Completed events 2018

Here are some events you may have missed in 2018.

 – This colour indicates a child & family event! 


 –  This colour indicates a fringe event! 


  – This colour indicates a regular event!

  • Closing date 1st May

    'Six Word Story Competition'

    The big Cotswold & Vale Magazine challenge for the 2018 Festival is Six Word Stories.  We asked you to produce just six words to tell as impactful a story as: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”  Your masterpiece didn’t have to be as poignant as this one attributed to Ernest Hemingway.  The Competition is now closed to entries and judging is now completed.  The six gold star winners, and other finalists will be on display shortly in Evesham Library, and the six gold star winners are being treated to reverse graffiti treatment in Evesham – see below for just some examples!

  • Thursday 11th January

    '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

    '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

    '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 provided advice on 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.

  • Tuesday 27th March

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

    Nathen Amin gave a packed crowd a fascinating talk about ‘The House of Beaufort and the Battle of Tewkesbury‘, a talk which explored 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.  

  • Tuesday 24th April

    'Where is Mrs Christie?'

    What an amazing evening – Liz Grand as Agatha Christie is outstanding!   In 1926 Agatha Christie 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 as Mrs Christie was a real tour de force.  A brilliant evening!”

    Event kindly sponsored by Richmond Villages Wood Norton.

  • Thursday 3rd May

    'I am John Clare'

    A fantastic performance by Robin Hillman of the peasant poet, 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 joined him there on the night of 8th March 1860.  A really thought-provoking event, much enjoyed by all – the Almonry was the perfect venue.  “A brilliant evening.  Look forward to Robin returning next year with one of his other plays.” (Sue Johnson)  “What an amazing event and performance – well done for finding such an incredible performer.”

  • Tuesday 15th May

    'Great Big Poetry Read'

    Calling all poetry lovers!  Who knows what the collective noun for a collection of poets is – best guess so far, a posse!   Wallace House played host to the Great Big Poetry Read, when about 25 poets, with a wide collection of themes, and writing styles, all came together to perform their work.  Local singer’songwriter, Colin Pitts, also performed.  A delightful afternoon!

  • Thursday 24th May

    'Up with the Lark'

    With a new venue and event for 2018, we enjoyed a wonderful 2-course asparagus supper in the lovely setting of Ellenden Farm Shop/Cafe, Harvington.  Supper was 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.’  Well into her 80s, Joan is still running her farm single handed – a fantastic advert for a healthy outdoor life!  And she shows no signs of stopping!  (“A wonderful evening – Ellenden was the perfect venue, Joan was fabulous, and there was a lovely intimacy to the evening.  And a great supper too!  Look forward to another Festival event here!”)

  • Thursday 14th June

    '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!  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.  David introduced the recordings, talked about how the film was made, and then showed the 30 minute film.

    “We are new to Evesham.  This is our third festival event – all have been brilliant, so different and in every case the venue has been just right.  Looking forward to our next event.”

    A fabulously engaging speaker and what a coup getting to make that film – stunning imagery, and lovely to hear Laurie speak.”

  • Friday 15th June

    Festival Bookshop Launch

    Over a glass of wine a good sized audience enjoyed the lovely atmosphere of the Almonry as they listened to readings from a range of local writers.  Writers reading on the night were:  Kevin Brooke, Tracey Bryant, Lynn Forth, Sue Johnson, David Simson, Bob Woodroofe, Debbie Young.  Local singer/songwriter, Colin Pitts, performed songs from the new CD, ‘A Town Like Evesham’ (by Colin Pitts, Sue Johnson and Bob Woodroofe).  The Bookshop runs for a month and is also stocking books by: Ali Bacon, Heather King, Marissa Knight, Matthew Coles, Jo Rowe, Polly Stretton, and Margaret Taylor.

    “What a lovely evening – a really good mix of pieces and personalities and well curated.” (Debbie Young)

    “A lovely, friendly evening – loved the mix of readings and songs.”

  • 23rd - 24th June 2018

    Bengeworth Church Florafest

    For two days, from 10.00 am – 4pm, St Peter’s Church, Bengeworth, was transformed as it played host to a FloraFest.  A range of local organisations mounted stunning floral displays, and ours was as good as any.  Thanks to Steering Group member, Ann Kingscott.  It used corporate festival colours in the flowers, and there was even a book lurking in the display!

  • Tuesday 26th June

    'Bridging the Gap'

    Bridging the Gap was an intergenerational project between St Mary’s Primary School and care home residents from Rooftop Housing in Broadway.  With the help of Rhubarb Rhubarb Creatives, the young people gathered information about WW1 and its link to Broadway.  Singer/songwriter, Deborah Rose, and musician Martin Riley, then worked with the young people to create their own songs based on the research.  The lovely setting of the Broadway Museum and Art Gallery was the ideal location to hear the songs performed.  WW2 veteran, Jeoff Brerton recited The Pilot’s Poem.

    “A lovely evening, the children were marvellous, Deborah has a beautiful voice, a really delightful concert.” (Joan Davies)

  • Wednesday 27th June

    'Bookworms Quiz Night'

    Popular quizmasters, Helen Yendall and Chris Cherry, returned once again with more questions to tax the brains.  Knowledge of novels, nursery rhymes, poetry, plays and all things ‘wordy’ were all tested.  A really fun evening, Raphaels is the perfect venue, and a great start to the Festival weekend. 

    “A really good mix of questions.  Its always frightening how much you don’t know, but great fun as always, and we came fifth!” (Chris O’Connor)

  • Thursday 28th June

    'Romeo and Juliet' with the Handlebards

    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 1,500 miles around the UK by bicycle, with all the necessary set, props and costumes in tow.  In the beautiful setting of The Fleece, Bretforton, this was Romeo and Juliet as you’ve never seen it before!  

    “A very clever slant on Romeo and Juliet.  The Handlebards coped wonderfully with bell ringing practice at the next door church.  And very well done to Marcus Mumford who almost became one of the cast!” (Sue Ablett)

  • Friday 29th June

    'A Traveller's Tales'

    Opening the main Festival weekend, by popular request, Festival Chair, Sue Ablett, was 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!  

    “Another brilliant talk – just love the digressions!”  “So sorry Sue won’t be back with another talk next year.”

  • Friday 29th June

    '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 gave advice on 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 differentiated between the must-haves and would-likes, and gave help in balancing time between writing and marketing.  

    “A brilliant workshop – so many useful tips and ideas.”

  • Friday 29th June

    'Book Launch'

    Local historian, and Steering Group member, Stan Brotherton, launched his new book, Evesham’s Military Heritage‘, as part of the Festival.  The town of Evesham, famous for gardening and its long-lost abbey, has a fascinating military history, starting with the Battle of Evesham in 1265 right up to the present day.  A fascinating read.

  • Friday 29th June

    '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.” 

    “Really enjoyed Rachel’s books.  Lovely to meet her.”

  • Friday 29th June

    'Keeping the reader guessing'

    Two for the price of one, with writers Amanda Reynolds and Kate Riordan.  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.

    “Really enjoyed this session – the double act worked really well.” (Nicola Kendall)

  • Friday 29th June

    'High Jinks and High Seas' with Amelia Dalton

    ‘High jinks and high seas’ took 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.

    “A brilliant evening.  Amelia is so interesting, with so many stories to tell.” (Janet Reeves)

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

  • Saturday 30th June

    '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, was published in May 2018.

    “Loved this session – such a good interview, and so interesting.  Look forward to reading her books.”

  • Saturday 30th June

    '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.

    “Ayisha’s books are great – an asian take on Bridget Jones.  She was a great speaker.”

  • Saturday 30th June

    'Punch and Judy'

    As part of a full day of activities for children and their families, Mr Punch came to Evesham’s Riverside Centre!  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, but don’t forget the crocodile and the sausages.  Kindly sponsored by Rooftop Housing Group.

    “Mr Punch drew a really good crowd of young and old.  Wonderful to watch the enjoyment on the children’s faces.” (Sue Ablett)

  • Saturday 30th June

    'Children's Workshops' with Story Chefs

    Session 1 (for 3 – 7 year olds):  In this interactive session Staffordshire writer, Lindsey Bailey, read 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. 

    Session 2 (for 7 – 11 year olds):  This interactive session encouraged young writers to release their creativity and let their imagination run wild!  Head Chef, Lindsey Bailey, brought the ‘Fiction Kitchen’ to Evesham, providing all the ingredients needed to cook up a tasty tale or two.

    Kindly sponsored by Rooftop Housing Group.

  • Saturday 30th June

    'Open Mic'

    Always a great chance for folk to 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!

  • Saturday 30th June

    '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 performed songs and poems from their new CD, entitled A Town Like Evesham.  

  • Saturday 30th June

    'More than Words'

    EODS  returned with more ‘More than Words’ after their amazing Festival debut in 2016!  This award-winning group once again presented an evening of songs and readings.  Musical numbers that have been influenced by famous novelists, writers and poets were included, plus some extracts from well-known books.  Their talent is amazing, the setting superb, and everyone present was treated to a truly unforgettable evening.

    “A beautiful church, with stunning sound and  lighting effects, and some wonderful music.  An unforgettable night.” 

  • Sunday 1st July

    'Poetry Walk'

    Popular local poet, Polly Stretton, was back once again to lead the Poetry Walk through Evesham’s most scenic sites around Abbey Park.  With poems performed along the way, the Walk culminated in the beautiful garden of the Almonry.  Our wish for sunshine certainly came off! 

  • Sunday 1st July

    'Crafty Workshops and Face Painting'

    Four identical hour-long crafty workshops (starting at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm), gave children the chance to design their own notebook/journal to take home to write their thoughts or feelings, or writer poems and stories.  All materials supplied.  Just imagination required! Free face painting from 11am – 4pm.  A great day out for all the family!

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

  • Sunday 1st July

    'Flash Fiction and Afternoon Tea'

    If afternoon tea, with scones, home-made cake, and the beautiful setting of the Almonry Garden appeals, then this was the event for you, and there was more on offer.  ‘Flash Fiction & Afternoon Tea‘ included 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.  Glorious weather, a nice tea, and some great stories, made this a wonderful afternoon.

    “What a lovely way to spend the afternoon.  Loved the stories.” (Janet Reeves)

  • Sunday 1st July

    'Old Herbaceous'

    Giles Shenton was 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 kept the audience engrossed from the opening sentence.

    “Wonderful.  Old Herbaceous will stay with me as a memory for ever.” (Mary Brotherton)

    “What a performance.” (Anne Albright)

  • Sunday 8th July

    'Writing Serials for Women's Magazines' with Helen Yendall

    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 Helen looked at the building blocks of serial writing, including plot, point of view, character, pace, suspense and those all-important cliff-hangers.  She also discussed the requirements for individual magazines.  Helen Yendall has had over 100 stories published in magazines and her first serial won the People’s Friend magazine competition.

    “Great workshop, feeling inspired now to go away and write a serial – must think of all those possible conflicts for my characters.  Perfect venue and great home-made cake!”

  • 1st June - mid July

    'Paperback Photographer'

    A fabulous free exhibition of original photography by members of Birlingham Photography Club, who were challenged with matching an image to a book title of their choice, with viewers challenged to name the book!  ‘Rainman’ is now proudly hanging in the house of Festival Chair, Sue Ablett, and ‘Brief Encounter’ is set to be a book cover.  Both photos below by Photography Club Chair, and Festival Steering Group member, Angela Fitch.

  • Tuesday 28th August

    '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 recalled 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!  A riveting evening, hugely enjoyed by all present.

    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.

    “Grahame engaged his audience from his opening cry of Howzat – a fascinating tale of intrigue, told by a presenter whose passion and enthusiasm shone through to make for a really unforgettable evening.” (Sue Ablett)

  • Friday 21st September

    'One Man in a Boat'

    Once again we returned to Raphael’s Restaurant for a fabulous Festival event.  Geoff Hales followed 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. 

    “A great performance by Geoff – an interesting story and so well performed.  And compliments to Raphaels for a fabulous supper.  A great night!” (John Dickman

  • Saturday 27th October

    '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 shared her inside knowledge, and helped 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.  

    “A great session – so many useful tips, and loved the Word Cricket to get us all batting ideas and putting pen to paper.”

  • Thursday 8th November

    Sensory Workout Workshop for Writers

    In this small group workshop Sue Johnson gave tips on how to use the senses to nurture the writer within, maintain creative energy and be more productive.  In addition, by means of a series of short writing exercises she also gave ideas for creating unforgettable characters and settings.

    “A lovely atmosphere, very creative, and fabulous home-made cake!” (Sue Johnson)


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