The Programme

The main 2018 Festival weekend runs from Friday 29th June – Sunday 1st July, but with a year long programme of ‘fringe’ events. Scroll down for a glimpse of some of the great events to come next year.  Details of all 2018 events and how to obtain tickets will be on the website very soon.

 – This colour indicates a child & family event! 


 –  This colour indicates a fringe event! 


  – This colour indicates a regular event!

  • 2018

    Free events in 2018!

    We have a range of free events taking place each month, and everyone is welcome.  These include ‘Writers Meets’, first Wednesday of each month, at 10.30 am, at Jellypicklejam Cafe; ‘Writing Prompts’, second Monday of each month, at 2.00 pm at various cafes, and ‘Meet the Authors’ at 11.00 am on the second Friday of each month, upstairs in Evesham Library.

    Meanwhile, look out for signs that our Festival ‘Book Fairy’ has been out and about, depositing piles of free books in selected venues around the town.  The idea is that you find them, take one, read it, then leave it for someone else to pick up.  Let us know where you found it, and ideally send us a photo.  To start you off, the Book Fairy has already made a couple of drops – Jellypicklejam and The Evesham Hotel!

  • Closing date 1st May

    'Six Word Story Competition'

    The big Cotswold & Vale Magazine challenge for the 2018 Festival is Six Word Stories.  We are asking you to produce just six words to tell as impactful a story as: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”  Your masterpiece doesn’t have to be as poignant as this one attributed to Ernest Hemmingway.  Make us laugh, cry or simply marvel at your word mastery.

    All you have to do is send your entry, marked Six Word Story, to Cotswold & Vale Magazine: email [email protected]  Please include full name, address and daytime telephone number.  If you are aged 16 or under, you also need to include your age and your guardian’s permission to enter.  By entering you agree to the potential publication of your story.  Closing date: 1st May. 

  • Year long event

    'Spread the Word!'

    Help us ‘Spread the Word’ about Evesham Festival of Words.  Whenever you are out and about, or enjoying some exotic holiday somewhere exciting, make sure you have your Festival book bag, bookmark, or Anthology of Short Stories.  Take some photos – they can be quirky, arty, funny, or just show how far word has travelled.  Send them in (email: [email protected]) and we will add them to the website and print off some for a display at the Festival.

  • Thursday 11th January 2018, 12 noon

    'Evesham Abbey - its appearance, disappearance and legacy' with Tim Porter

    Popular local speaker Tim Porter got our 2018 programme off to a great start with what was a fascinating talk, entitled ‘Evesham Abbey, its appearance, disappearance and legacy.’  A joint event with Holland House.  “Fascinating talk – an engaging speaker, and learnt a lot.”

  • Tuesday 30th January 2018, 2 - 4pm

    'Presenting your work - tips for the terrified!' with Sue Ablett and Sue Johnson

    For folk who were keen on writing, but terrified of presenting or talking about it, Sue Ablett and Sue Johnson shared some of the tricks of the trade to help overcome those nerves.   “Thoroughly enjoyed this Workshop and got an awful lot out of it.  Can thoroughly recommend.” (Sara Downing)

  • Monday 19th March 2018, 2 - 4pm

    'Stories in a Flash' with Sue Johnson and Roz Levens

    ‘Stories in a Flash: how to create micro stories for maximum effect!  Award winning writers Roz Levens and Sue Johnson show you how to create publishable flash fiction that can act as springboards to longer pieces of work.  Writers who complete stories inspired by this workshop will be invited to read them at the ‘Flash Fiction & Afternoon Tea’ event in the Almonry Garden on Sunday 1st July.

    Tickets: £15, to include tea/coffee and home-made cake

    Venue: Almonry Museum & Tourist Information Centre, Evesham

  • Tuesday 27th March 2018, 12 noon

    'The House of Beaufort and the Battle of Tewkesbury' with Nathen Amin

    In our second joint venture of the year with Holland House, join us for Evesham Festival of Words speaker Nathen Amin, talking about ‘The House of Beaufort and the Battle of Tewkesbury’, a talk which explores who the Beauforts were, and how the family was destroyed at the Battle of Tewkesbury, bringing to a bloody end the family’s 100-year existence.  Nathen is founder of the Henry Tudor Society.

    Tickets: £15, to include two course lunch, available from Holland House (tel: 01386 860330,

    Venue: Holland House, Cropthorne

  • Tuesday 24th April, 7.30 pm

    'Where is Mrs Christie?'

    Agatha Christie was one of the greatest and most prolific thriller writers of all time.  In 1926 she was at the centre of a mystery as perplexing as any of her fiction; a series of events that sparked one of the biggest and most extensive manhunts in history.  Her crashed car was discovered in Surrey and the famous author was missing, presumed dead by many, for eleven days.  When she was later found at a luxury hotel in Harrogate, the author claimed to be suffering from amnesia and remembered nothing.  Neither the press nor the police believed her …..  Liz Grand plays Agatha in this wonderful one-woman show, presented by Worcester Repertory Company.

    Event kindly sponsored by Richmond Villages Wood Norton.

    Tickets: £10, inc glass of wine and nibbles

    Venue: Evesham Town Hall

  • Thursday 3rd May, 7.00 pm

    'I am John Clare'

    After years of being addicted to poetical prosing, John Clare, known as the peasant poet, found himself committed to Northampton General Lunatic Asylum in the closing weeks of 1841.  We join him there on the night of 8th March 1860.  Subtitled ‘One night with a poet in a madhouse’, the Almonry provides the perfect setting for this one-man play, written by award-winning writer, Stephen Loveless, and performed by actor, fiddle-player and singer, Robin Hillman.  The play will be followed by a Q & A session.  (A joint event with Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe).

    Tickets: £6, inc glass of wine & nibbles

    Venue: Almonry Museum & Tourist Information Centre

  • Tuesday 15th May, 2.00 - 4.00 pm

    'Great Big Poetry Read'

    Calling all poetry lovers – this is the perfect afternoon for you!  Come along and enjoy an afternoon of readings from local poets and poetry groups.  Meet some fellow poets, and maybe get inspired to start writing your own poetry.

    Free event

    Venue: Wallace House Community Centre

  • Thursday 24th May, 6.00 for 6.30 pm

    'Up with the Lark'

    With a new venue and event for 2018, we are delighted to be offering a 2-course asparagus supper in the lovely setting of Ellenden Farm Shop/Cafe, Harvington.  (Supper served at 6.30pm prompt, and pre-booking essential).  Supper will be followed by Evesham’s very own ‘Countryfile Farming Hero, 2015’, Joan Bomford, talking about her book ‘Up with the Lark: My Life on the Land.’  A perfect way to spend a summer’s evening!

    Tickets: £15 (pre-booking essential)

    Venue: Ellenden Farm Shop/Cafe, Harvington

  • Thursday 14th June, 7.30 pm

    'Laurie Lee - The Lost Recordings'

    David Parker has been a film producer for many years, making films for BBC, ITV and Channel 4.  In 1994 he made a TV programme with Laurie Lee to mark his 80th birthday – quite a coup as Laurie did not ‘do’ television!  While making the programme David interviewed Laurie about his life in the Slad Valley, and the influence of the landscapes and memories of his childhood on his subsequent writing.  In this session David will introduce the recordings, talk about how the film was made, and then show the 30 minute film.  Questions and answers will follow.

    Tickets: £5

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club

  • Early June - Mid July

    'Books Inspiring Photos'

    Come along and enjoy a wonderful month-long exhibition of original photography by members of Birlingham Photography Club, who were challenged with matching an image to a book title of their choice.  The big question is … which came first, the book or the photograph?  All photographs will be for sale.  Established in 2016, and chaired by Festival photographer, Angela Fitch, Birlingham Photography Club now has more than 60 members, and is supporting the Festival for the second year running.

    Free event.

    Venue: Evesham Library

  • Friday 15th June, 7.00 pm

    'Festival Bookshop Launch'

    Enjoy a lovely evening in this fabulous setting.  Over a glass of wine listen to readings from writers contributing to our 2018 Festival, chat to the writers, buy some books.  Copies of books of participating authors will be on sale in the Almonry Festival Bookshop for a month until 15th July.  Do come in and browse!

    Free event

    Venue: Almonry Museum & Tourist Information Centre

  • Wednesday 27th June, 7.30 pm

    'Bookworms Quiz Night'

    Calling all bookworms!  Popular quizmasters, Helen Yendall and Chris Cherry, are back once again with more questions to tax your brain, or allow you to shine.  Test your knowledge of novels, nursery rhymes, poetry, plays and all things ‘wordy’.  A really fun evening and a great start to the Festival weekend.  Supper included: pre-booking essential.

    Tickets: £5 per person (teams of 4) (pre-booking essential)

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant

  • Thursday 28th June, 7.00 pm

    'Romeo and Juliet'

    The HandleBards are the world’s first cycling theatre company.  Before touring their “seriously silly” production of Romeo and Juliet around the world, they pedalled it 1500 miles around the UK by bicycle, with all the necessary set, props and costumes in tow.  Now, the show is back by popular demand – and, in usual HandleBards style, expect riotous amounts of energy, a fair old whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter.

    Join the HandleBards’ all-female troupe in the beautiful setting of The Fleece, Bretforton, for Romeo and Juliet as you’ve never seen it before!  (We’ll be in the garden weather permitting.)  And what’s the play about?  Well – Rome and Juliet fall in love, despite the fact that both their families hate each other.  Hilarity ensues ….. Well, sort of. “Gloriously eccentric and very, very funny.”  (The Stage)

    Tickets: £15 (under 18s £10) from

    Venue: The Fleece Inn, Bretforton

  • Friday 29th June, 10.45 am

    'A Traveller's Tales'

    Opening the main Festival weekend, by popular request, Festival Chair, Sue Ablett, is back for the third (and final!) time, to delight her audience with another ‘travel talk with a literary twist’, including tales of fabulous places, fascinating characters, story-telling, linguistic oddities from around the world, and so much more, not to mention the home-made cake!  Bound to be a fun session and a sell out.  Book early to avoid disappointment!

    Tickets: £5 inc tea & home-made cake

    Venue: Wallace House Community Centre

  • Friday 29th June, 11.00 am - 12.30 pm

    'How to market your self-published book'

    With popular local author, Debbie Young.  So you’ve written and published a book – congratulations!  But how do you get it in front of readers without the support of a traditional publishing company’s publicity resources?  Drawing on her experience as Commissioning Editor of the Alliance of Independent Authors Advice Centre, and her own success as an indie author of fiction and non-fiction, Debbie will advise you how to set up and run an effective marketing campaign for next to no financial investment – and how to spend whatever budget you have wisely.  She’ll differentiate between the must-haves and would-likes, and help you balance your time between writing and marketing.  This talk will be suitable for both beginners wondering where to start and experienced indie authors wishing to expand their reach.

    Tickets: £15 inc tea/coffee

    Venue: Evesham Hotel

  • Friday 29th June, 2.00 - 3.00 pm

    'Juggling - writing, medicine and motherhood'

    For 20 years Rachel Crowther worked as a doctor in the NHS before succumbing to a lifelong yearning to write fiction, previously only indulged during successive bouts of maternity leave (she has 5 children).  She has an MA in Creative Writing, a string of prizes for her short fiction, and has recently published her third novel.  Her second novel, ‘The Things You Do for Love’, received rave reviews, with Fay Weldon saying “A wonderful page-turner of a novel about the complexity of female life, by a new writer who understands it all too well.” Rachel covers lots of topical issues in her books.  Join her as she explores some of them!

  • Friday 29th June, 3.30 - 4.30 pm

    'Keeping the Reader Guessing'

    Two for the price of one, with writers Kate Riordan (left) and Amanda Reynolds (right).  Kate is a writer and journalist.  After working on the staff of The Guardian and Time Out London, she left the capital and moved to the Cotswolds in order to concentrate on writing novels.  She is published in the UK by Penguin.  Her third book, The Stranger, follows on from The Girl in the Photograph and The Shadow Hour.  Amanda Reynolds is a writer and creative writing tutor.  A familiar face at Festival events, she is now on a sabbatical from teaching to write full-time.  She is published in the UK by Headline (Wildfire).  Her debut psychological suspense, Close to Me, was published in 2017, and her second book, Lying to You, is published in 2018.

    Tickets: £5

    Venue: Evesham Hotel

  • Friday 29th June, 7.00 pm

    'High jinks and high seas'

    ‘High jinks and high seas’ will take the audience on an extraordinary journey.  Amelia Dalton’s best-selling book, ‘Mistress and Commander’, described as “a page-turner with attitude”, is a tale of high jinks, high seas and Highlanders – the author’s biographical adventures and a personal story which led her to buy and renovate a neglected arctic fishing trawler, creating a chic expedition ship.  It is packed full of funny incidents, fascinating characters, and a story of personal discovery from family tragedy to learning to run the ship’s engines.  Imagine Freya Stark, or some other dauntless female, taking on the alpha-male communities of maritime Scotland, and you’ll have the measure of Amelia Dalton.  A heart-warming and inspiring story from a real live wire and a great speaker.

    Amelia’s talk will be followed by the presentation of prizes to the winners of our 2018 Festival of Words Short Story Competition.

    Tickets: £7.50 inc glass of wine & nibbles

    Venue: Evesham Town Hall

  • Saturday 30th June, 11.00 am and 2.00 pm

    'Punch and Judy'

    As part of a full day of activities for children and their families, the British seaside comes to Evesham Market Place!  Childhood memories of sitting on a beach at the seaside, usually freezing cold, watching Punch and Judy?  Well, this summer you only need to as far as the Market Place, as Mel Harvey does two performances of his traditional Punch and Judy show.

    Not familiar with Punch and Judy?  It is a puppet show, featuring Mr Punch and his long-suffering wife, Judy.  A truly unique event – quite hard to put into words – you really need to come along and see for yourself.  You’ll have the chance to join in the fun.  Perfect for all members of the family, young and old!  Kindly sponsored by Rooftop Housing Group.

    Free event

    Venue: Market Place

  • Saturday 30th June, 12.30 - 1.30 pm, and 2.30 - 3.20 pm

    'Story Chefs Children's Workshops'

    We have two fabulous creative workshops for children, as part of our full day of free family fun:

    Session 1 (for 3 – 7 year olds), 12.30 – 1.30 pm

    Come along to an interactive session where Staffordshire writer, Lindsey Bailey, will be reading an excerpt from her debut children’s book, ‘The Cape of Courage’, inviting the young (and young at heart) to join in with some role play and a creative writing activity.  There will also be an opportunity to buy signed copies of the book.

    Venue: Evesham Library

    Session 2 (for 7 – 11 year olds), 2.30 – 3.20 pm

    This interactive session for 7 – 11 year olds encourages young writers to release their creativity and let their imagination run wild!  Head Chef, Lindsey Bailey, brings the ‘Fiction Kitchen’ to Evesham this June, providing all the ingredients needed to cook up a tasty tale or two.

    Venue: Evesham Library

    Both Story Chef sessions are free but you are advised to reserve a place by contacting: [email protected], or telephone Festival Chair on 0787 1285606, or The Almonry (tel: 01386 446944)

    All Saturday children’s events are kindly sponsored by Rooftop Housing Group.

  • Saturday 30th June, 10.30 - 11.30 am

    'From newsdesk to novelist'

    Jackie Kabler spent more than 9 years with GMTV as a news correspondent and presenter, during which she covered some of the biggest stories of the decade, including President Clinton’s impeachment trial, the Kosovo crisis, and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.  Other TV and broadcasting work followed.  In 2014 she fulfilled a long-held dream and signed a three-book deal with Accent Press.  Her debut novel, ‘The Dead Dog Day’, was released in October 2015.  A humorous murder mystery set in a television newsroom, it became an Amazon top 25 bestseller.  ‘The Deadline’ followed and book number three, ‘The Development’, is published May 2018.

    Tickets: £5, inc tea and home-made cake

    Venue: Friends Meeting House

  • Saturday 30th June, 12.00 - 1.00 pm

    'A day in the life.....'

    An eloquent and brilliantly funny speaker, Ayisha Malik is a British Muslim born and raised in London.  She holds a BA in English Literature and Sociology, and a First Class MA in Creative Writing.  She has spent various spells teaching, photocopying, volunteering, being a publicist and an editor.  Her debut novel, ‘Sofia Khan is Not Obliged’, was followed by the sequel ‘The Other Half of Happiness’, which were both met with critical acclaim, and she was a WH Smith Fresh Talent Pick in 2016.  Ayisha is now a full-time writer and is working on her third novel, as well as being the ghost writer for Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain.  Highly talented, Ayisha’s books are crammed with humour.

    Tickets: £5, inc tea and home-made cake

    Venue: Friends Meeting House

  • Saturday 30th June, 1.30 - 3.00 pm

    'Open Mic'

    Come along to read/perform your poetry or prose in this Open Mic session, once again compered by former Worcestershire Poet Laureate, and colourful character, Fergus McGonigal, and also with our very own Sue Johnson in attendance.  Always an enjoyable event!

    Free event

    Venue: Red Lion Pub, Market Place

  • Saturday 30th June, 3.15 - 4.45 pm

    'Down the Old Asum Road'

    The popular Dallimore brothers (Will and John) return for a bit more chat in our very own Asum dialect – see if you can make out a word of what they are saying!  They are joined this year by lovers of all things Evesham, local singer/songwriter, Colin Pitts, and poets Bob Woodroofe and Sue Johnson, who will be performing songs and poems from their new CD, entitled ‘A Town Like Evesham’.  Enjoy a pint, and sit back and enjoy the fun!

    Free event

    Venue: Red Lion Pub, Market Place

  • Saturday 30th June, 7.30 pm

    'More than Words'

    EODS are back after their amazing Festival debut in 2016!  This award-winning group is again presenting an evening of songs and readings.  Musical numbers that have been influenced by famous novelists, writers and poets are included, plus some extracts from well-known books.  Their talent is amazing, the setting superb, and you are sure to be in for an unforgettable evening.  In fact, we guarantee you will be singing all the way home!

    Tickets: £10, inc glass of wine and nibbles

    Venue: Bengeworth Church

  • Sunday 1st July, times to be advised

    'Crafty Workshops'

    More details to follow on the full free day of activities for children and their families, taking place at Crafter’s Companion, The Valley.

    All Sunday children’s events are kindly sponsored by Crafter’s Companion.

  • Sunday 1st July, 10.30 am - 12.00 noon

    'Poetry Walk'

    Popular local poet, Polly Stretton, returns once again to lead the Poetry Walk through Evesham’s most scenic sites around Abbey Park.  With poems performed along the way, the Walk culminates in the beautiful garden of the Almonry.  Sunshine definitely on our wish list!  Why not stay on for the next events in the lovely setting of the Almonry garden?

    Free event

    Meet at Almonry

  • Sunday 1st July, 1.15 - 1.45 pm

    'Bridging the Gap'

    ‘Bridging the Gap’ is an intergenerational project between St Mary’s Primary School and care home residents from Rooftop Housing in Broadway.  The aim of the project is for the young people to gather information about WW1 and other wars from the older people and research how Broadway was connected to the wars.  This will be done with the help of Rhubarb Rhubarb Creatives.  Singer/songwriter Deborah Rose will then be working with the young people to write and produce their own songs based on the research.  Here today you will hear the new songs created and performed in the delightful Almonry gardens.  Deborah will also sing some of her own songs.  A perfect prelude to Flash Fiction & Afternoon Tea, which follows.

    Free event

    Venue: Almonry gardens

  • Sunday 1st July, 2.00 - 4.00 pm

    'Flash Fiction & Afternoon Tea'

    If afternoon tea, with scones, home-made cake, and the beautiful setting of the Almonry Garden appeals, then this is the event for you, and there is more on offer.  ‘Flash Fiction & Afternoon Tea’ will include not just a nice tea, but readings of flash fiction by Sue Johnson, Roz Levens, and writers who took part in our 19th March Flash Fiction Workshop.  Come along and enjoy the stories, and maybe find some inspiration of your own.  Fingers crossed for a sunny afternoon!

    Tickets: £6 (pre-booking essential)

    Venue: Almonry Garden

  • Sunday 1st July, 7.00 pm

    'Old Herbaceous'

    Giles Shenton is superb as the lovable title character, Herbert Pinnegar, in this one-man play, ‘Old Herbaceous’.  Herbert has spent his life as a gardener at ‘the big house’.  The set is a very realistic greenhouse, in which Herbert potters and chats about his first day at work, his rise up the ranks to head gardener, to officiating for the RHS.  All of this takes place under the tender but ever class-conscious protection and encouragement of his beloved employer, Mrs Charteris.  Dubbed ‘Downton Abbey with gardening tips’, and touching on a portrayal of relationships between the classes in a gentler, simpler age, this is a wonderful production: funny, emotional, touching, an hour and a half of sheer delight, which will keep the audience engrossed from the opening sentence.

    Tickets: £10, inc glass of wine & nibbles

    Venue: Evesham Town Hall

    This event is kindly sponsored by The Wealth Group, Evesham

  • Sunday 8th July, 2.00 - 3.30 pm

    'Writing Serials for Women's Magazines'

    With Festival favourite, Helen Yendall.  Some of our best-known writers (e.g. Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) wrote serials for popular magazines, so if that’s your aim, you’ll be following a great tradition.  In this workshop we’ll look at the building blocks of serial writing, including plot, point of view, character, pace, suspense and those all-important cliff-hangers.  We’ll also discuss the requirements for individual magazines.  This workshop is particularly aimed at those who’ve already done some writing (e.g. short stories) and who would like the challenge of writing something longer.  Helen Yendall has had over 100 stories published in magazines and her first serial won the People’s Friend magazine competition.

    Tickets: £15, inc tea and home-made cake

    Venue: Friends Meeting House

  • Tuesday 28th August, 7.30 pm

    'Fifty Not Out: The Six Sixes Revisited'

    To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Garry Sobers hitting an historic 36 runs off one over at Swansea in August 1968, Grahame Lloyd recalls both the famous feat and the mysterious fate of the ball bowled by Malcolm Nash.  An iconic moment, a disturbing tale of fake news and a whodunit? – with a ball instead of a body!  This event will appeal to cricket lovers and anyone who likes a good old mystery story.

    Grahame Lloyd has been a freelance broadcaster and journalist for nearly 37 years.  He has written eight books and produced two one-man shows about football and cricket.  He also writes short stories and is a published poet.

    Tickets: £5

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club

    This event kindly sponsored by Evesham Cricket Club.

  • Friday 21st September, 7.00 pm

    'One Man in a Boat'

    Once again we return to Raphael’s Restaurant for a fabulous Festival event.  Geoff Hales follows his acclaimed Festival debut (readings at the 2017 Almonry Christmas event) with a Travelling Theatre performance.  ‘One Man in a Boat’ is about Jerome K. Jerome, the author of ‘Three Men in a Boat’.  The play begins in France in 1915, where Jerome was serving as an ambulance driver in the French army.  He looks back on his life, recalling a particularly Victorian childhood, his brief acting career and the writing of his comic masterpiece, from which he reads some of the most famous episodes.  Supper included (pre-booking essential).

    Tickets: £15, inc supper (pre-booking essential)

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant

  • Sunday 21st October, 2.30 - 4.00 pm

    'From the Inside: Short Fiction Competitions - Tips and Tactics'

    Vanessa Gebbie’s short fictions have won or been placed in the top three in many short story competitions, large and small, including the Bridport Prize, the Fish Prize (twice), Per Contra (USA) and Willesden Herald.  She now acts as final judge for many competitions herself.  In this packed event, she will share her inside knowledge, and help you answer questions, such as: How do I know which competitions are best?  How do I sharpen my story?  Why should I pay to enter competitions?  Do the rules really matter?  And many, many more.  Bring your own questions too – there will be discussion and Q & A to maximise your chances of rising to the top!

    Tickets: £10, inc tea and biscuits

    Venue: Almonry Museum

  • 1st December

    'Christmas Wordy Quiz Sheet'

    Our 2018 Christmas Wordy Quiz Sheet will be available from 1st December, with a closing date of Saturday 5th January 2019.  Just 20 questions to tax your brains over the festive period.  £10 book token to the winner.  (Copies of the Quiz will be emailed out to all on Festival distribution list, otherwise available to download from the Festival website, or pick up at the Almonry).