Discover Our Literary Island

We have two of the largest music festivals in the UK and yes we have Ventnor Fringe, VDUB Island and the world famous Round the Island Race but in recent years the Island has also been celebrating its amazing cultural heritage with its own Literary Festival. Now in its 5th year, the Isle of Wight Literary Festival take place at Northwood House in Cowes from 13th-16th October 2016.

A bit of literary history...

When looking back through the Island’s literary history you’ll understand why this celebration was needed.

Let’s take a little stroll back in time to 1819, imagine a sunny day in Bonchurch, a 22-year-old bachelor strolls the streets clutching a tattered old note book, this man is John Keats. He visited Bonchurch while staying in Shanklin and fell in love with a local woman, he recounted desires for this young lady in a letter to his sister. No one quite knows what prose Keats wrote on the Island but for a romantic poet to have fallen in love on our shingled shore, we can only assume that the memory had some influence on his later writing.

Some 28 years later our Island was visited by Alfred Lord Tennyson. He was attracted to the Island as a great fan of Keats’ work. After much deliberation, the Tennyson family did in fact buy property in Freshwater and live there. The Island were so taken with Tennyson that he was declared a Baron and had a down named after him, he was said to have spent many hours walking these hills for writing inspiration.

Our literary heritage is vast with countless literary genius’ having dipped their toes in the salty water of our southern shore; Thomas Bobington Macaulay, Maxwell Gray, Mimi Khalvati, Thomas Letts, Alfred Noyes, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Winston Churchill, to name but a few.

IW Literary Festival top picks...

So who will the Isle of Wight Literary Festival be adding to the extensive list of word experts this October? With talks, workshops, performances and masterclasses for children, teens and adults alike, here's our top picks for this year’s literary festival.

First off the bat we have a myIsleofWight hero; Ray Foulk. The original organiser of The Isle of Wight Pop Festival, the man that tried to sink the Isle of Wight with a mass Bob Dylan pilgrimage and set our Island in music history stone with Hendrix’s final festival performance. He will be talking about how he procured this notorious music legend on Friday October 14th at 7pm in Northwood House.

Next is Alan Titchmarsh, returning for 2017, after hosting last year's talk with Bake-Off judge, Mary Berry. A beloved character to the Island, Titchmarsh will be discussing his latest novel, The Gandy’s Grand tour, with journalist, Stephanie Cross, on Friday 14th October 4.30-5.30pm in Northwood House.

One not to be missed for all the families out there is Good Night, Little Bear an amazing spell binding puppet show that returns after its sell out performances at Ventnor Fringe. Telling the amazing story of one little girl and her polar bear as they journey into deep dark caves and across wide oceans, up into outer space and into the frozen North Pole, join them on a journey to discover the true meaning of home. Along the way they’ll meet bickering bats, an albatross who likes to take things easy and a turtle who can’t quite remember where he left anything. Created with the whole family in mind but particularly suited to 6-12 years old, this magical performance is on Sunday 16th October 4-5pm at Northwood House.

For the full programme of who's on at this years Literary Festival visit the website.

Regan Reverb

8 September 2016

By Regan Reverb in Articles