Winchester Writers’ Weekend is a new weekend festival for emerging writers working in all genres and at all levels, produced by the former director of the Winchester Writers’ Festival, Sara Gangai. There will be an abundance of networking opportunities for creative writers – attendees can book up to five appointments with top literary agents and commissioning editors of their choice in order to pitch their ideas and gain valuable feedback or a market appraisal.
The Writers’ Weekend begins on Friday evening with an ‘Author, Agent, Publisher’ panel and readings given by authors Nick Barlay and Kate Bradley, followed by the Opening Dinner and an open mic. Saturday and Sunday are packed with keynote addresses, two-hour workshops, and one-hour talks in a wide variety of forms and genres, including contemporary fiction, writing for children or young adults, life-writing, fantasy, crime fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and short fiction.
The Saturday keynote speaker this year is Eoin Colfer, author of the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl books, which will be released as a major motion picture, directed by Kenneth Branagh in May. He has just finished a two-year term as Ireland’s Children’s Laureate and also writes scripts for musicals and plays and books for adults, including the sixth instalment of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, entitled And Another Thing. He has just published his first adult fantasy novel, Highfire.
On Sunday, the keynote speaker is Lissa Evans is the best-selling author of five novels for adults, including Their Finest Hour and a Half (filmed in 2017 as ‘Their Finest’, starring Bill Nighy and Gemma Arterton), Crooked Heart and Old Baggage. She has also written three books for children, including the popular Wed Wabbit.
Highlights of the 2020 Writers’ Weekend include workshops with picture book author Chitra Soundar, novelist and memoirist Nick Barlay, fantasy and horror writer Cliff McNish, and crime fiction publisher Joel Richardson, as well as dozens of talks on the craft of writing with the likes of award-winning novelist Claire Fuller, publisher Scott Pack, novelist Judith Heneghan, Editorial Director at HarperCollins Phoebe Morgan, and author Catherine Menon, to name a few.
Four writing competitions will also be held as part of the Writers’ Weekend:
The Opening of a Novel Competition
Short Fiction Competition
The Skylark Fabulous Fiction for Fives to Teens Competition
Picture Book Competition
Various scholarships and bursaries are available and an innovative Virtual Package will offer those unable to attend the Weekend to view select panels, talks and the keynote addresses online, as well as have the option to add a video-conference one-to-one with a literary agent.
For details of the full programme and how to book, along with information about the competitions, scholarships and bursaries, visit www.writersweekend.uk. The programme will be available and booking will open on 3 March, 2020.
When? 10th-12th July at the University of Winchester.
Where? University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 4NR
Who? 2020 – Nick Barlay, Kate Bradley, Eoin Colfer, Lissa Evans, Cliff McNish, Joel Richardson, Claire Fuller, Scott Pack, Judith Heneghan, Phoebe Morgan, Catherine Menon
Festival Website? www.writersweekend.uk
Festival Director? Sara Gangai
Sara Gangai is the former director of the Winchester Writers’ Festival, hosting such authors
as Katherine Rundell, Patrick Gale, Lemn Sissay MBE, Joanne Harris, Julian Fellowes, Terry
Pratchett, Jasper Fforde, Carol Ann Duffy and Sebastian Faulks. Other speakers always include top literary agents, commissioning editors and award-winning novelists, poets and memoirists.