The name’s Lit: WhitLit

Beachside literary types are in for a treat next week, as Whitlit, Whitstable’s annual literary celebration, breezes back into the seaside town for its third year, with a James Bond theme running across the five-day festival.

PrintFrom Wednesday 11 to Sunday 15 May, literature lovers can indulge in a riot of literary events, including an appearance by the author of Chocolat, Joanne Harris; Steve Cole talks about his first Young Bond book, Shoot to Kill; there’s a panel discussion of Fleming’s Goldfinger, set largely in Kent (and, if you ask me, perhaps the best of the Fleming canon); Whitstable’s own crime writer, Julie Wassmer, talks about writing crime for television and novel (see our review of the first novel in her series, The Whitstable Pearl, here). The festival opens with a musical celebration of James Bond at the Community College, Whitstable, from the 1st Whitstable Scout Group Band, whilst there are events and activities for younger children throughout the day on Saturday 14 May.

Plenty to which to look forward: find out more about the festival here.

Whitstable’s Pearl: WhitLit returns next month

Literature-lovers are in for a treat next month, when WhitLit returns to set Whitstable abuzz – and this year it looks bigger and better.

WhitLitBuilding on the success of its inaugural festival last year, this year’s programme promises a veritable literary feast, including a mixture of national and local writers, writing workshops, and there’s also space for younger bookworms with events for younger readers.

There’s a focus on crime literature on Weds 13 May, with Peter James in the evening, whilst author David Nicholls will be in conversation at Whitstable Community College on Thursday 14 May. Patrick Gale and local author Peggy Riley Gale’s appear on Sat 16 May to talk about Gale’s A Place in Winter.

Poetry also features as part of the festival, including an Open Mic night at the Horsebridge Arts Centre on Sat 16 May.

WhitstablePearlLocal author Julie Wassmer talks about her recently-published The Whitstable Pearl; and on the final day of the festival, Kate Mosse (of Labyrinth fame) will be taking part.

Writing for younger readers is also a focus of the festival, from toddlers to teens,  including workshops on writing and the graphic novel.

The festival will also pay tribute to Whitstable’s famous literary son, W Somerset Maugham, on Sat 16 May in an evening in which Penny Vincenzi will also be talking about her new novel, A Perfect Heritage; earlier that evening, writer, presenter and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig appears. Maugham’s novel The Painted Veil also forms the basis of this year’s book debate and the festival’s ‘town read.’

The most appealing aspect of WhitLit is that it manages to embrace both national writers alongside its own local writers, celebrating both the wider literary sphere as well as its own home-grown writing talent;  there are also many free events (see here); and there is something to appeal to literature-lovers of all ages, all at venues throughout the attractive seaside town. Find out more about the festival here and see for yourself why the festival is Whitstable’s very own literary pearl.