Gladfest 2015

Well, what a weekend that was!

Gladfest 2015 was our most successful yet. Over two thousand of you poured through the doors, browsing Gladbooks and the outdoor Craft Market, feasting on all the delights of our bistro and bar, and contributing to interactive art in our Gladstone Room. Local choirs sang to you on both days and even the sun got in on the act.

Young people enjoyed a programme that we developed this year, just for them. Aspiring actors, directors and scriptwriters tried their hand at their chosen skill while younger children chased Charlie through the Chocolate Factory (with chocolate!) and learned about the poetry of the Welsh bard Taliesin.

And of course, there were the events. While of course all of our Gladfest events have been remarkable, this year really raised the bar. Sarah Dunant made a rare festival appearance to share with us all the beauty of the Italian Renaissance; Peter Francis's interview with Sarah Perry elicited thoughtful reflections upon the author's childhood and an exclusive reading of her as-yet unreleased novel, The Essex Serpent. More exclusive readings followed. Jessie Burton shared moments from her second novel, currently being written, and we were granted the privilege - never seen before - of renowned writer Michel Faber reflecting upon his life's writing at a time when he states that his time as a novelist is over.

Patrick Gale talked a packed crowd through his family history -- the inspiration for A Place Called Winter. Moving to broader history, Robyn Cadwallader explored the little that we know of anchoresses, medieval women who chose to be walled up for holy reasons and Richard Beard picked apart the fictions and legends surrounding the martyrdoms of the apostles, which appear to originate in creative writing from that very same period. Revealing the stories and the stimuli behind her complex and human characters, Melissa Harrison read from her beautiful second novel, At Hawthorn Time, and in a Gladfest first, we had a graphic novelist with us. Simon Grennan proved that comics aren't just for kids with his graphic edition of Trollope's John Caldigate. In another first, Alice Oseman is the youngest author we've yet had at Gladfest. Her chat with Louisa Yates was packed with advice for young aspiring writers.

There was plenty of non-fiction food for thought, too. Zia Chaudhry sparked debate about Islam in his talk with Peter Francis, and Patrick Barkham showed everyone just how much coastline the UK has -- and how beautiful it can be. Peter Moore demonstrated how the weather was invented and Matthew Bradley revealed the reading practices of the Victorian public.

While all the talking was going on, many of you were working hard in the Gladfest workshops. Some of the UK's foremost writers shared their hints and tips with intimate groups.

Gladfest is a festival like no other. There aren't many other festivals where authors mingle with the audience like they do here, or where authors share their inspirations and secrets like they do with our audience. With tickets only £6 for talks, Gladfest lets you experience something new. Don't miss it next year!

Recordings of Gladfest 2015 events can be found here.

Gladfest 2015 social media highlights can be found here.

Gladfest 2014 can be found here.