Frank Gardner (Photo copyright Colin Thomas)Marlborough LitFest has announced more names for its 2017 line-up in its eighth year (28 September – 1 October, 2017), including BBC Security correspondent, Frank Gardner, Graeme McCrae Burnet, local crime writer Jon Stock, as well as a talk hosted by the William Golding Estate.
These authors will join this year’s Golding Speaker, Will Self, who will open the Festival on 29 September.
BBC Security correspondent Frank Gardner OBE will be talking about his latest thriller, Ultimatum (published in September 2017), the second book in a trilogy.
]Ten years after himself surviving an Islamist ambush in Saudi Arabia during which his cameraman was killed, Frank Gardner, although partly paralysed, continues to travel the world reporting for the BBC.
He has written for The Economist, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph as well as writing a memoir and travel anthology.
Graeme McCrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project was shortlisted for the Man Booker 2016. Renowned as a real 'word of mouth' book, The Guardian reviewed it as ‘a psychological thriller masquerading as a slice of true crime; a collection of “found” documents that play lovingly with the traditions of Scottish literature; an artful portrait of a remote crofting community in the 19th century that showcases contemporary theories about class and criminology’.
McCrae Burnet, a former teacher, is considered one of the brightest stars on Scotland’s current literary scene.
Local crime author Jon Stock is the author of five spy novels (Warner Brothers bought the film rights to his Daniel Marchant trilogy) and a new standalone psychological thriller, Find Me, (published in February 2017 under the pen name of JS Monroe).
There are more details about Jon Stock on Marlborough.News - and there is also a review of Find Me by Adrian Clarke.
Stock previously was a freelance journalist and until 2015 he headed up the Weekend and Living sections of the Saturday and Sunday Telegraph. He will fill the popular crime spot at the 2017 LitFest.
To coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of William Golding’s novel, The Pyramid (which is described as a ‘Marlborough-disguised’ novel) a talk will be given by the William Golding Estate on ‘William Golding’s Legacy and his debt to Marlborough’.
The Marlborough LitFest committee say they are especially pleased to celebrate the town’s long connection with the Nobel Laureate and Booker Prize winning author.
Jan Williamson, Festival Chair, said: “We are very excited about this year’s line-up. We’ve got some brand new authors and some very well-known ones.”
More names for the 2017 programme will be announced later. The organisers are including a wide variety of speakers throughout the festival weekend.
The list will feature new and young fiction writers as well as established names, children’s authors, workshops and poetry events. The Festival’s intention is to bring the best of good writing to the town of Marlborough.
The Marlborough LitFest is supported by a number of sponsors - notably their founder sponsor ALCS (the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.) The lead sponsor is Brewin Dolphin.
And LitFest's events sponsors are: Hiscox Insurance, the William Golding Estate, Marlborough College and St Francis School.
LitFest's winning sonneteers Ann Johnson and Lucy Jones (copyright Ben Phillips Photography) Marlborough LitFest 2016 featured one real novelty in its pleasing mix of literary styles and books for all ages: a sonnet competition attached firmly to the four hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare's death.
The challenge for entrants - one section for adults and another for under-nineteen year-olds - was to 'write back' in verse to any of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets. The verse could be in strict Shakespearian sonnet form or it could be in a much freer verse style.
The competition was judged by the poet Sarah Howe, winner of this year's TS Eliot Prize and of the 2015 Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of The Year Award for her volume Loop of Jade.
Sarah provided the LitFest's grand finale talking about and reading her poetry at Marlborough College on Sunday (October 2.) The winners in each category received £100 and winners and runners-up received copies of Loop of Jade.
And the winners were:
--in the Adult section: Ann Johnson, who lives in Marlborough. She wrote a highly amusing response to Sonnet 130 ("My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun") - in a wondrously modern idiom. Simon Russell Beale read her sonnet to the audience at his sold-out talk in the Town Hall on the Sunday afternoon.
--in the Under-19 section: Lucy Jones - aged fourteen and in Year 10 at St John's Academy. She wrote a bittersweet response to Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?")
SHAKESPEARE'S SONNET 130
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damnask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go -
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
ANN JOHNSON's REPLY TO SONNET 130
Will, thanks a lot for posting thy remark
On FB's Timeline, where my Selfie's shewn :
You diss my face too pale, my hair too dark
And comment on bad breath on thy Smartphone,
Yet oil painting art thou none, my deare,
Thy face a moon, thy Haire like tide drawn back
And flowing down thy collar (so last yeare).
Thine pigges are cute in Hamlet on YouTube,
Tho' Marlowe's Kittens got more Likes I see.
Then eff off with the colour of my boob,
Thy sonnet's rubbish as you will agree.
And yet thou'rt not a waste of space complete
So LOL, I shall not presse Delete.
SHAKESPEARE'S SONNET 18
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all to short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair some time declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
LUCY JONES' REPLY TO SONNET 18
I am nothing like a summer's day,
my face does not show who I truly am.
True beauty always seems to fade away,
proving that love is nothing but a sham.
There is no room for a man in my life;
I want to be so young, alone and free.
I have no interest in being a wife;
I don't need anyone restraining me.
So come, foul weather, do your worst,
I feel a thunderstorm brewing within.
Such words of vile love, may they be cursed,
to stop the foul crawling of my skin.
Such darkness hides within those deep blue eyes;
I will not be deceived by all your lies.