A POPULAR writing festival in a town in Gwent made its long-awaited return last week.
The Abergavenny Writing Festival, which brings together people with a passion for all forms of writing, regardless of age or ability, took place over three days, from Thursday 7 April to Saturday 9 April, at different places in the city.
First held in 2016, it became one of the first festivals to fall victim to covid in 2020.
And despite the success of a virtual festival in November that year, founder Lucie Parkin said there was something irreplaceable about bringing people together under one roof again.
“It’s truly magical,” Ms Parkin told the Argus.
“It’s a great feeling to be back.
“While we were able to hold a really successful virtual event during covid, it’s so important to bring people together face to face and think creatively.”
This year’s festival kicked off with a series of workshops including an exploration of the transformative journey of motherhood with Lily Sequoia and a men’s session to encourage writing as a form of well-being with Graham Harthill.
Friday saw talks by Welsh-language writer Alun Davies and Catherine Fisher, as well as a chat with literary agent Natalie Jerome who spoke about her career and the need for more diversity in the world of editing.
James Hawes also visited to talk about his book shining islandswhich accompanies the BBC television series The art that made us.
The festival also held its writing competition for young people – with winners receiving mentoring sessions from local writers.
Tudor Thomas, Mayor of Abergavenny, presented young writers with their certificates at a ceremony at the Melville Theatre. The winning writers stayed for an afternoon of mentoring sessions with three of Wales’ top writing talents: Connor Allen, Jonathan Edwards and Rufus Mufasa.
The festival ended with powerful performances by poets Des Mannay and Lily Sequoia. Cardiff University Masters in Creative Writing students hosted an open mic. The evening ended with an incredible performance by singer-songwriter Kizzy Crawford.
Ms Parkin said: “It was wonderful to be back in 2022. The feedback has been so warm and positive that we are already excited to start planning for 2023.
“A big thank you to our partners, without whom the event would not have been possible: Arts Council Wales, Abergavenny Town Council, Christie Residential, Abergavenny Rotary Club and Waterstones Abergavenny.
“We have formed some very exciting partnerships for 2022 with Disability Arts Cymru and Mind Monmouthshire. Thank you to everyone who participated, attended and supported.