The Programme

Our Outline Programme updated 26.2.21 has been updated with some exciting new events added.  We will be adding further events in due course. Full details of all events on website. 

You might like to see what our 2020 Brochure was going to look like.  You can download the 2020 Festival Brochure.  If you want to know about previous years, you can download the 2019 brochure here as well as the 2018 brochure.

 – This colour indicates a child & family event! 

 –  This colour indicates an event outside the main Festival weekend! 

  – This colour indicates an event during the main Festival weekend!

  • EVESHAM FESTIVAL OF WORDS GIFT VOUCHER

    Looking for an exciting Christmas/birthday present for someone?  Then an Evesham Festival of Words Gift Voucher may be just what you are looking for!  Available in denominations of £10, the voucher will be emailed to you on payment and can be redeemed against any future Festival event.     

  • 2021

    Free events!

    NOTE: Note the following are currently operating as virtual events.  Contact organiser for details.

    Interesting in writing or meeting local writers?  Come along to our monthly ‘WRITERS MEETS’ on the first Wednesday of each month at 10.30 am at JellyPickleJam Cafe.  Everyone welcome! 

    New for 2020:  Writers Prompt Swap – Waitrose Cafe – last Tuesday of the month, 2.00 – 3.00 pm.  For more information, contact Sue Johnson on sue.r.johnson@outlook.com.

    We have now launched the Evesham Festival of Words BOOK CLUB, led by local author and creative writing tutor, Helen Yendall.  Contact Helen if you would like to know more: helenyendall@yahoo.co.uk.

    Meanwhile, our Festival ‘Book Fairy’ has been out and about, depositing books around the town.  The idea is that you find them, take one, read it, then leave it for someone else to pick up.   We have book fairy collections at lots of venues in and around Evesham.  Keep your eyes peeled!  The books are free – we just ask that you enjoy! 

  • Wed 14th April, 2.30 pm (Zoom)

    'Delving into the Past: Family History Unveiled' with Sue Ablett

    In a departure from her usual travel talks, Festival Chair, Sue Ablett, takes her audience on a journey unearthing the secrets of family history research.  In this new talk, ‘Delving into the Past’, Sue talks about how she got the family history bug; how she has found out some of the information; some of the gems she has unearthed; and how she put it all together in a book.  Join us on zoom for an interesting and very enjoyable talk.

    Venue: N/A Talk on Zoom.

    Tickets: N/A Free event but you will need to register by email (info@eveshamfestivalofwords.org) to receive dial in details.

  • Wednesday 12th May, 7.00 pm (Zoom)

    'Home and Away' - a poetry reading with Zoe Brooks, Ben Ray, Anna Saunders - and open mic

    In these times of pandemic we may be confined to our homes or perhaps even separated from them.  Three acclaimed writers read poems from their collections, inspired by the theme of ‘home’ and what it means to them.  The line up – Ben Ray – who hails from Ross on Wye but is working and living in Belgium; Zoe Brooks who was born and lives in Winchcombe but spent many years in the Czech Republic, and Anna Saunders who comes from Hoylake in Merseyside but not lives in Cheltenham.

    About the poets

    Zoe Brooks’ collection ‘Owl Unbound’ was published in October 2020 by Indigo Dreams.  She has had poems published in a variety of online and printed magazines, including Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Rialto and Pennine Platform.  Her work also featured in Michael Horovitz’s ‘Grandchildren of Albion’.  Her long poem for voices ‘Fools Paradise’ received the EPIC award for best poetry ebook 2013.

    Ben Ray is a poet, reviewer and a patron of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival and a winner of the 2019 New Poets Prize.  His most recent collection is ‘The Kindness of the Eel’ (The Poetry Business 2020).  His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications such as Poetry Wales and The Oxford Review of Books.

    Anna Saunders has been described as ‘a poet who surely can do anything’ by the North, ‘a modern myth maker’ by Paul Stephenson, and Tears in the Fence said of her ‘Anna Saunders’ poetry is reminiscent of Plath – with all its alpha achievement and radiance’.  She is the author of Communion (Wild Conversations Press), Struck (Pindrop Press), Kissing the She Bear (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams).  Anna’s new book is Feverfew (Indigo Dreams).  The collection has been described as ‘a beautiful and necessary collection’ by Penny Shuttle.

    Note: All Open Mic slots have now been taken.

    Venue: N/A Zoom event 

    Tickets: Free event but you will have to register via email (info@eveshamfestivalofwords.org) to receive log in details.

  • Wednesday 26th May, 11.00 am

    'In the Footsteps of Laurie Lee' with David Parker

    In 1994 TV Producer David Parker spent the summer recording interviews with much-loved author Laurie Lee, a man who generally did not ‘do’ television.   David shared those lost recordings at a fabulous Festival of Words event in 2018.  Here we have the chance to join David for a special guided tour of the village enshrined in much of Laurie Lee’s work. 

    Note that terrain is uneven and there are some gradients.  Please dress appropriately for the weather and wear suitable footwear.  Why not stay on and enjoy a nice pub lunch after the walk.

    Venue: Meet at the Woolpack, Slad. GL6 7QA.

    Tickets:  £12.  Lifts may be available on request.

  • 1st - 30th June.

    Photography Exhibition: 'Music in Monochrome'

    Back again for the fourth year running, Birlingham Photography Club will once again be putting on an exhibition of members’ photos.  Come along to the Circle Bar of Evesham’s iconic Regal Cinema to see how the photographers have reflected the theme of music in this year’s ‘Music in Monochrome’ Exhibition.  The photos will be on display for the whole of June.  Vote for your favourite – some great prizes to be won.  Pop in after seeing a film, or call in for a coffee and make sure you visit the exhibition.

    Venue: Circle Bar, Regal Cinema, Port Street, Evesham. WR11 3LD

    FREE EXHIBITION

  • Wednesday 9th June, 7.30 pm (Zoom)

    'Hidden Gems from Novel Research' with Ali Bacon and friends

    From landmine-sniffing rats to the mysterious ‘red gene’… Bristol novelists Ali Bacon, Jean Burnett, Kerry Postle and Heather Child share the three most amazing things they found out while researching their books.  Delve into the secrets of famous Italian artists, the birth of photography, the Spanish Civil War and some astonishing quantum physics.  You are sure to learn something new!  This event (run via Zoom) attracted high interest as part of last year’s Bristol Literature Festival.

    Ali Bacon was born in Scotland but moved to Bristol in the 1970s.  Her contemporary novel A Kettle of Fish was published in 2013.  In the Blink of an Eye, inspired by the work of a Scottish artist and photographer, is her first work of historical fiction, and was published in 2018.  Ali also writes short fiction and is a former winner of EFoW Short Story Competition.  (http://alibacon.com).

    Heather Child is a Bristol-based author whose most recent novel is The Undoing of Arlo Knott about a man who develops the mysterious ability to reverse his last action.  (www.heather-child.co.uk)

    Kerry Postle has written two works of historical fiction.  She is currently working on a third novel about the Renaissance artist Raphael to be called The Woman in the Painting.  

    Jean Burnett has worked as a journalist and an advertising copywriter.  She is the author of two novels, Who Needs Mr Darcy, and the sequel The Bad Miss Bennet Abroad.  She also writes under the pen name, Fran Kempton.  (www.jeanburnett.co.uk)

    Venue: N/A (Zoom event)

    Tickets: Free event, but you must register by email (info@eveshamfestivalofwords.org) to receive log in details.

  • Thursday 24th June, 7.30 pm (Zoom)

    'Outside the Box - Everyday Stories of Death, Bereavement and Life' with Liz Rothschild

    Back by popular demand!  In 2019 Liz Rothschild gave an unforgettable performance of her one woman show ‘Outside the Box’.  Her book, Outside the Box – Everyday Stories of Death, Bereavement and Life was published in November 2020.  In this online session Liz will be offering storytelling and conversation, drawing on the content of the book.  It is described as a book not just for the bereaved and dying but, as the title rightly says, for the living too.  This is certainly an event not to be missed!

    Venue: N/A (Zoom event)

    Tickets: Free event but you will need to register by email (info@eveshamfestivalofwords.org) to receive log in details.

  • 1st - 31st July.

    Calligraphy Exhibition: 'The Written Word'

    The art of beautiful writing …. or, in other words, Calligraphy.

    An exhibition by Severn Quills, a group of local calligraphers based in Upton-on-Severn.  The exhibition is themed around the spoken and written word, and the importance of libraries.   This follows on from the very popular Calligraphy Workshop at the 2019 Festival.

    Venue: Evesham Library, Oat Street. WR11 4PJ

    FREE EVENT

  • Friday 2nd July 2.30 pm

    'Libraries of the World - More than Just Books'

    Back once more by popular demand, Festival Chair Sue Ablett again combines her love of travel with a love of books in what is bound to be another fascinating talk. You can be assured of a fun session, and you’ll go away knowing more about libraries than when you started.  Think it’s a dry subject – not at all!  As an attendee at one of Sue’s previous travel talks with a literary twist said: “Its always fascinating to try and work out where Sue is going to take us in these talks.” Come along and enjoy the ride – you won’t be disappointed!

    Venue:  Hampton Community Hall, Pershore Road, Hampton, Evesham. WR11 2PQ

    Tickets: £6, including tea/coffee and home-made cake.

  • Sat 3 July, 11.00 am

    The Addiction No-one Helps: Memoirs of a Book Addict' by David Howe

    David Howe, a former teacher, school inspector, intermittent historian, is a very popular local speaker with an extensive and varied range of talks.  Over the years he has talked on more than 1,800 occasions to more than 800 plus groups.  Always a popular speaker, this will surely be a topic that so many of us can identify with.  Many of us must be able to claim to be ‘book addicts!

    Venue: Friends Meeting House, Cowl Street, Evesham.  WR11 4PN

    Tickets:  £6, inc tea/coffee/cake.


  • Saturday 3rd July, 1.30 pm

    Talk and Tour: 'Evesham Abbey Site - The Vision and the Reality' with Barrie Baldelli

    The project to open up the site of Evesham Abbey, which was the third largest Abbey in the country, prior to Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, is the dream-child of Abbey Trust Chairman, Barrie Baldelli.  In this talk and tour, hear about the vision for the site and how it became a reality – the challenges along the way, and what the ultimate aim for the site entails.  There will be an opportunity to walk around the site: suitable footwear recommended.

    Venue: Meet outside The Almonry, Abbey Gate, Evesham. WR11 4BQ

    FREE EVENT

  • Saturday 3rd July, 3.00 pm

    'The Housman Lecture: 'Bredon and Other Hills' with Peter Parker

    The Housman Lecture: Bredon and Other Hills.  For this, our second collaboration with the Housman Society, we welcome acclaimed author Peter Parker whose recent book Housman Country: Into the Heart of England shows how A.E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad has permeated English life and culture for over a century.

    Our local Bredon Hill is the focus for one of the best-loved of A.E. Housman’s verses from the famous 1896 collection, and its imagery of “the coloured counties” speaks of a deep feeling for English landscape.  In this wide-ranging talk, which takes in poetry, music and topography, Peter Parker explores the allure of the hills, not only for Housman but for other writers and composers.

    Peter Parker is the author of two books about the First World War, The Old Lie (1987) and The Last Veteran (2009), together with biographies of J.R Ackerley (1989) and Christopher Isherwood (2004). He edited  A Reader’s Guide to the Twentieth Century Novel (1995) and A Reader’s Guide to Twentieth Century Writers (1996) and has been both an associate and advisory editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He was brought up in Herefordshire but now lives in London.

    A.E. Housman was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, in 1859 and attended school there until going up to St John’s College, Oxford in 1877. Although best remembered for three volumes of poetry: A Shropshire Lad (1896),  Last Poems (1922) and More Poems (published after his death in 1936) he was arguably the most renowned  English Classical Scholar of the Twentieth Century, holding the Chair of Latin at University College London from 1892 to 1911 and then becoming Kennedy Professor of Latin at Cambridge where he lived as a Fellow of Trinity College until his death in 1936. Since its publication in 1896 A Shropshire Lad has never been out of print.

    The Housman Society was founded in 1973 to promote knowledge and appreciation of the lives and works of A.E. Housman, other members of his family and the causes of literature and poetry in general. Its annual programme includes an academic Journal, regular Newsletters, commemorative events in Bromsgrove and Ludlow, and collaborations with academic institutions. The Society is pleased to sponsor The Housman Lecture at the Evesham Festival of Words. 

    Venue: All Saints Church, Market Place, Evesham. WR11 4RW

    Tickets: £6 inc tea/coffee and home-made cake.  (No charge for Housman Society members but please reserve tickets)

  • Sunday 4th July, 1.00 - 2.30 pm

    'Poetry Picnic' with Suz Winspear

    Once again popular Worcester-based poet, Suz Winspear, will lead the Poetry Picnic.  Suz was Worcestershire Poet Laureate in 2016.  She is a wonderful performance poet, really making her poetry come to life, and equally great at encouraging others to perform their work.

    The Poetry Picnic is being held in the delightful setting of the Friends Meeting House.  With its hidden gem of a secluded garden, this is the perfect setting for a meeting of poetic minds.  There will be some invited poets but also opportunities for poets to bring their own poetry, or poems they love, but written by other poets.  Bring a sandwich.  Tea/coffee will be provided.

    Venue: Friends Meeting House, Cowl Street, Evesham. WR11 4PN.

    FREE EVENT.

  • Tues 6th July, 7.00 pm (Zoom)

    'Meandering the Orkneys' with Paul Gillingham

    Paul Gillingham taught history in the UK, Canada, Tanzania and Hong Kong before switching to broadcast journalism in the 1970s.  He returned to the UK as a TV news presenter and went on to write and present features for BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Classic FM.  The highlights of his career include a spell in the Swedish Merchant Navy, a month in a Rwandan refugee camp during the genocide, and interviewing, among many, the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Quentin Crisp and Little Richard.  He is also a great speaker and puts together some fascinating and very enjoyable talks.

    Meandering Round the Orkneys is based on a cycle tour, enabling Paul to dip into the histories of these islands and their quirkiness.  In this fascinating talk Paul shares the wonders of Orkney, apart from the stunning natural scenery – iron age sites which pre-date Stonehenge; the significance of Scapa Flow in both World Wars; the Italian Chapel, not to mention how one of the world’s richest women came to be linked to Orkney.

    Venue: N/A (Zoom event)

    Tickets: Free event but you will need to register by email (info@eveshamfestivalofwords.org) to receive log in details.

  • Saturday 17th July, 7.30 pm

    'Once Upon A Song', with EODS

    We are thrilled to include in our 2020 programme a return visit by members of EODS, who will be performing some of their favourite songs and readings.  Always a wonderful evening, showcasing a huge amount of musical talent.  See the Church transformed with stunning lighting effects.  This really is an evening not to be missed!

    Venue: Bengeworth Church, Port Street, Evesham. WR11 3LF

    Tickets: £10, inc wine and nibbles.

  • Wed 28 July, 7.00 pm

    'The Life of My Story' with David Parker

    TV Producer, David Parker, is a regular and very popular speaker at Evesham Festival events, with previous events focussing on Laurie Lee and Johnny Kingdom.  ‘The Life of My Story’ is a new talk for 2021.  David will use clips for some films he has made to weave together the craft of telling a story on television with his own story of his journey through programme making.   Bound to be another fascinating and entertaining evening – book early to avoid disappointment!

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club, Abbey Road, Evesham. WR11 4ST

    Tickets: £8.




  • Sat 7th August, 7.00 pm

    'A Dog's Tale' (A Mikron Theatre Production)

    Linda and her wayward rescue dog Gary are pursued by security through the halls and history of Crufts, accused of a terrible crime.  When Charles Cruft, the ‘Greatest Showman in Dogdom’, held his first show in 1891, he had a sense that dog ownership and breeding was about to become pretty big.  In this extraordinary world of heroic hounds, pampered pedigrees and naughty nobblers, does Gary have what it takes to win the day?  Help cheer the underdog as we celebrate canines past and present and explore the enduring love between people and their dogs.  One of two brand new shows for 2020.

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant, Hampton Ferry.  (Outdoor event, whatever the weather.  Further information about bookings to follow)

  • Fri 20 Aug, 2.30 pm

    'Absolutely Delicious: A Chronicle of Extraordinary Dying' with Alison Lester

    After a full life, the writer Valerie Lester retired to a residential hospice and set about enjoying the final act of her life.  She knew just where she wanted to be, with whom, doing what, and she communicated this to her family and friends with great clarity.  Absolutely Delicious: A Chronicle of Extraordinary Dying describes the months novelist Alison Lester spent with her mother, prior to her death from terminal cancer.  Alison tells how her mother chose to approach the end of her life with the same positive energy with which she had lived.  Woven into the narrative are poems both by Alison and her mother as they shared the impulse to grapple with life’s challenges through poetry.

    Venue: Hampton Community Hall, Pershore Road, Hampton, Evesham. WR11 2PQ.

    Tickets: £6, inc tea/coffee/cake.



  • Friday 17th Sept, 2.30 pm

    'The Railway Travellers Handy Book 1862' with Tony Conder

    Tony Conder is a very popular local speaker and a Festival favourite.  This talk, ‘The Railway Travellers Handy Book 1862’, is a railway talk based on the change in habits and manners that the railways brought about for Victorian society.  It illustrated what train travel was like for the Victorians, at its heart is the Handbook published to help Victorian men help their women folk understand the meaning of timetables and how to ensure your place in society was upheld even on a train.

    Venue: Hampton Community Hall, Pershore Road, Hampton, Evesham. WR11 2PQ

    Tickets: £6, incl tea/coffee and cake. 




  • 1st November

    Launch of 2021 Short Story Competition

    1st November sees the launch of the 2021 Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition.  More information to follow.

  • Sat 13th November, 10.30 am - 12.30.pm

    Workshop: 'Short Story Competitions - Catching the Judge's Eye' with Helen Yendall

    Entering writing competitions can be fun and inspiring but also a source of frustration.  If you’re not placed or shortlisted, how do you know how close you were, or whether your story had the ‘X-factor’?  As we launch our 2022 Short Story Competition, this practical workshop led by one of the Competition Readers, will provide an insight into what makes a good competition story (and what doesn’t!) and how to give yourself the best chance of doing well.  There will be exercises to help generate ideas and Helen will refer to some of the stories she has read as part of the 2021 and 2020 Competition (but without names or specifics!), and the lessons learned, as a writer, from judging them.  Whether you regularly enter competitions, or are taking the plunge for the first time, you’ll feel better equipped – and inspired – to start sending your stories out into the big wide world.blogger, who has won or been placed in several writing competitions.  She is a member of the Festival Steering Group and leads our Book Club.

    Venue: 117 High Street, Evesham. WR11 4EQ

    Tickets: £15 inc tea/coffee and cake.

  • 1st December

    'Christmas Literary Quiz Sheet'

    Try your hand at some easy and fiendishly difficult literary questions.  Just the thing to while away a bit of time over the festive season.   Prize for the winner.