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One of the key elements of each Manx Litfest is providing opportunities for writers, illustrators and storytellers to learn more about their craft and to challenge themselves against other writers – and for this year’s festival (September 25-30) we have some fantastic events lined up.

Litfest 2018 gets underway with the Poetry Slam at Noa Bakehouse, 8pm on Tuesday, September 25. While the slots for taking part have already been filled, the slam can be an inspiring event for poets – and indeed all writers – who aren’t  taking part.

On Wednesday, September 26 we have two workshops taking place at St Andrew’s Church in Andreas – Spinning New Tales From Old, with author Zoe Gilbert (11.30am-1.00pm) – and Literary Songwriting, with The Bookshop Band (1.30pm-2.30pm). Tickets for Zoe’s workshop are £15, and £10 for The Bookshop Band – however, if you book both, you can have them for a special combined price of £20.

On Saturday, September 29 it is the annual Litfest Writers’ Day – 9.00am until 4.00pm, at King William’s College – with panel discussions, writing masterclasses and a talk from visiting literary agent Jonathan Ruppin, who is also offering 15 one-to-one pitch slots during the day. Tickets for Writers’ Day are £30.

Saturday also sees UK storyteller Ben Haggarty hold a storytelling workshop at King’s Court Theatre (at King William’s College). It runs 10.30am-2.30pm – if you are attending Writers’ Day, you can opt to do Ben’s workshop rather than the writing masterclasses. However, you don’t have to be attending Writers’ Day to attend Ben’s workshop – you can book that separately (cost £25).

While we don’t have an illustration workshop this year, we are delighted to have author and illustrator Chris Riddell (Children’s Laureate 2015-2017) with us – Chris is holding three events, the first for young children on Saturday afternoon (Sept 29) at our Family Day, based around his new picture book, Once Upon a Wild Wood. On Saturday night it is Poems to Live Your Life By - an evening with Chris Riddell, at Noa Bakehouse (8.00pm start) – which focuses on a new collection of classic and contemporary poetry, curated and illustrated by Chris. His final event is Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony, for young readers age 7+ (10.30am, Sunday Sept 30 at Castletown Civic Centre). All these events should be beneficial for anyone who illustrates, or who wants to get started.

Finally, on that Sunday afternoon, it’s the Short Story Slam – which sees writers read out their stories (maximum length of six minutes), with the top three decided by a panel of judges. To enter the Short Story Slam, you need to register by midnight on Friday, Sept 14 – just the name of the story, you don’t have to submit them formally.

We hope all creatives can find something inspiring within our programme – enjoy the variety!

For full info on all the above events, and details of how to book tickets, please download our programme HERE.



Author & illustrator Chris Riddell, creator of the Ottoline and Goth Girl series, is coming to Manx Litfest 2018 for three events over the space of two days.

The Children’s Laureate for 2015-2017, Chris will be the focus of our Family Day at Garey ny Cloie on Saturday afternoon, September 29, which will be based around his new picture book for young children, Once Upon a Wild Wood, to be published by Macmillan in August. It tells the tale of Little Green Raincape as she makes her way through a wood, meeting many familiar fairy tale characters – including Red Riding Hood, Thumbelina, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, the three bears, the seven dwarfs – as you’ve never seen them before.

On the Saturday night, he will host Poems to Live Your Life By, a collection of his favourite classic and modern poems about life, death and everything in between. The book includes illustrations by Chris and will be published in September by Macmillan.

On the Sunday lunchtime, September 30, Chris will host an event for children and families (age 7+) talking about the latest Goth Girl book – Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony – also published by Macmillan in September.

We are thrilled to have Chris, who is the political cartoonist for The Observer, with us for our seventh festival. In addition to his own books, Chris has illustrated for numerous authors, including Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book, The Sleeper and the Spindle), and October 2018 will see the publication of JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard, for which Chris has provided the illustrations.

We will have full details of each of the three events at Manx Litfest 2018, including times, venue and tickets in the next week or so – watch this space!


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.