The Programme

The main 2017 Festival runs from Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July, but with a much expanded range of really exciting fringe events before and after. Save the dates! For our Festival Opener, we are thrilled to have Prue Leith (cook, restaurateur, food writer, business woman and now a very successful novelist) as our guest on Friday 30th June.  Sunday Times best-selling author, Susan Lewis, is now signed up for Saturday 1st July.  The Festival Finale is based on a wonderful new book ‘The Odditorium’.  Come along and hear about some of the wonderful real-life characters featured in the book.
 
You can download the Festival Brochure here!
 
Tickets for all events are now available. To reserve tickets for any of the events listed, please email  [email protected], or telephone the Festival Chair, Sue Ablett, on 0787 1285606, or purchase online via Paypal.  Tickets are also available from The Almonry Museum & Heritage Centre, tel: 01386 446944, or from Jellypicklejam Cafe, Vine Mews, Evesham.

 – This colour indicates a child & family event! 

 

 –  This colour indicates a fringe event! 

 

  – This colour indicates a regular event!

  • Now to 19th May

    What makes Evesham special?

    This year’s great Cotswold & Vale Magazine challenge as part of the Festival is to invite folk to send in poems on the theme of ‘What makes Evesham special?’   You have a maximum of 25 lines, and a closing date of 19th May.  Poems should be sent in by email ([email protected]) or by post to The Cotswold & Vale Magazine, Enterprise Centre, Vale Business Park, Evesham. WR11 1GS.  There are prizes for the winning adult and junior entry, and Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Suz Winspear, will be among the judges.  So get those creative juices flowing!

    Click here to read the Vale Magazine article ‘We love Evesham’

  • Saturday 3rd December 2016, 2 - 4 pm

    'Open the Book'

    Six local writers and six intriguing stories! With stories ranging from regency to crime and all things in between, and a drink and a mince pie, this should be a great afternoon, and its free!  This is a taster session in Evesham Library, which will be followed up in the new year, with Second Friday Stories.  Bring a group of creative folk together and creative ideas flow.  We have a new literary walk as part of the Festival – see below!

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Evesham Library, Oat Street, Evesham

  • Friday 12th May, 11am - 12 noon

    'Second Friday Stories'

    ‘Second Friday Stories’ run for an hour on the second friday of each month in Evesham Library.  Come along and listen to two local authors, enjoy a cuppa, meet like-minded people, and its free!  12th May (with Paige Elizabeth Turner (aka Nigel Barnard), Sara Downing and Sue Watson).    Writers for 9th June 2017 will be: Diana Harrison, Andrea Darby and Diane Need.

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Evesham Library, Oat Street, Evesham

  • Friday 19th May, 7.30 pm

    'A Cartoon History of Here' with Ian McMillan and Tony Husband

    A truly wonderful and unique evening with Yorkshire poet, broadcaster and comedian, Ian McMillan, and Cartoonist of the Year, Tony Husband.  A highly comical, interactive and improvised cartoon show in which Ian talks nineteen to the dozen and elicits all sorts of gems from the audience which are then woven, with support from Tony frantically cartooning each turn of event, into a tapestry of Evesham life going on right there in the room.

    Best described as “a fast-flowing, rapid-rafting adventure in which two top funny men reflect upon local stories and legends.  For audiences, 9 to 109!

    Ticket price: £12.50 to include glass of wine and nibbles.

    Venue: Evesham Town Hall, Market Place, Evesham

  • Tuesday 23rd May, 2 - 4 pm

    Great Big Poetry Read

    Poetry lovers – this is the afternoon for you.  Come along and enjoy an afternoon of readings from a number of local poets and poetry groups.

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Evesham Library, Oat Street, Evesham

  • Tuesday 6th June, 7.30pm

    Down the Old Asum Road - Music & Poems

    Come along for a wonderful evening of original music with Colin Pitts and Mike Weaver, and new poems by Sue Johnson and Bob Woodroofe, in the delightful atmosphere of Oat Street Chapel.  For more information phone: 01386 446477.

    FREE EVENT!  Bring your own drinks!

    Venue:  Oat Street Unitarian Chapel, Oat Street, Evesham.

  • Friday 16th June, 6.00 - 6.45 pm. Meet 5.45pm

    'Beyond all Doubt' - a literary walk

    Join Paige Elizabeth Turner (aka Nigel Barnard) as he leads a literary walk around some of the key Evesham sites that feature in this enthralling new, and very local, crime novel.  With three murders in quick succession, the book really is a page turner.  From the start we know who the murderer is, but will he be brought to justice?  Starting in the Market Place, we visit places where crimes were committed, and clues and bodies found, with a bit of local history thrown in.  The walk ends at the Almonry for a further chance to chat with the author.  Stay on at the Almonry afterwards for a glass of wine and nibbles, and the launch of the Festival Bookshop. Easy walking – suitable for all!

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Starting in the Market Place; ending at the Almonry.

  • Friday 16th June, 7pm

    Festival Bookshop Launch

    Come along to the Almonry Museum to meet some of the writers contributing to our 2017 Festival. Hear them read and enjoy a chat over a glass of wine. Copies of books of local participating authors will be on sale in the Almonry Bookshop until 15th July.

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Almonry Museum, Merstow Green, Evesham

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  • Tuesday 20th June, 12.30 pm

    Holland House Lunch and Talk

    Enjoy a 2 course lunch, in the beautiful setting of Holland House, followed by a fascinating talk, ‘The Word Detective’ by former Oxford English Dictionary Chief Editor, John Simpson. Published in October 2016, ‘The Word Detective’ is described by one critic as “surprisingly moving.  John Simpson’s quiet devotion to his daily task, handling words with calmness and devotion, even love, is an inspiration.”

    Tickets £15 available from Holland House. www.hollandhouse.org. Tel: 01386 86033.

    Venue: Holland House, Cropthorne, Pershore

  • Monday 19th June to 8th July

    'True Tales'

    True Tales presents an inspirational contemporary installation based on the true stories from the people of Evesham, young and old, on the theme of new beginnings and change.  Curated by Caroline Tredwell, stories gathered by Rhubarb Rhubarb Creatives.  The installation is FREE to all and will be at Evesham Library from 19th June to 8th July.

    Thanks to Garage Arts, The De Montfort School, Blackminster Middle School, Ferry View and the participants from Eastern Europe, Rhubarb Rhubarb Creatives, Caroline Tredwell and Evesham Library.

    True Tales has been supported by Arts Uplift, The Elmley Foundation, Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council, Vale of Evesham Network of Artists and Evesham Festival of Words.

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Evesham Library, Oat Street, Evesham

  • Friday 23rd June - Friday 7th July

    'A picture paints a thousand words'

    Visit the Word of Mouth Cafe to view a selection of stunning photographs submitted by members of Birlingham Photography Club.  All will have a story to tell, reinforcing the message that ‘a picture paints a thousand words’.  The photographs will be for sale.

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Word of Mouth Cafe, Vine Street, Evesham

  • Sunday 25th June, 6.45 pm

    'Half him Half her' - An evening of stories and songs with Philip Douch and Suzie Latham

    Come along to Hampton Ferry to join Stroud-based writer and actor, Philip Douch, with singer songwriter, Suzie Latham, for a warm and welcoming evening of readings and music.  Philip won the Gloucestershire Writers Network Short Story Prize in 2015 and has performed at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.  He and Suzie regularly perform together, with a mixture of Philip’s fun short stories and relaxed musical interludes by Suzie.

    Ticket price:  £10 to include supper (don’t eat before you come!)

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant, Hampton Ferry, Evesham.

  • Thursday 29th June, 7.30pm:

    Festival Warmer Quiz Night

    Back by popular request! Helen Yendall and Chris Cherry will again be posing some tricky questions for a fun Quiz Night. Teams of 4.  Maximum of 10 teams.  Come along and enjoy a really fun evening to get you in the mood for the rest of the Festival!

    Ticket price: £5 per person includes supper.

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant, Hampton Ferry, Evesham.

  • Friday 30th June, 10.30 am

    'A world of words' with Festival Chair, Sue Ablett

    Following on from her sell-out talk in 2016, and based on her travels to far-flung places, Sue will again take her audience on a fascinating and highly unusual linguistic voyage around the world. Bound to be fun and fascinating! If you want to know why they speak Welsh in Patagonia or the origins of the word kangaroo, make sure you book your ticket early!.  Bound to be another sell-out event!

    Ticket price: £5 including tea and home-made cakes.

    Venue: Wallace House, Oat Street, Evesham.

  • Friday 30th June, 11.00 am – 12.30 pm

    'A short story workshop' with Alexa Radcliffe-Hart

    Alexa Radcliffe-Hart is a short story writer, whose work featured in the inaugural Liquorice Fish anthology, Lost Voices, among others.  Alexa is currently writing her short story collection, ‘Yet to be determined’.  Alongside writing, she works in marketing and as an editor for literary organisations including The Word Factory, First Story and Dog Horn Publishing.

    Alexa’s short story workshop is a focused hands-on course which will allow a group of up to 15 writers to develop their short story skills.  Bring your writing equipment and an open mind.  Alexa will guide you to uncover new characters and situations to explore within the short form.

    Ticket price: £15, including tea/coffee.

    Venue: The Mulberry Room, Evesham Hotel, Coopers Lane, Evesham

  • Friday 30th June, 2.00 – 3.00 pm

    'The healing power of poetry' with Rachel Kelly

    The healing power of poetry with Rachel Kelly. Rachel is a former Times journalist, a poet, public speaker, mental health campaigner, and workshop organiser. Poetry was one of the key protagonists of her memoir ‘Black Rainbow: How Words Healed Me’, which won the Spear’s Best First Book Award and was recently published in the US. She also touches on the healing power of the written word in her new book ‘Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness’. Rachel was winner of the 2016 Festival Plant a Word competition with her word ‘eggshelly’, meaning feeling fragile, thin-skinned as if one might easily break.

    Ticket price: £5.

    Venue: The Mulberry Room, Evesham Hotel, Coopers Lane, Evesham.

  • Friday 30th June, 3.30 – 4.30 pm

    'A very modern romance' with Phillipa Ashley

    Phillipa just loves writing feel good romantic fiction.  In this session she will talk about her experience of writing best-selling romantic fiction in the digital age.  She is author of the best selling Cornish Café series. Book 1 – ‘Summer at the Cornish Café’ was a 2016 summer best seller, and the sequel ‘Christmas at the Cornish Café’ is available from 13th October. Both books are described as “comforting reads with lots of twists and turns”.

    In 2016 Phillipa celebrates a decade since her debut novel, ‘Decent Exposure’ was published. It was made into a Lifetime TV movie, called ’12 Men of Christmas’. As ‘Pippa Croft‘ she also wrote the steamy Oxford Blue series published by Penguin.

    Ticket price: £5.

    Venue: The Mulberry Room, Evesham Hotel, Coopers Lane, Evesham.

  • Friday 30th June, 7.00 – 9.30 pm

    'An evening with Prue Leith'

    FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHT!

    Prue will be familiar to all for her varied roles as cook, restaurateur, food writer, business woman and now a very successful novelist. Her latest novel ‘The Prodigal Daughter’, the second book in the ‘Food of Love’ trilogy, was published by Quercus in September 2016. A selection of Prue’s books will be available for signing. Prue’s talk will be followed by presentation of prizes to the 2017 Festival of Words Short Story Competition winners. Read a recent interview with Prue.

    Ticket price: £7.50, including a glass of wine and nibbles.

    Venue: Town Hall, Market Place, Evesham.
    the-prodigal-daughter-pr-1

  • Saturday 1st July, 10.00 am – 4.00 pm

    Fun for children

    A series of free events for children, making a full fun-packed, enjoyable and educational day.  A great family day – perfect for younger children, parents and grandparents.

    In the morning legendary Romany storyteller, and writer of stories for children, Richard O’Neill, will be with us for two sessions, from 10.00 – 10.45 am, and again from 11.00 – 11.45 am.  With skills learned around the campfire as a child of a traveller family, Richard regularly tells his stories to groups ranging from nursery schools to university students.  Presented with a ‘National Literacy Hero‘ award by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, we guarantee Richard will enthuse and inspire children and adults alike.  Richard has a well deserved reputation for leaving children – and parents and school staff – buzzing after one of his visits!

    In the afternoon we have two sessions with another equally dynamic storyteller, Gavin Young, who will be engaging his audiences from 1.15 – 2.00pm, and 2.15 – 3.00 pm.  Originally from South Africa, Gavin is best described as a writer, storyteller, performance poet and compere.  He is also a bit of a stone troll!  Fascinated with rocks and crystals of every kind, seeing them in much the same way as he sees people: as each owning a wonderfully unique story.

    FREE EVENT! No charge for children’s events!  Booking advised.  Children aged 7 and under must be accompanied.  The four sessions are all free but you are advised to reserve a place by contacting [email protected], or telephone 0787 1285606, or the Almonry (tel: 01386 446944).

    Venue: Evesham Library, Oat Street, Evesham

  • Saturday 1st July, 10.45 – 11.45am

    'A Biography of Story, a Brief History of Humanity' with Trish Nicholson

    We are delighted that New Zealand-based author, Trish Nicholson, social anthropologist and writer (most recently of travel memoirs and short stories) will be visiting Evesham Festival as part of a UK book launch tour, with a talk entitled ‘Story-power and why we need it to survive.’ In her new book, ‘A Biography of Story, a Brief History of Humanity’,Trish brings a unique interweaving of literature and history seen through the eyes of storytellers, making a fascinating journey for general readers and students alike. This is a book-lover’s book, illustrated and handsomely presented, designed ‘to have and to hold’.  The names of all those attending will be put in a hat and the winner will receive a signed copy of Trisha’s fabulous new book.  The first 20 people to buy a ticket will also get a special limited edition A Biography of Story book bag!

    Ticket price: £5, including tea and home-made cakes.

    Venue: Friends’ Meeting House, Cowl Street, Evesham.

  • Saturday 1st July, 12.15 - 1.15pm

    'Real Life: Real Drama' with Susan Lewis

    We are thrilled to welcome Sunday Times best-selling author, Susan Lewis, to Evesham.  Susan started writing fiction while a production assistant for Thames Television.  Thirty-seven novels later, Susan is one of the UK’s bestselling fiction writers, renowned for her gripping, heartfelt and meticulously researched novels, which explore how ordinary people cope in extraordinary situations.  She has also written two moving memoirs about her childhood in Bristol.  Susan’s latest novel, You Said Forever, is published on 9th February 2017.

    Ticket price: £5, including tea and home-made cakes.

    Venue: Friends Meeting House, Cowl Street, Evesham

  • Saturday 1st July, 12 noon - 1pm

    More Asum Grammar!

    Back by popular demand, the Dallimore brothers (John and Will) will again be sharing their knowledge of, and love for, Asum grammar.  For those not familiar with it, Asum is the local Evesham dialect.  Guaranteed to be a fun event, and a convivial atmosphere.

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Red Lion Pub, Market Place, Evesham

  • Saturday 1st July, 1.30 - 3.00 pm

    Open Mic Session

    Come along prepared to read/perform your poetry or prose in this Open Mic session, compered by former Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Fergus McGonigal.  Guaranteed to be a good event! (Further details to follow).

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Red Lion Pub, Market Place, Evesham

  • Saturday 1st July, 3.15 - 4.45pm

    'An afternoon with Hanna-h'

    Singer songwriter, Hanna Knight and musician, Tim Haines, who together make up Hanna-h, are well known on the local music scene. Their first album, Atelophobia, is described as “a collection of musings that journeys through the emotions of life and love.”  They are currently working on their second album.  They performed at the Cornbury Festival 2015 and have been granted support from Caffe Nero to promote their music in the UK and worldwide.  Their songs tell a story – you have to hear them to understand.

    FREE EVENT!

    Venue: Red Lion Pub, Market Place, Evesham

  • Saturday 1st July, 7.30 pm

    'Let the music speak' - an evening of music and words

    A concert of music and words, featuring internationally renowned classical pianist, Marcel Zidani, and the choir Mums Aloud, with some individual singers, under the direction of Jenny Newbury. Festival Patron, and TV and radio presenter, Michael Collie, will compere the evening and perform some readings.

    Ticket price: £10, including a glass of wine and nibbles.

    Venue: All Saints’ Church, Evesham.

  • Sunday 2nd July, 10.30 am – 12.00 noon

    Poetry Walk

    Once again led by well known local poet, Polly Stretton, the Poetry Walk will visit some of Evesham’s most scenic sites, culminating in readings in the beautiful garden of the Almonry.

    FREE EVENT!

  • Sunday 2nd July, 2.00 - 4.30 pm

    'A Summer Serenade'

    In partnership with Evesham & District Music Club, this annual event is a real treat.  Enjoy the wonderful acoustics of Springhill Barn for a performance by the Michael Bochmann String Trio, with young string players, and some poetry recitals.  Bring a picnic and enjoy the interval in the gardens, around the lake or in the Barn.

    Ticket price: £12, Students £3, Under 10s free

    Tickets available from EDMC, Badgers, Salters Lane, Lower Moor, Pershore. WR10 2PE.  Tel: 01386 861206, or from the Almonry (tel: 01386 446944)

    Venue: Springhill Barn, Fladbury. WR10 2PE

  • Sunday 2nd July, 2.30 – 4.30 pm

    'Writing short stories for women’s magazines' with Helen Yendall

    Helen Yendall is a creative writing tutor, who has had over 100 stories published in women’s magazines. She was the winner of the People’s Friend serial writing competition in 2015. This workshop will focus on what a short story is (and isn’t!) and how best to sell it. Helen will look at the magazines that currently publish fiction and provide the latest information on their requirements. It’s a competitive market and we can’t guarantee publishing success but we can assure you of a fun, hands-on workshop, which should leave you buzzing with ideas and inspiration.

    Ticket price: £15, including refreshments.

    Venue: Almonry Museum, Merstow Green, Evesham

  • Sunday 2nd July, 7:30pm

    Festival Finale - 'The Odditorium' with David Bramwell and Jo Keeling

    Celebrating a great new book, ‘The Odditorium: The tricksters, eccentrics, deviants and inventors whose obsessions changed the world.’  Co-authors, David Bramwell and Jo Keeling, will be present, along with contributor, John Higgs, to give a selection of some of these unforgettable characters  BBC Breakfast Host, Chris Evans, was hooked.  Headlined recently at Buxton Literature Festival, we guarantee you will enjoy! David is a Sony Award-winning presenter on BBC Radio 3 and 4, creator of the best-selling Cheeky Guides and “a remarkable storyteller.”  John Higgs specialises in “finding unsuspected narratives hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture”.  A wonderful way to round off our Festival.

    Ticket price: £7.50, including glass of wine and nibbles.

    Venue: Evesham Town Hall, Market Place, Evesham.

  • Tuesday 4th July, 7.30 pm

    Teens Tackle Shakespeare

    A unique addition to The Festival of Words, this event highlights the love of Shakespeare’s words by a group of teenagers.  Following on from their performance last year at the RSC, The Festival Players, directed by Eric Jones, bring together teenagers, who love acting, for an evening of monologues and excerpts from major works.  These youngsters enjoy rehearsing some of the extraordinary characters whom Shakespeare, and others, created.  If we can stop them laughing and making fun of each other, they may surprise you on this occasion!  A perfect way to spend a summer’s evening – bring a picnic chair!

    Ticket price: £5, inc. glass of wine/juice

    Venue: Almonry Garden, Almonry, Merstow Green, Evesham

  • Tuesday 22nd August, 7.30 pm

    'M - Maxwell Knight: MI5's Greatest Spymaster' with Henry Hemming

    Everybody loves a spy story!  Not everyone may have heard of Maxwell Knight.  In a gripping 40 minute talk, Henry Hemming tells of two remarkable female spies and the man who ran them: an animal-loving drop-out who went on to become MI5’s greatest spymaster.  Get to know more about Maxwell Knight, an inspiration for the James Bond ‘M’.  Henry is a great speaker – bound to be a fascinating evening.

    Henry Hemming is author of four non-fiction books, including ‘The Ingenious Mr Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy’, published in the UK as ‘Churchill’s Iceman’ and a New York Times Bestseller.  M will be the first biography of Maxwell Knight in over thirty years, and draws on a wealth of material released by MI5 as well as previously unpublished material.

    Tickets: £5

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club

  • Friday 22nd September, 7.00 pm

    'Died Blondes'

    Following the success of her first one woman show, award-winning author, Joan Ellis, is showcasing in 2017 a new solo presentation, ‘Died Blondes’.

    In death, two so-called dumb blondes, Marilyn Monroe and Ruth Ellis find their voice.  What secrets might Hollywood legend and John F Kennedy’s mistress, Marilyn Monroe, have shared with ex-husband Joe DiMaggio during her final ever phone call?  And how would Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain, explain to lover David Blakely why she shot him?  Infamous women.  Famous last words.  Reimagined by writer, performer, Joan Ellis.

    Tickets: £10 to include supper.

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant, Hampton Ferry, Evesham

  • Monday 23rd October, 12 noon

    Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting

    Come along and enjoy a drink and a 2-course lunch in the delightful surroundings of Holland House, followed by a fascinating talk by Professor Martin Kemp, who will uncover the true story of the Mona Lisa with a wealth of previously undiscovered revelations about the people behind the portrait, how Leonardo painted it, and what it meant to him.  Martin Kemp is Emeritus Professor in the History of Art at Trinity College, Oxford University, and is one of the world’s leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci.  ‘Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting‘ by Martin Kemp and Giuseppe Pallanti, published by OUP, 8th June 2017.

    Tickets: £15, inc lunch, available from , tel: 01386 86033.

    Venue: Holland House, Cropthorne

  • Saturday 9th December, 10.30 am - 3.30 pm

    BookFest

    Come along to the Almonry and meet a host of local writers, encompassing a wide range of writing styles and genres, including children’s stories.  Meet the authors, enjoy a chat, short talks on a range of topics throughout the day (still to be finalised).  Free event and free refreshments.  Perfect opportunity to snap up some of those last minute christmas presents!

    Free event.

    Venue:  Almonry Museum and Heritage Centre

     

  • Thursday 21st December

    'Dickens' Penny Readings'

    As part of the Almonry Christmas celebrations, we feature Cambridge-based Geoff Hales for a legendary performance of some of Charles Dickens’ Penny Readings.  (Further details of time and tickets to follow)