Artswords News May 2016

Dear Writers and Readers

It’s May, too early for hay-making but perfect for making merry, meeting great authors, and chatting with good friends at the Swindon Festival of Literature.

Now in its 23rd year, the Festival kicks off on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May at 5.30am with the Dawn Chorus in Lawn Woods, to celebrate a new day and the sun rising over Swindon, with musicians and minstrels, poets and performers, storytellers and maypole dancing, hot breakfasts on site, and, we hope, … you!

The Festival runs until Saturday 14th May. and offers an eclectic mix of writers and thinkers, talks and performances. And also competitions! Might you fancy entering the Poetry Slam on 7th May or the Think Slam on 13th May? Both will test your thinking, writing, and speaking skills, and are great fun!  You can find the whole Festival programme, including how to enter competitions and book tickets, here.

It also includes Poetry Swindon’s monthly Open Mic evening on 8th May.

If, by the end of the fortnight of hearing and meeting published authors, you feel like turning your hand to writing, improving your skills, and edging towards publication, check out one of the Festival’s final events, the Writers’ Lunch & Writing Workshop on 14th May

And later in the month, you can share your work and discoveries at the monthly Artswords Writers' Café & Kitchen on Thursday 26th May, 6pm – 10pm at Lower Shaw Farm. It’s a meeting place for new writers, experienced writers, and anyone interested in writing to meet, greet, and connect.

The Cafe starts with pot-luck supper from 6pm. If you can, please bring something to nibble or drink, and to share with others. Following acclimatisation with food, drink, and friendly chat, we take time to look at our writing, hear it, and comment where wanted.

You may simply read your work, prose or poetry, for up to 5 minutes; or, if you have a story, to tell, not read, and ideally a story from your life, please bring it along and tell it; or, if you’d like your work to be the subject of helpful comments and discussion, and this is the ‘Kitchen’ part of the Café, bring 10 copies of one piece of writing to pass around and read out. This should amount to no more than 500 words of prose or 40 lines of poetry.

For further information, contact or call 01793 771080

Mum’s the Word meets on Tuesday 3rd May at 7.30pm at Lower Shaw Farm. A friendly, informal group for mothers (and grandmothers) interested in writing. No need to bring any writing along; that’s what the group is for! For further information, please contact Monica at

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If you have any news or events for June and you would like us to mention them in the next Artswords Newsletter, please let us know by the middle of this month.

Happy reading, writing, and Festival-going! 

Matt Holland & Annie Vickers