Meet the Festival Team
SFL is run by a group of people who love all things literary and wanted to establish something book-oriented for the town. We managed to do just that and are now in the process of building on the success of SFL 2016 and planning is well underway for SFL 2017.
Our committee has changed shape a little from the first year. Various members stepped down to pursue their own goals, many of which are literary. We lost one of the founder members very suddenly earlier this year and I wanted to say a special thank-you to Alan Shaw for his contribution and stoicism in the face of our often crazy meetings. You are missed, Alan.
We have a new member as well as other first year veterans who are working with us in a variety of capacities and without whom we might not get everything done!
Jonathan Coe has agreed to continue as our Patron for the second Festival and we look forward to working with him again in November.
Here are some of the people who are making this happen…
Jonathan Coe – Patron of Shrewsbury Festival of Literature
His first surviving story, a detective thriller called The Castle of Mystery, was written when he was eight and the first few pages of this appear in What a Carve Up. His novels include The Rotters Club, The Accidental Woman, A Touch of Love, The Dwarves of Death, What a Carve Up! and the Shropshire-based The Rain Before it Falls. His latest novel is Number 11 which was published in 2015.
Susan Caroline – Chair
I have loved books for as long as I can remember and was reading before I went to school. My mother made sure we all could read before we started and, in spite of that, my siblings and I are all book people. I was the youngest ever librarian at my junior school and I am still very proud of that fact. I take after my father in that I will read almost anything. I opened Pengwern Books in 2004, having worked in bookselling in 2 other bookshops for the previous 10 years, and now I can't really imagine doing anything else.
Fiona Checkley – Director
When a friend told me she was going to Hay Festival I thought to myself that Shrewsbury has a festival for just about everything else except for literature - and that it was time to remedy this. From this embryonic idea Shrewsbury's inaugural Festival of Literature has become a reality. Reading has been the one constant throughout my life and sustained me through the years; I can not imagine a day without the gift of a good read. I look forward to the Festival being part of the Shrewsbury scene for many years to come.
Hilary Hannaford - Director
Books and storytelling have always been important for me and proved invaluable when working in playgroups and pre-schools as well as in raising my own family. I also put this love of books to good use when I started work at Pengwern Books in 2004, where we had storytelling sessions and organised other events around books and authors. I now work in another independent shop, Write Here, selling pens and stationery, help run live jazz events in the town centre and am delighted to be part of a literature festival in Shrewsbury.
I have just completed Creative Writing degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, Cheshire. I have a keen interest in gritty life writing and mix this with a lifelong enjoyment of dystopian novels and gritty realism. And I thought that would all mix well with a literature festival!
Having worked in libraries for forty years and now semi-retired, I still wanted to be involved with books and reading. Part of my library remit was reader development and, being a Shrewsbury resident for over twenty years, helping to produce the 2017 Shrewsbury Festival of Literature was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. I am also into photography, sewing and cats.