Manx Litfest 2019


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Author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce to headline Manx Litfest 2019

The countdown to Manx Litfest 2019 is underway, with acclaimed children's author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce headlining the 8th annual festival which starts on Tuesday, September 24th.

The six-day event will see visiting and local authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers entertain audiences at 22 events, 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 more than 20 school visits included in the schedule, alongside several public events with children's authors.

A noted raconteur, Frank Cottrell-Boyce is one of the leading British screenwriters and children's authors. He wrote the BAFTA-nominated and Emmy Award-winning Isles of Wonder – the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics – which he devised with his friend, director Danny Boyle. Frank has written for both Coronation Street and Doctor Who, and his film credits include The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth, Hilary and Jackie, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA, Goodbye Christopher Robin, which starred Margot Robbie, and several movies with director Michael Winterbottom.  He also wrote the recent TV adaptation of Watership Down. Frank’s children’s books include Millions, for which he won the Carnegie Medal and which he adapted for the big screen (it was also directed by Danny Boyle), and three Chitty Chitty Bang Bang novels, for which he was commissioned by the family of the late Ian Fleming.


Frank Cottrell-Boyce

'An Evening with Frank Cottrell-Boyce' will see him talk about his career with Manx Radio presenter Christy DeHaven, the event taking place at St Ninian's Church on Saturday night, September 28th. Frank also has an event for children the following morning at the Youth Arts Centre in Douglas, featuring his latest novel, Runaway Robot.

Festival Director John Quirk said: 'We've put together another wonderfully varied line up for Litfest 2019 and believe there should be something for everyone within our programme of events. Frank is a huge name, in books, TV and movies, and it will be fascinating to hear him talk about his career. I'm particularly interested to get in an insight into how he and Danny Boyle devised the London Olympics opening ceremony, which must have been an incredible challenge.'

Joining Frank in our line-up of visiting authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers is:

Jon Buckeridge - an established storyteller and founder of Parable Arts, Jon will be performing two shows - The Forgotten Tales and The Once and Future King - and taking part in our schools visits, while also running storytelling workshops on the Saturday

Juno Dawson - Juno has won wide acclaim for her non-fiction titles on LGBT issues, including a guide to life for young LGBT people, This Book is Gay, while her book Mind Your Head featured everything a young persion needs to know about mental health. She is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education. Last year she wrote The Good Doctor, the first Doctor Who adventure to feature 13th Doctor Jodie Whittaker


Juno Dawson

Mark Grist - an ex-English teacher, poet, and battle rapper, Mark has more than 20 million views for his poetry and rap battle videos online. Mark visited Litfest in 2014 and we are thrilled to have him back - in addition to visiting four high schools, Mark will compere the Poetry Slam and perform his new show, Slacker-in-Law

Isabelle Kenyon - a poet and Managing Director of Fly on the Wall Press, a socially conscious small press, Isabelle is the author of This is not a Spectacle, Micro chapbook, Digging Holes To Another Continent and Potential. She will lead an ecopoetry workshop with IOM poet Janet Lees, based on Planet in Peril, an anthology for our time featuring poetry, photography and art by creatives from across the globe, and then host an ecopoetry open mic event, again drawing inspiration from Planet in Peril

Emma Newman - A writer of short stories, novels and novellas in multiple speculative fiction genres, Emma's most recent novels are the science fiction series, Planetfall, for which she was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award (After Atlas) and the British Science Fiction Awards Best Novel (Before Mars). Emma will be involved with school visits and Writers' Day, and on Friday night will talk about the 'Worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy'


Mark Grist

Gareth L. Powell - Gareth will join Emma Newman for 'Worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy', in addition to doing school visits and taking part in Writers' Day. Gareth has twice won the BSFA Award for Best Novel, first for Ack-Ack Macaque and then this year for Embers of War. Earlier this year Gareth published About Writing, an essential field guide for aspiring authors

Chris Priestley - Nominated for Edgar Awards, the UKLA Children's Book Award and the Carnegie Medal, Chris is the author of the Tales of Terror series which feature chilling stories rooted in the tradition of M R James, Saki and Edgar Allan Poe. His novel, Mister Creecher, was inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Chris will visit schools and host a Tales of Terror event for brave readers aged 8/9+

Tom Rachman - Born in London and raised in Vancouver, Tom has been a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, stationed in Rome. Since 2006, he has worked as an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. His most recent novel is The Italian Teacher, which delves in the sometimes murky world of art, and which inspired the title of his event at Manx Litfest - 'Must you become evil to be a great artist?'

Jonathan Ruppin - literary agent Jonathan returns to Manx Litfest after visiting last year and will again offer one-to-one pitch slots for writers, as part of Writers' Day at King William's College. Jonathan has worked in the UK book trade for 23 years, including 13 years at Foyles of London, and founded The Ruppin Agency in 2017, with the aim of promoting writers from underrepresented communities


Emma Newman, Photography by Lou Abercrombie

Nadia Shireen - Nadia's debut for children Good Little Wolf won the UKLA Book Award and her subsequent books have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, The Sainsbury’s Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. The current Book Trust Writer In Residence, Nadia will visit schools during Litfest and host a drawing and storytelling session at the Family Library

Emma Claire Sweeney - Emma has taught creative writing in the UK and US and won awards from the Arts Council and Royal Literary Fund. Her debut novel, Owl Song at Dawn, was inspired by her sister, who has cerebral palsy and autism. She will host a writing workshop, along with 'A Celebration of Literary Sisterhood', drawing on the book A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf, which she co-wrote with her friend, Emily Midorikawa

Writers' Day - sponsored by PokerStars, 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 28th - if you would like to book a place on Writers' Day and enquire about availability for agent pitch slots, email bookings@manxlitfest.com.    

There are still slots available to compete in the Poetry Slam and Short Story Slam, but you need to get in touch soon. For the Poetry Slam, email bridgetcarter@mcb.net - to enter the Short Story Slam, email manxlitfest@gmail.com.

John said: 'We try to provide many opportunities for writers to develop their craft - from workshops, to Writers' Day, to the Slams, which gives 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 the launch of the debut thriller from Litfest's very own Rachel Bennett, who has been an integral part of the team since the early days of Manx Litfest.

'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.'


For full details of the 2019 line-up, the festival programme, and ticketing info, visit www.manxlitfest.com.


A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government
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