Penzance Literary festival

Wednesday 5th July - Saturday 8th July - All Day

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Penzance Literary festival

This year’s Penzance Literary Festival is gearing up for yet another feast of prose, poetry and performance from 5 to 8 July, with headline novelists such as Tim Pears, Stella Duffy, Louisa Young and Cynan Jones being ably supported by talented local writers, poets and performers.

Such stellar figures as David Bowie, Charles Causley and Thomas Hardy will be featured as the focus of special events, with a centenary celebration of Cornwall’s poet laureate Charles Causley by The Story Republic and guests, plus an evening devoted to the life and music of David Bowie and an event exploring the poetry of Thomas Hardy through readings and song settings.

The centenary of the Battle of the Somme will be marked with a special screening of the legendary silent documentary shot at the battle, now restored by the Imperial War Museum and with a haunting new soundtrack by composer Laura Rossi. Penzance Orchestral Society, 110 this year, will perform the music. Dr Toby Haggith, Senior Curator from the Imperial War Museum’s film department, will introduce the screening.

The Litfest’s 2017 theme is ‘Uncharted Waters’, a theme that embraces exploration of landscapes, seascapes, war zones, political intrigue, rare manuscripts and undiscovered worlds. With more big names still to be confirmed, organisers are confident that the ‘Friendliest Litfest in the West’ will maintain its lively reputation for page-turning entertainment and intrigue.


Headlining the festival are such top writers as novelist and playwright Stella Duffy who will talk about the The Hidden Room, her gripping new novel of psychological suspense. Multi-award-winning writer Tim Pears, whose bestsellers include In the Place of Fallen Leaves and Landed, will be discussing his new novel, The Horseman, set in rural Somerset.

Acclaimed Welsh novelist, Cynan Jones’s powerful new novel, Cove, about an injured, partially amnesiac man adrift on a kayak, will feature in a discussion between the novelist and travel writer Tim Hannigan. And the celebrated author of My Dear I Wanted to Tell You and The Heroes’ Welcome, Louisa Young, will discuss Devotion, the third novel in her series following two families through the 20th century.

Also appearing is the award-winning writer Charlotte Hobson, who lives on the Roseland Peninsula with her husband, travel writer and novelist Philip Marsden. Charlotte Hobson will be talking about her debut novel, The Vanishing Futurist, a powerful and affecting story of a young Cornishwoman’s experiences in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.

Other local contributors include the well-known author of Surf Nation, Alex Wade, whose novel Flack’s Last Shift, came out last year. The acclaimed authority on all things Cornish, Dr Alan Kent, will talk about his latest novel Dan Daddow’s Cornish Comicalities, while local art expert David Tovey will focus on the Cornish author of the Penhale Trilogy, Crosbie Garstin. 


Poetry is strongly featured again this year with an outstanding line-up that includes Meg Chapman, Katrina Quinn, Andrew Fentham and Rob Barratt.

A unique event, put together especially for the festival, will be a poetic performance created in response to the architecture of an iconic Penzance building, the Egyptian House in Chapel Street. With the support of the Landmark Trust, two performances will take place inside the house.

Add to all of this writers’ workshops, musical events, literary walks and storytelling and Penzance is on course for another successful edition of ‘the Friendliest Litfest in the West.

The Penzance Literary Festival will run from Wednesday July 5 to Saturday July 8. Tickets go on sale in early June. For further information and regular updates, visit



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