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…


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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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Hay Festival 2016 – Exciting Times

Hay-on-Wye – Hay-oh-My!
2015-05-24 17.40.11It’s the 18th May  and time is definitely marching to a very fast paced drum indeed. We have been rehearsing our festival pieces and no small amount of re-edits, tweaks and minor adjustments have been accomplished with notable ease, tea, cake and imaginary valium!

They’ll be plenty of multi genre debut writing to enthrall and entertain the Scribblers Tent audience during our festival slot on Wednesday June 1st at 7pm. Tickets are selling very well and we’re fully confident another sell-out success like last year. Bravo  and applause in large quantities to Hay Festival for another brilliant slot! Thank you.

Have you bought a ticket already? No?! *coughs under breath*  Then you’d better get your festival skates on and book now – CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE.  😉

In other news … Emma van Woerkom – one of our poets and a professional stretcher of the number of hours in the day, has once again formed, created and is now steaming ahead with her 2016 Hay Festival Poetry Challenge. This year she will attempt to discover ten ‘found poems’ using the Hay Festival Programme as her source material. There’ll be absolutely no cake for her until she accomplishes her task…..although more cake for everyone else in the mean time!

We’ll keep you up to date with her progress  but here’s Poem # 1 of 10
#hayfestivalpoetrychallenge  #thehaywriter  #hayfestival



P10 Friday 27 #May

“The – journey around – time – and – the writer’s – trilled – heart – revealed unknown secret – chain – reactions caused by the – tiny acts of – a genuine, working Enigma.”
ECvW ©2016

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Hay Festival 2016 Poetry Challenge

With Festival time fast approaching it’s reached that point in May again when I set myself my yearly Hay Festival Poetry Challenge – HFPC for short. Last year I managed to write a poem …

Source: Hay Festival 2016 Poetry Challenge

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Dan Davies Announced As Non-Fiction Judge 2016

The Hay Writers are delighted to announce that Dan Davies has agreed to judge the Richard Booth Prize for Non Fiction 2016. The winners will be revealed mid-July.

Presently, I imagine industrious pens editing their hearts out in the hope of this coveted win!

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.

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



Quercus Publishing writes,  “Dan Davies is a journalist, author and editor with more than twenty years’ experience as a senior staffer and freelance contributor on a wide variety of magazines, newspapers and websites. Twice shortlisted as BSME Magazine Writer of the Year, he has been Deputy Editor and Acting Editor of Esquire, Editor of Esquire Weekly, a Features Editor at the Mail on Sunday, Deputy Editor of Jack magazine, and a feature writer for the Guardian Guide, Live Magazine, The Journal on MrPorter.com and many others.”

Don’t forget tickets are still available for our Hay Festival event in the
Scribblers Tent at 7pm on June 1st. Event number 297.

Click here to book

2015-05-24 17.44.34


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Hay Writers at Hay Festival 2016


bring you wellies 2a

We are grateful to the organisers for allowing us a slot at the Festival again this year.  We will be reading our latest poetry and prose in the Scribblers’ Hut at 7pm on Wednesday,  1st June, and our anthology Pick and Mix will be on sale at the Festival bookshop.

The session number is 297 and tickets are priced at £4.

Click here to book tickets

We hope to see you there.


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Pick and Mix Temptations


The next selection from our anthology is taken from Watching Me, Watching You by Juliet Foster.

‘I know you are watching me, watching you.  As I opened the five bar gate on my return home, you were sliding down the roof; it was a controlled slide, delivering you with great accuracy just above the suet ball holder, which was swinging from the gutter.  Just as you were about to swing with it, devouring the bird food in seconds, you saw me standing, watching you.  You changed your plan; you flicked the holder from the gutter, and let it drop into the undergrowth, where you hid with it.  I had to stop watching you, I could not see you.’

Pick and Mix is available from local bookshops and from Amazon.

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Books We Wish We had Written

TruestoryTruestory by Catherine Simpson

Truestory is Catherine Simpson’s debut novel, and hopefully the first of many.  This is Alice’s story.  She lives in a remote Lancashire farmhouse with her son, Sam and her husband, Duncan.  Duncan is not a natural in the world of farming, or in the world of fatherhood and Alice fights to cope with the farm’s failing finances and to make Sam’s life as grounded as she can.  Sam has Asperger’s Syndrome, a penchant for maps and a terror of change.

The treatment of Sam’s situation is both sensitive and well-informed.  Catherine’s own daughter suffers from autism and her view of the book is that it is a ‘really sympathetic portrait of someone with autism … and it shows we can’t turn our weird off.’  Alice’s feeling of being trapped in her situation is beautifully captured and Catherine’s writing walks the fine line between humour and the darker side with amazing poise and balance.

Truestory is one of those rare books.  It is a cracking, hard to put down ‘easy read’ which leaves you thinking for a very long time afterwards.

Sandstone Press Ltd (2015), £8.99

ISBN:  978-1-910124-59-8

Jan Newton


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