THE sixth Abergavenny Writing Festival is set to take place in April, 2022 with a theme of ‘Writing to Transform.’
Festival organiser, Lucie Parkin, said, ‘We felt it was time to pin down exactly what the Writing Festival is about and how it’s different from a literary festival. We want to highlight how writing can transform us in terms of writing for wellbeing and writing as therapy. This is one of our core values for 2022.
‘It’s not only about writing to be seen, or getting published. It doesn’t really matter if nobody reads it other than yourself. I’m going to really focus on that element and hopefully get lots of workshops and talks around that. Many will have been keeping journals and diary writing, there are so many ways. Writing can be so valuable for peoples’ mental wellbeing.
‘The Transform theme also applies to transforming your writing and we’re hoping that people who want to do that will be able to get advice from fellow writers or tutors. In addition we’ll be looking at ways in which writing can help transform our world, so we’ll be looking into things like political journalism and activism and how people who feel quite powerless can make a difference through their writing.
‘I think the last eighteen months has really crystallised this, we’ve seen so many people struggling with isolation and the consequences of that; massive increases in mental health problems and the need to find outlets for that. The Pandemic has turned all our lives upside-down. I know people on the front line in the NHS who have turned to writing as a outlet. Many more people have been keeping diaries. The state of the world now has, I think, left so many looking for something more authentic.’
The Pandemic has seen a lot of people confined to their homes for extended periods and for Lucie this has given an added impetus to stage a truly inclusive and tangible event so that, circumstances permitting, writers can get out and meet fellow wordsmiths face to face again.
She said, ‘The Festival will, we hope, be a great opportunity to come together again and start to develop networks. There are lots of examples of writers who have met at such events and gone on to form really good an fruitful relationships. Hopefully, by next April this will be a safe and viable thing to do.
‘In summary, this is not really an event aimed at helping people to sell their books and become better known which is why, back in 2016, we decided to call it a Writing Festival rather than a literary festival, which I suppose has never been made entirely clear.’