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 the first two festivals and planning is well underway for SFL 2018.
Our committee has changed shape a lot from the first year. We are now a small but beautifully formed group of four and are supported by people from without, such as Sarah Hart of Brightstone PR and Steff Henson of the amazing Six Ticks, who built and continue to support, our website!
We need to say thank-you to Sheena Batey who stepped in last year and worked incredibly hard to make SFL 2017 a success. So - thank-you Sheena. It was a blast!
We would also like to welcome a new Patron, Frieda Hughes. Frieda was a guest at last year's Festival and agreed to give her support to the continuing endeavours of Shrewsbury Festival of Literature.
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.
Frieda Hughes - Patron of Shrewbsury Festival of Literature
Born in London in 1960 Frieda Hughes is a painter and poet. She has also written a number of children’s books, and numerous articles for magazines and newspapers over the years. She was the Times Poetry columnist from 2006 - 2008.
Her first book of poetry, Wooroloo, was named after the hamlet where she lived in Western Australia during the 1990s, and was published in the UK in 1999 by Bloodaxe Books, when it received a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Other collections followed. Alternative Values, in which Frieda used the subject of her poems to inform the accompanying abstract images, painted in oils on canvas, combined the ‘two driving forces’ in her life, and the book became her first illustrated poetry collection, published by Bloodaxe Books in the UK 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 discovered a lifelong passion for literature from an early age and I'm pleased to have been involved with Shrewsbury Festival of Literature from the very beginning. I'm an MMU Creative Writing graduate and very much enjoy writing short fiction and memoir with themes of gritty realism! I live in Shrewsbury and very much enjoy walking round our beautiful town seeking alternative inspiration for work.