The countdown to Manx Litfest 2022 is underway, with acclaimed novelist Michelle Paver headlining this year’s festival, which starts on Wednesday, September 21st.
The five-day event, which marks Litfest’s 10th anniversary, will take place at a variety of venues in the south of the island, and it will see visiting and local authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers entertain audiences, including the return of long-time favourites such as the Poetry Slam, Book Fanatics’ Quiz Night, Writers’ Day and Short Story Slam.
There is also plenty for younger readers, with numerous school visits included in the schedule, alongside several public events with children’s authors.
Michelle Paver is an award-winning novelist who writes for both children and adults. The concluding volume of her children’s fantasy series, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Her highly acclaimed novels for adults include the gothic Dark Matter, Thin Air and Wakenhyrst, and The Observer has described her writing as “spooky, twisted and unforgettable.” Michelle’s event on the evening of Saturday 24th September, at St. Catherine’s Church Port Erin, is called Tales of Terror, Beauty and Wonder, and promises to provide a thrilling insight into her work. Earlier on the same day, Michelle will also be speaking to aspiring writers at the Writers’ Day event at King William’s College.
Joining Michelle in our line-up of visiting authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers:
John Callow – an author, historian and trade unionist. He has written widely on Early Modern witchcraft, politics and popular culture, and he will be discussing Gerald Gardner and Wicca on the Isle of Man.
Joanne Clague – born and raised in Sheffield, Joanne built a career as a journalist in the Isle of Man, before turning to novel writing. She is the author of a Sheffield-set saga series, which begins in The Ragged Valley with the great flood of 1864, and she will be running a workshop about building stories from historical events.
Thérèse Coen – a literary agent and rights director at Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency, Thérèse will be presenting a talk and conducting one-to-one Agent Pitch Slots at Writers’ Day.
Dr Fiona Gell – grew up on the island and still lives here with her husband and son. Fiona has a PhD in seagrass ecology and more than 20 years’ experience working in marine science, conservation and policy on small islands around the world. More recently she has worked on the Isle of Man’s response to the climate emergency and has completed an MSc in climate change. She will be running a workshop on writing non-fiction.
Candy Gourlay – is the author of several children’s and young adult books, notably Tall Story (2010), Shine (2012) and Bone Talk (2018), and her work has been shortlisted for multiple awards, including the 2018 Costa Book Awards and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Candy will be running a children’s workshop based around her book, Is it a Mermaid?
Martin Impey – an award-winning illustrator who will be involved in several events, including a talk about his stunning edition of the Wilfrid Owen poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est. He will also be appearing alongside author Chris Riley to talk about their joint project, Where Once We Stood – an account of the first moon landings. This will be Martin’s second visit to Manx Litfest.
Simon Maddrell – was born in the Isle of Man, and now lives in Brighton. Simon’s poetry has been published in many anthologies and publications. In 2020, his debut pamphlet, Throatbone, was published by UnCollected Press and Queerfella jointly-won The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition. Simon will be hosting the Poetry Slam, and two workshops, and discussing his life in poetry in a performance at the Erin Arts Centre.
Jamie Mollart – When Jamie Mollart’s first novel, The Zoo, was published in 2015 by Sandstone Press, Amazon named him as one of their rising stars. Jamie will be talking about his second novel, Kings of a Dead World, which was published earlier this year, to huge critical acclaim. Jamie’s is also making his second visit to Manx Litfest.
Chris Riley – a writer and filmmaker specialising in science, engineering and history. Chris will be appearing at the Erin Arts Centre, along with illustrator Martin Impey, to talk about their acclaimed children’s book, Where One We Stood, which was nominated for a 2020 Kate Greenaway award.
Catriona Ward – a multiple award-winning and best-selling horror writer, Catriona is the author of The Last House on Needless Street and Sundial among others. Catriona’s Litfest event is titled, The Making of Modern Gothic Monsters.
Steve Wright – Steve has extensive wildlife knowledge from being a part-time professional tour guide and wildlife filmmaker. He currently works as the Tynwald Seneschal, and achieved a first-class honours degree in history and Manx studies through the UCM. Steve will be talking about his brilliantly engaging new book, Wild Enthusiasm, in which he travels the British Isles on a series of wildlife safaris.
Writers’ Day is an incredible opportunity for writers of all levels to learn more about the writing craft, meet and talk to fellow writers, and make invaluable contacts within the industry. It takes place on Saturday, September 24th – if you would like to enquire about availability for the agent pitch slots email firstname.lastname@example.org
Slots for the Short Story Slam have already been filled, but there are still places available to compete in the Poetry Slam. Please email email@example.com if you would like to enter.
Manx Litfest’s Helen Jessopp said: ‘We aim to provide many opportunities for writers to develop their craft – from workshops, to Writers’ Day, to the Slams, which provide a platform for Isle of Man writers to showcase their work. There is some amazing literary talent around this small island of ours, and we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to achieve their goals. We are proud this year to host events for local authors, including Steve Wright, Dr. Fiona Gell and Joanne Clague, as well as Manx-born poet Simon Maddrell.’
‘We are grateful, as always, to our sponsors and supporters, who help make the festival happen each year – Isle of Man Arts Council and Culture Vannin, and a number of corporate and private supporters.’
Other sponsors this year are: ManSat Group, Bridge Bookshop (Litfest’s partner bookseller), But First Promotions, Family Library, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, King William’s College, and Marsh.