Shrewsbury Literary Festival 2019

Award winning Arts Festival comes to town . . .

“Sleep fled from me – dear God, how could I sleep
With all Thy steadfast stars beholding me,”

Mary Webb, Night in the Open Air

Having won the What’s On Readers’ award for Best Arts Festival last year, Shropshire’s very own Shrewsbury Literary Festival returns for the weekend of 22nd to 24th November, revitalised and bringing a fascinating selection of authors and poets to the town.

When I (Rod) think of literary Shrewsbury, Mary Webb comes first to mind. I have two copies of her Fifty-One Poems, both printed in 1946. One copy I inherited when my mother died. She loved Mary Webb. The other I couldn’t resist in a second hand shop. So I’m especially looking forward to hearing the esteemed poet, Roger Garfitt performing pieces from All My Holy Mountain, which tells the story of Mary Webb.

Of course you can’t mention literary Shropshire without thinking of A E Housman. One of the first things I did when we moved to Ludlow was plant that loveliest of trees, the cherry to celebrate being nearer to another of my heroes. There’s another cherry tree for him in St Laurence’s churchyard.

And as I’m listing ancient greats from round here, what about Darwin? I lost my vintage copy of On the Origin of Species when we moved out of Ealing, but I still remember it as a vivid and exciting story, not just a piece of earth-changing science, from when I read it as a student.

So I’m looking forward to hearing some of the current local literary talent at the festival. It’s an interesting looking line-up and I’m looking forward to the three poets from Offa’s PressNellie Cole, Kuli Kohli and Emma Purshouse.

For further information what’s going on throughout this year’s Shrewsbury Literary Festival please visit