Hearth 2022 (online tickets currently available)

5th February - 5th February 2022

Hearth is back! Improve your writing, find out how to publish your novel, get hints and tips and find inspiration during our February micro-festival. 

Saturday February 5th 2022

(Tickets for the Hearth micro-festival have been limited to ensure we are able to follow Welsh Government social distancing rules. In-person tickets have sold out for now. If the tickets you want are unavailable, you can email rhian.waller@gladlib.org and request to be placed on the waiting list. We will then contact you if there are any cancellations or if restrictions ease. In the meantime, you can purchase online tickets.)

Pull up a chair, gather around the hearth and indulge in a day of stimulating and entertaining conversation.

Hearth began in 2013 and is held every year on a Saturday in February. As Gladfest's younger sibling it aims to distill all the best bits of festival life - book chat, comfortable chairs, tea and cake, a good glass of wine - into a single day. With opportunities to meet, talk and create with four authors over a day of book-based events, it's one of our most popular events and regularly sells out. You can come for the full day or if time is tight, a morning or afternoon. We also reserve a few tickets for individual events for the truly time-pressed.

Hearth in 2022

Our Hearth line up for this year features four writers whose works and talks will stir the imagination. The individual events are:

10.30am - 11.30am: Writing Velázquez and Visual Art with Amy Sackville

For writer Amy Sackville visual art has always been an inspiration, particularly the Spanish Golden Age. Amy’s love of this period led her to write Painter to the King, called ‘one of the finest historical novels of recent years’ by the writer Sarah Perry. It’s a portrait of the artist Diego Velázquez and his life in the court of Philip IV of Spain; a time of upheaval, grief, and startlingly original paintings. Starting with her own novel Amy will talk about how her understanding of Velázquez’ work, and artistic work more generally, shaped her own process of writing. 

Amy Sackville is a writer and novelist who teaches creative writing at the University of Kent. Her books have won several awards. Her novel The Still Point won the John Llewellyn Rhys award for the best writing by a young author. It was a powerful literary debut, weaving historical research into a compelling reflection on the distances of history and the discoveries to be found there. Her novel Orkney won a Somerset Maugham award. 


12pm-1pm: Extra-Ordinary Voices: Recovering Voices Lost to History with Alice Jolly


Writing a book in an extra-ordinary first-person voice is a major risk for a writer. Alice Jolly’s novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile is written in the Gloucestershire dialect of the nineteenth century. Her new novel Dr Asperger’s Dilemma features the voice of one of Asperger’s patients. Why is voice so important to understanding the past? How can the modern reader enter the minds and sensibilities of characters who lived in other cultures and times? Why are women so often left out of mainstream historical narratives and can fiction contribute to widening our understanding of the past? Join Alice as she discusses the challenges of recreating the lost voices of history.  

Alice Jolly is a novelist, playwright, and memoirist who also teaches on the Mst in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. Her memoir, Dead Babies and Seaside Towns (2015) won the Pen Ackerley Prize for a literary memoir of excellence, while her short story Ray the Rottweiler won the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize 2014, awarded by the Royal Society of Literature. Her most recent books include Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile (short-listed for the Ondaatje Prize and runner-up in the Rathbones Folio Prize, which celebrates the world’s best English-language literature). She received an O.Henry Award in 2021 (given to the 20 best short stories published in the US in that year). Her short story collection From Far Around They Saw Us Burn will be published by Unbound in summer 2022.

2pm-3pm: Through a Glass, Darkly: Writing and the Work of Watching with Carys Bray

Join Carys Bray as she outlines her challenge to Graham Greene’s famous assertion, made while studying a pair of grieving parents in a hospital. He stated that ‘there is a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer’, surely referring to his own ability to study, rather than sympathise with, the parents. Rather than icy isolation, Carys wants to suggest that ‘to love someone is to put yourself in their place’, arguing that careful watching allows a writer to develop empathy, authenticity and an eye for detail. In this hour Carys will explore stories ranging from deeply personal – sitting beside her daughter in a neonatal unit – to Bible stories of Jesus asking the disciples to wait and watch with him, to wry, funny extracts from her own novels.

Carys Bray’s first novel, A Song for Issy Bradley, won the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, was chosen for Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Desmond Elliot Prize. She was awarded the Scott Prize for her debut short-story collection, Sweet Home. She’s also the author of The Museum of You. She lives in Southport with her husband and four children. Her latest novel, When the Lights Go Out, was described by Joanna Cannon (a Gladfest favourite here at the Library!) as ‘filled with the most incredible tenderness and wisdom’


Restoration, Hybridity and Survival: Sources of Inspiration with poet Rosalind Hudis, author of Restorations

Rosalind Hudis's poetry dips into many-faced acts of salvage, survival, and transformation - be it of memory, a culture, an painting, a person. Aided by slides and sound, Rosalind will explain some of her sources of inspiration. She'll also read from her own work and some connected works by other authors. You are invited to share your own pieces on the theme of restoration. Not to be missed!  

Rosalind Hudis grew up in Suffolk, but after a nomadic period making a living in different countries, and areas, of Britain, settled in West Wales where she has lived for many years with her partner, the puppeteer Tony Heales, and her family. A person of very mixed ethnic background, with roots as far apart as Moldova and Senegal, she finds Wales to be the place that is home. A onetime musician, she has also written from an early age, and now works as a freelance writer, editor, reviewer and tutor. Her poetry collections Terra Ignata (2013) and Tilt (2014) have won prizes and commendations, and her latest collection is Restorations (2021), praised for its ‘intense feeling’ and rich human detail. She teaches creative writing at the University of Wales.

5pm-6pm: Panel (available to in-person full-day and afternoon ticket holders)


Full day in-person tickets are £65. Half-day tickets are £40. These include food. Individual event tickets are also available. Book them by clicking here

Individual online event tickets are available here. Online tickets are £8. 


As part of a new access initiative here at the Library, all our non-residential events will have one free place available. Please email Rhian.waller@gladlib.org for details. 

Please note that tickets for this event are e-tickets. Book online and have your ticket emailed directly to you – there is no need to print out an e-ticket for a digital event. 

You now have the option to save your tickets in your Gladstone Bag! For more information see here.

A print and collect service is available to those without access to email facilities for a small charge to cover our admin costs. Call 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org for more information. Printed tickets will be available to collect from Reception before the event.