilliant days of summer and into the foreground the harvest comes, bringing darkening evenings which hang quietly on the brink of frost and trees curling their russet-trimmed leaves.


Juliet Foster at Hay Festival 2016

This year September also brings a change in chairperson for the Hay Writers’. For the last three years Juliet Foster has pushed our writing, consolidated our competitions (securing some world-class literary judges in the process), edited our anthology Pick and Mix, and with regimented practices, honed performances for both Hay Festival and our Christmas Concerts.

At our recent annual Summer Lunch, Hay Writers’ President Frances Copping thanked Juliet for all her hard work. Frances also thanked Juliet’s husband Philip, whose behind-the-scenes reliable assistance was greatly appreciated by all.



It seems fitting that Juliet won the 2016 Richard Booth Prize for Non-Fiction and we hope this will prove a superb incentive to complete her book, which she had placed second to her Chairperson responsibilities.

Thank you Juliet and Philip.

Wishing much success to  Angela Grunsell who takes over as the new Hay Writers’ Chairperson.

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Winners Announced!

On the hottest day of the year (so far), it was delightful to see Richard and Hope Booth present the prizes for the Richard Booth Prize for Non-Fiction 2016.


Dan Davies, winner of Gordon Burn Prize 2015

This years competition judge was Dan Davies –

Winner of the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize (pictured)
and the 2015 CWA Non-Fiction Dagger.

Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the James Tait Black Prize.

“Dan Davies has been a journalist and editor for 20 years, writing for The Guardian, The Independent, The Mail on Sunday and The Economist, among many other publications. He is currently Deputy Editor of Esquire.”
Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd. Literary Agents.

Photo c/o http://www.newwritingnorth.com/


1st place
Change of Heart by Juliet Foster

“I really liked this story for the way it plunges the reader into a
situation where one is unsure of what is happening, uncertain about
who the protagonists are and curious about what will happen next. From
the outset, the dialogue is wrong footing; it sets the pace and
compels the reader forwards into the story. The writing placed me into
this village, and among the characters that populate it — including
the narrator. The twist heart breaking, and made me want to read to
more. Intriguing and poignant.” Dan Davies (judge)

2nd place
Meeting George by Jo Jones

“The opening line in this story is wonderful, and immediately pulled me
in with its sense of time and place. The mystery of how two people
make a connection in the unlikeliest of circumstances is powerful, and
the writing made me want to learn more about where this relationship
went, and what happened to these two individuals whose lives, I hoped,
went on to become entwined after such an inauspicious start. Rich and
textured.” Dan Davies (judge)

3rd place
Base Camp by Emma van Woerkom

“This short story contains some really wonderful descriptive writing
that afforded me a sensory tour of the shop. Lines that I particularly
liked included  ‘meagre with an unmistakable hint of godless damp’ and
‘A large, glass cased heron, incarcerated sometime during the
Edwardian era and still gazing through his glazed eyes for the fish he
has waited almost one hundred years to catch’. The latter,
particularly, tells the reader everything he/she needs to know.
Stylistically excellent.” Dan Davies (judge)

Thank you to Richard and Hope Booth for their support and prizes, and to Dan Davies for being the 2016 non fiction competition judge.

Many Congratulations to the 2016 winner, Juliet Foster and runner’s-up Jo Jones and Emma van Woerkom, as well as everyone who submitted work for consideration.


Richard & Hope Booth (centre) Juliet Foster (far left) Philip Foster (far right)

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Hay Festival Highs!

What a beautiful, bustling buzz Hay Festival created this year and we are all still brimming in that honey-golden time, like a piece of well loved nostalgia.


Our event was another sell out success. On two occasions before the performance started extra chairs had to be squeezed into the intimate venue to accommodate a growing audience. Our eager listeners jostled for a seat and a chance to hear a varied programme of new original works.

There was literally something for everyone; fiction, non-fiction, poetry and prose, humor, stilling narratives and evocative words slipped easily through the microphone and weighted the warm evening air.

In a break from tradition we ended with a question and answer session open to the floor. This allowed for some very interesting enquiries from the crowd and it was a great way to further engage with our audience. We appreciated all the comments and the feedback.

A huge thank you to Hay Festival for an excellent event and to all our loyal, growing supporters everywhere. Also, a special mention for Rupert, one of our numerous twitter followers who crept into Wales for the day, stayed to enjoy our Hay Festival gig before heading back to England under starlight (with at least one book in tow).

Some of the performers on the night –


…..and a low.

Hay-on-Wye is a small place with an outward facing, worldly view.  But a loss in our little town is always deeply felt in all our hearts. As writers I guarantee that we would be quite useless without a working pen and plain piece of paper to jot down random musings and strange ideas. Most of us sourced our tools from the unique Mr B of Bartrums Stationers.  A gracious, kind, family man, an incredible stationery connoisseur and a real Hay original.

Barty – Lovely man, suddenly gone…


DSCF0417 (2)

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Finding Poetry in Hay-on-Wye — Emma van Woerkom ~ Poet

Its been an amazing ten days of sunshine, canvas and books as Hay Festival celebrates it’s last full day of festivities for another year. I’m lucky as it’s right on my doorstep – (literally, 2 minutes door to door as the ice cream flies). Authors have wowed, stewards have gently herded and shuttle buses have […]

via Finding Poetry in Hay-on-Wye — Emma van Woerkom ~ Poet

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Found Poems from Hay Festival 2016 Programme

One of our poetry members Emma, is steaming ahead with her Hay Festival Poetry Challenge of finding ten poems within the pages of official Hay Festival Programme. A little bird tell me she has just completed number five but will post it online tomorrow.

Here’s what you’ve been missing so far.

2 / 10  –  Page 13 – Friday 27th May

found poem 2
Starlight / winter days / quicksilver / music from a pearl earring: /
How did the / writer / bring / to life / a
constellation / in / blues- /
voice / the spirit / of his inspirations /
Plant / his / poem / of / the / World.


3 / 10  –  Page 15 – Saturday 28th May.

Title – Free but …

Memory – the world’s greatest – storyteller – is vanishing –
Explore – who remains – hate – genius – her brilliant – Face. – Did you know – we – can kill you – or – make – the weird and – wonderful – echo – one love – Yet, inside – her life has been – plagued by – the story of a man – A Dying Breed – that travels the – perilous streets of – the dark …


4 of 10 Page 25 – Sunday 29th May


Savage / Bear / savage / author / he acts out / the / Myth of Them and / talks to / Amnesia.

Amnesia: / a young woman / releases the Angel Worm / hundreds / walk free / and the magical / pour out. / While she goes to ground / to write her story; to save her, and himself, and maybe his / morality.

Lunatics, Lovers and Poets / three / writers / the colour of milk / ambassadors / of / the aftermath; / distinguished / privateers / plying their trade …..

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Pick & Mix at Hay Festival 2016



No jelly babies harmed, but two  were ‘accidentally’ eaten …

We are all currently making sacrifices to the Welsh weather gods for a fine, sunny and dry Hay Festival. But this aside, it’s worth remembering that if you find yourself soggy under canvas, desperately using a puncture repair kit on an old pair of wellies, or simply a little dampened around the edges you can still locate some sunshine within the pages of a good book.

The Hay Festival onsite Book Shop is as popular as ever! Get there early, purchase your book, and if fortune allows, join a queue and get it signed by the author. Don’t forget to chat to your fellow queuee’s – an affable, interesting, all-weather bunch who will share many of your interests and much more besides.

If you decide to roam the array of bookshops in Hay town, disappointment will not be your accomplice. You can peruse (a word much loved by bibliophiles) at your literary leisure where ever you fancy – visit them once, twice, become a regular, tweet them online, instagram shop photos, love their facebook tete a tete!

Pick and Mix front cover-page-002

Our brightly coloured, (some might say eye popping) Pick and Mix anthology is hard to miss – being filled with a 5 star array of wordy weathers to suit all – it will be available at the Hay Festival Bookshop and also in several Hay Town Bookshops too.

Dig deep into your cash reservoir and it can be yours for a crisp £5.00 note.


***Don’t forget you can get it signed at our event too! ***

A few tickets are still available for our event in the Scribblers Tent
at 7pm on Wednesday June 1st. Event number 297. Click here to book


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