With the team right in the thick of planning for this year’s Manx Litfest, we can reveal one of the headline shows for the festival – renowned storyteller Ben Haggarty is bringing his retelling of Frankenstein to the Gaiety Theatre, to mark 200 years since Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel was first published.
Ben is the founder of The Crick Crack Club and one of the UK’s leading performance storytellers. Accompanied by musician Sianed Jones, they draw on the original story, Hollywood’s cinematic retellings, Greek and Jewish legends, and pop culture, to deliver a powerful and startling contemporary performance, which was originally commissioned by the Hay Festival.
This will be Ben’s third visit to Manx Litfest, but the first time he has performed Frankenstein here – if you caught Ben at previous festivals, you will know that you won’t want to miss this show.
This year’s Litfest runs from Tuesday, September 25 through to Sunday, September 30, with Frankenstein taking place at the Gaiety on the evening of Friday, September 28 – tickets will be on sale via the Villa Gaiety website very soon.
Ben will also giving a storytelling performance for children, and holding a storytelling workshop during his visit – details for both of these will be announced soon.
The line-up for Manx Litfest 2017 promises something for readers of all tastes, with Alexander McCall Smith – acclaimed author of The No1 Ladies’ Detective series – headlining the sixth annual festival.
As well as a host of visiting authors, illustrators and storytellers, the festival features the return of several popular events – including the Poetry Slam, Short Story Slam, Writers’ Day and the Family Day, which this year is themed around the classic Mr Men and Little Miss books.
Many of the events across the six days are free. For those events requiring tickets, all are on sale now – click HERE for full details.
The visiting authors, illustrators and storytellers for this year:
Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors, perhaps best known for his No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, featuring Botswana-based private eye Mma Precious Ramotswe, which has sold more than 20 million books in the English language alone. His other popular series include 44 Scotland Street and the Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries, and he’s also written numerous novels for children. An Evening with Alexander McCall Smith at King’s Court Theatre (King Williams College) will bring the curtain down on this year’s Litfest – it starts at 8.00pm on Sunday, October 1
Former Island resident Chris Ewan returns ‘home’ – Mystery Mann: An Evening with Crime Author Chris Ewan takes place at 8.00pm on Saturday, September 30 at Noa Bakehouse in Douglas and will see Chris discussing his Manx-based thrillers, such as Safe House and Dark Tides
Wendy Moore is a non-fiction author and freelance journalist, whose latest book is The Mesmerist, the true story of the mania for mesmerism (hypnotism) that gripped Victorian Britain. Wendy’s main event will at be at 6.00pm on Saturday, September 30 at Noa Bakehouse – the first part of a double bill alongside Chris Ewan
Melinda Salisbury is the author of The Sin Eater’s Daughter, which was the bestselling UK young adult debut novel of 2015 and nominated for multiple national and international awards. The third book in the series, The Scarecrow’s Queen, was published earlier this year and Melinda will be at Waterstone’s in Strand Street, Douglas, on Friday, September 29 to talk about her books. The event gets underway at 6.45pm
Sally Nicholls‘ new book is Things a Bright Girl Can Do, a powerful young adult novel which follows the story of three girls who join the Suffragette movement. Sally, whose debut novel Ways to Live Forever won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, will discuss her new novel and her career at 11.30am on Sunday, October 1 at Castletown Town Hall and Civic Centre
Chris Arnot has been a national freelance journalist and author for more than 25 years. His books have included Britain’s Lost Mines, described by Billy Elliot creator Lee Hall as ‘an extraordinary gallery of lives and landscapes’, and working with Archers scriptwriter Simon Frith, Chris co-wrote The Archers Archives for BBC Books. Chris will be here to talk about his new book, Small Island by Little Train, which sees him tour Britain’s narrow-gauge steam railways. He will be at St Catherine’s Church Hall, Port Erin, at 7.30pm on Friday, September 29
Author Josh Lacey and illustrator Garry Parsonsbring the latest adventure in their children’s series of Dragonsitter books – The Dragonsitter Detective – to the Island, and will be appearing at the Family Library in Westmoreland Road, Douglas, at 10.30am on Saturday, September 30
The Devil’s Violin brings its new show Stolen to the Island, for a sneak preview before starting a UK tour in October. Combining the magic of music and storytelling, Stolen tells the tale of a young woman who goes missing, and the search for her that uncovers secrets which threaten to destroy her family – 8.00pm on Friday, September 29 at King’s Court Theatre
We’ve tried to bring together visiting authors, illustrators and storytellers who cover a wide range of genres and styles, and appeal to readers of all ages. We are thrilled to have Chris Ewan returning, particularly as he has agreed to become our second Patron, alongside Peel-based crime author Alan Bradley. In turn, Alan has agreed to run a mystery-writing workshop, which we expect will sell out very quickly.
Our visiting authors, illustrators and storytellers will be joined by Island-based contemporaries to take part in our Schools’ Day visits on Friday (September 29), and on the Saturday the Arboretum in St John’s will host our fun-filled Family Day, which will be based around the classic creations of the late Roger Hargreaves’ – the Mr Men and Little Miss books.
Writers’ Day at King William’s College on Saturday, September 30 will feature workshops by Chris Ewan and Wendy Moore, along with a panel discussion with Sally Nicholls and Melinda Salisbury – it’s a must for all writers, whatever stage they are at, who are learning the craft. We are grateful to Pokerstars for its support for this event.
Other events include popular local poet Pullyman – aka Mike Cowin – and Friends at the Embassy Room at The British, the Book Fanatics’ Quiz Night, the return of Press Gang for budding young journalists, and a hub for Isle of Man novelists at the Old Grammar School in Castletown on Sunday, October 1.
To get a head start and catch up on some of the visiting authors, our partner bookseller, Bridge Bookshop (shops in Port Erin and Ramsey), has copies of their books.
We are delighted to announce the first five authors in our Litfest 2017 line-up – Alexander McCall Smith, Chris Ewan, Wendy Moore, Melinda Salisbury and Chris Arnot!
This year’s festival – our sixth – runs from Tuesday, September 26 until Sunday, October 1 and the team is as busy as ever behind the scenes, looking to put together a schedule that hopefully has something for everyone.
Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors, perhaps best known for his No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, featuring Botswana-based private eye Mma Precious Ramotswe, which has sold more than 20 million books in the English language alone. His other popular series include 44 Scotland Street and the Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries. He has also written numerous novels for children.
Former Island resident Chris Ewan is returning ‘home’ to where it all started. Originally from Taunton, he was living in the Isle of Man when his first novel, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam, was published. He has written five Good Thief titles, and several standalone crime novels, including Safe House (shortlisted for the prestigious Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year)and Dark Tides, both of which were set here, with the Island also featuring in his latest title, Long Time Lost.
Given his strong connections to the Isle of Man, we are thrilled that Chris has agreed to become our second Manx Litfest Patron, joining fellow crime author Alan Bradley.
Wendy Moore is a non-fiction author and freelance journalist, whose latest book is The Mesmerist, the true story of the mania for mesmerism (hypnotism) that gripped Victorian Britain. Her other books are The Knife Man, a biography of the 18th century surgeon, John Hunter; Wedlock, the story of the turbulent marriage of Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore; and How to Create the Perfect Wife, the 18th century story of eccentric English gentleman Thomas Day, who took two young girls and educated them in order to choose the best candidate for his wife.
Melinda Salisbury is the author of The Sin Eater’s Daughter, which was the bestselling UK young adult debut novel of 2015 and nominated for multiple national and international awards. The third book in the series, The Scarecrow’s Queen, was published earlier this year with the fourth, The Heart Collector, coming soon.
Chris Arnot has been a national freelance journalist and author for more than 25 years. As well as writing extensively for The Guardian on everything from arts and travel to education and social issues, he has also been a contributor to The Independent, The Observer, The Times and Daily Telegraph. His books include four of the Britain’s Lost series for Aurum. Britain’s Lost Cricket Grounds was described by the Sunday Express as ‘the best sports book of 2011’; Billy Elliot creator Lee Hall called Britain’s Lost Mines ‘an extraordinary gallery of lives and landscapes’; Football and social history were intertwined in Fields of Dreams and The Day We Won the Cup, England then and now; and with Archers scriptwriter Simon Frith, Chris co-wrote The Archers Archives for BBC Books. Chris will be here to talk about his new book, Small Island by Little Train, which sees him tour Britain’s narrow-gauge steam railways.
We’ll have more news soon of who will be joining them in the 2017 line-up…