It brings internationally acclaimed authors to Jersey venues and introduces hundreds of delighted children to the thrilling power of literature every year…but the Jersey Festival of Words has other aims as well.
Chief among them is the creation of new opportunities for Jersey’s own talented creative writers to develop and showcase their work, and the 2018 festival programme once again does just that.
Still engaged in a political career that includes a spell as the second (so far) longest-serving Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft is also an award-winning poet, playwright and writer of short stories. With a back catalogue of work often exploring political and religious themes, Simon will give a reading at the Opera House Studio.
Another published local writer, Paul Darroch, will be discussing his new collection of seafaring tales White Star, Blue Iceberg: Jersey Sea Storiesat Jersey Arts Centre.
Jersey Library will host several local author events including a talk on local mythology by Erren Michaels, and a presentation by writer Tony Le Moignan on his latest novel A Long Goodbye, an exploration of the impact and effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s.
One of the greatest of all lyricists was W.S.Gilbert, but his literary talents went beyond the classic operatic collaborations with Arthur Sullivan and also included plays, fiction and comic verse. His work will be celebrated in a special presentation by the Jersey Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
The festival, which runs from Wednesday 26 to Sunday 30 September also has plenty of encouragement for up and coming Jersey writers.
It includes the first Jersey Festival of Words Poetry Competition, commemorating the inspirational Jersey poet and literature teacher Alan Jones, who died five years ago this September. The prizes for the competition will be presented by poetry superstar Lemn Sissay, laureate of the London Olympics, before his own Opera House performance.
Schools, meanwhile, will be battling it out in verse with the return of the popular Farrago Poetry Slam and poetry will also be on the menu at St Helier’s newly opened Pizza Projekt.
Prose writers can enter the Jersey Evening Post Writing Competition, revived in association with the festival, and another new competition invites aspiring lyricists to enter the Jersey Song Project, one of the current initiatives promoting the Island’s native language, Jèrriais.
There will also be expert advice on offer with workshops on Writing a Novel, with Richard Skinner, director of the fiction programme at the Faber Academy; and Memoir Writing, with historian Duncan Barrett, author of the new collection of Occupation memories,Hitler’s British Isles.
The art of blogging will be explained by Jersey resident Emma Critchley, creator of the popular Island Living 365site, while Laura Carter will talking about her experience as a romance novelist and sharing tips with budding writers.
“We’re delighted to be offering fresh opportunities for island writing,” says Festival vice-chairman Paul Bisson. “As well as inspiring future writers it’s important to celebrate the Island’s tremendous literary talent. Jersey Festival of Words is delighted and honored to be able to do this both locally and on a national stage.”
Full information: jerseyfestivalofwords.org