Great writing – our rationale

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Since the first we have had a firm rationale for Marlborough Literature Festival. Its all about great writing. Mavis Cheek wanted a festival which celebrated real, honest, excellent writers and we have always kept her vision in mind when planning our programmes each year. In the five years since the festival began we have been lucky enough to have some of the bright stars of the literary world: Howard Jacobson, Fay Weldon, Louis de Bernières, Margaret Drabble, Deborah Moggach, Iain Banks and Michael Frayn are a few that spring to mind, not forgetting poets Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and Owen Sheers. Wonderful biographers have included Michael Holroyd, Claire Tomalin and Jenny Uglow, and well known children’s authors such as Lauren Child, Judith Kerr, and Jeremy Strong have all attracted keen audiences.

Whilst we love having established authors at the festival, we also make great efforts to bring new talent along. Its really gratifying to find that an author we think is excellent is also appreciated by our audiences and even better if they subsequently go on to widespread acclaim as happened this year with Helen MacDonald, winner of the Costa prize 2014; and with Evie Wyld who came to the festival in 2011 as one of our Hiscox Young Authors and who has since won several literary prizes. Of course, not all the authors we enjoy at the festival become as well known as these two, but there is great joy to us in finding and sharing books which are beautifully written. I’m sure we’ll do it again in 2015.

We’re arranging the 2015 programme of events at the moment, and this year on the festival committee there has been some fierce debate about what makes the best quality writing. It is a subjective decision and we have to bear in mind that an successful festival consists of a finely balanced mix of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and prose with a blend of genres. We’ve added in the suggestions from last years’ visitors, and we keep looking for new ideas, but in the end we always go back to that vision – real, honest, excellent writing. We trust you’ll find that our festival brings great writers to you too.