Friday, 20 September 2013


Three award-winning writers feature in the very first Rochester Literature Festival, an eclectic and imaginative ten-day programme of events inspired by the overarching theme, ‘Other Worlds, Other Voices’. The festival begins on 3rd October to coincide with National Poetry Day and runs to 13th October.

The festival opens with multi-award winning, Guyana-born writer Maggie Harris reading from a selection of her moving, resonant work in celebration of Black History Month in the first of two events in association with Medway Libraries. Maggie Harris is now based in the county of Kent and she has won countless accolades for her work, both at home and abroad. She will also be leading a participatory poetry workshop on Saturday 5th October.
In the evening of 5th October, Rochester-based Sarah Hehir, who won the 2013 BBC Writer’s Prize for her radio play ‘Bang Up’, first broadcast on Radio 4 in August, will attend a rehearsed reading of the play featuring actress Emma Dewhurst (‘Parade’s End’, ‘The Iron Lady’) as part of A Night at the Theatre, which also sees the re-launch of 17percent’s ‘She Writes’ initiative with their new comedy play showcase What’s through the Door?, inspired by an HG Wells’ story.
The following Saturday (12th October), we present an evening with Bill Lewis, original Medway poet, painter and storyteller. Bill won the Literature category in the Medway Culture & Design Awards 2012. In The Hero’s Journey – A Call to Adventure, he will share his great knowledge of magical realism, metaphor and myth, referencing his own life and work, and contemplating Joseph Campbell’s famous vision of the hero’s journey and how the idea impacts on literature and film.
In addition to our headline writers, two highly original events promise to entertain over the festival weekends. The Skywatcher Investigation is an interactive story game on Sunday October 6th, where the audience will follow clues to various tableaux in locations in Rochester High Street, before being directed to a final performance.
For Alice, the festival’s final event on Sunday October 13th, contemporary and ballet dancers will interpret excerpts from the ballet Alice by composer and musician Jacob Bride, who will lead members of the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra and local band, Brides of Rain. New writing, both prose and song, based on Lewis Carroll’s eternal tales of the young girl’s journey through his strange and wondrous land, will also feature in this three hour, drop-in special to close the festival.
The festival also includes three very special events produced by ME4Writers: the launch of their eagerly awaited book, City Without a Head; a participatory creative writing tour of Rochester, Write Around Town, and a welcome return of Poetrymon, where members of the public can search for handmade poem-cards hidden throughout the Medway Towns.
There will be further opportunities for people to hone their writing skills in a number of word-related creative writing workshops: writer Philip Kane leads From Sorcery to Starships, a fantasy and sci fi workshop and an informal writers’ games night Play: Write. The RLF team will also host another version of their successful readers’ and writers’ Potlatch. Alongside the literature events, an exhibition entitled Other Worlds, Other Voices, runs between 5th – 12th October at Rochester Community Hub and Library.

Rochester Literature Festival: Other Worlds, Other Voices, 3 – 13 October 2013
Full programme as follows:
Thursday October 3rd (day) POETRY TREASURE HUNT: ME4Writers Poetrymon (Various locations all day FREE)
Thursday October 3rd (eve) READING: Maggie Harris reads from selected works (Rochester Library 7.30pm FREE, booking required)
Saturday October 5th (day) WORKSHOP: Maggie Harris Poetry Workshop (Strood Library 10am FREE, booking required)
Saturday October 5th (eve) PERFORMANCE: A Night at the Theatre (Visitor Information Centre, 7pm. £6, booking required)
Sunday October 6thINTERACTIVE STORY GAME: The Skywatcher Investigation (Rochester High Street 2-6pm £6, booking required)
Monday October 7thWRITERS’ GAMES: Play:Write (The Good Intent 8pm FREE)
Tuesday October 8thBOOK LAUNCH: City Without a Head (Ye Arrow 8pm FREE)
Thursday October 10th - CREATIVE WRITING TOUR: Write Around Town (Rochester Town Centre 11am FREE, booking required)
Saturday October 12thWORKSHOP: Potlatch (coFWD 11am £3, booking required)
Saturday October 12thWORKSHOP: From Sorcery to Starships (coFWD 2pm £3, booking required)
Saturday October 12thILLUSTRATED READING/TALK: The Hero’s Journey: An Evening with Bill Lewis (Gordon House Hotel 7.30pm £5, booking required)
Sunday October 13thPERFORMANCE: Alice (Royal Function Rooms, Billabong Club entrance 2pm -5pm £3, booking required)

While some events are free, they may require booking due to limited numbers. Other events have a small fee to cover venue costs. Please visit the ‘Other Worlds, Other Voices’ page at for links to find out more about each individual event, and to book tickets.

For more information about festival organisers click on logo above.

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