The first Coalville Writes festival (March 8th-10th 2018.) was a page-turner, a festival of writers and writing, poetry and prose and all things word-related, taking place in and around Coalville, and inspired by the town’s culture, heritage and location at the heart of the National Forest.

Highlights included author Joanne Harris (Chocolat, A Pocketful of Crows) who brought her show ‘#Storytime’ to the Century Theatre, with live music, songs and stories.  “I really enjoyed the Coalville Festival: great atmosphere, a terrific venue, and warm and helpful staff. I’d recommend it to anyone.” Joanne Harris.

You can still see the 2018 brochure and events list via the downloads below.

Check back here for details of the 2019 festival as we get them.








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2018 Guest Speakers, Writers and Performers.

Judith Allnatt is an acclaimed short story writer and novelist. Her first novel, A Mile of River, was a Radio 5 Live Book of the Month and was shortlisted for the Portico Prize for Literature; her second novel, The Poet’s Wife, was shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award. Short stories have featured in the Bridport Prize Anthology, the Commonwealth Short Story Awards, and on BBC Radio 4. Her third novel, The Moon Field, described by The Times as ‘deeply moving’, is set in the First World War. HarperCollins recently published her latest novel, The Silk Factory, a beautiful and eerie story of love and memory.  Judith has lectured widely on Creative Writing for universities and freelance for over two decades. She lives with her family in Northamptonshire and is working on her fifth novel.

Emma Bamford is an author and journalist, originally from the East Midlands. She has worked at The Independent and the Daily Express and is currently production editor at Boat International magazine. Her two travel memoirs, Casting Off(2014) and Untie the Lines (2016) are published by Bloomsbury.


Simon Fletcher is a widely-published poet who lives in Shropshire. He’s manager of the Arts Council England-supported Offa’s Press, www.offaspress.co.uk. He’s won various prizes and awards and his poetry has been broadcast on BBC Radio Shropshire and the BBC Asian Network.   Simon is currently one of the ‘Poets on Loan’ in West Midlands’ libraries. His most recent collection, Close to Home, 2015, Headland, was described by one critic as “beautiful, poignant, joyful poetry.”

Joanne Harris (MBE) was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels, including Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. Since then, she has written 15 more novels, two collections of short stories, a Dr Who novella, guest episodes for the game Zombies, Run and three cookbooks. Her books are now published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, has honorary doctorates in literature from the universities of Sheffield and Huddersfield, and has been a judge for the Whitbread Prize, the Orange Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science.

Emma J. Lannie is a short story writer whose first collection, Behind A Wardrobe in Atlantis, is published by Mantle Lane Press. A love of maps and psychogeography led to a TEDx talk and inspired her to explore site-specific storytelling, taking stories ‘off the page’ and creating interactive and immersive experiences in many different locations.

On Saturday 10th She will be reading Coalville inspired stories between:
12:00 – 12:30 at Hermitage FM
12:30 – 13:00 at Coalville library, and
13:30 – 14:00 at Hermitage FM

Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. She wrote her first novel in maths lessons hiding her notebook  under her desk. She’s the award-winning author of two books for young adults, ACID and The Fearless. Both were nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. She runs writing workshops and groups for writers aged 8- adult. She’s also a mentor, supporting other writers, and a reader for The Literary Consultancy, specialising in children’s and YA fiction.

Andy Reeves spent 18 years doing mad interactive drama and writing workshops with Speakeasy Theatre Company, before two years as community Artist in Residence with the Spark Arts for Children and then a spell as Head of Creative Learning with Birmingham Hippodrome- a job which was far too grown up for him. Andy now works as an artist in community and youth settings for Leicester’s Curve theatre, but they have let him out to do this.

As a writer of poetry, Andy’s work has appeared in anthologies alongside names like Ian MacMillan, Michael Rosen, Adrian Henri and others. He co-edited ‘Tales from the Table’, an anthology of food writing from the St Matthews and Highfields areas of Leicester and is happiest helping others find their creative voice in different ways. His 8-year-old daughter describes him as slightly weird, but in a good way.

Sophie Snell is a traditional oral storyteller, nominated for the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence 2013 under the category Outstanding Female Storyteller. As a writer, her debut novel, The Pear Drum recently won the Bath Novel Award 2017 and the York Festival of Writing Friday Night Live Award 2017. The Hand of Glory is a new show, presented here at Coalville Festival for the first time.

Dave Wood bring out the cake – Dave is celebrating his thirtieth year in community arts! He runs workshops in day centres, schools, hospitals, and residential homes. For festivals he comes as Dr Rhyme, adorned with stethoscope. He has been published in many magazines and journals and created a number of commissions. And he doesn’t look a day over…

Coalville Writes is also placing workshop leaders in schools:

Jay Eales is a Leicester based writer. He writes, edits, designs, letters, publishes and teaches comics and has the long-arm stapler
scars to prove it.  He was News Features Editor for the award-winning Borderline magazine and helped run the Caption comic convention for six years. His  super-power is finding barcodes that won’t scan in shops.
Caroline Parkinson is a West Midlands based illustrator. Her illustration style is clean and versatile and has been used in a
variety of media but she is proudest of her growing collection of travel sketchbooks from over 30 countries. Her background is in children’s animation. She enjoys cats, classic cars,comics, and bakes
a mean Victoria sponge.

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