This year marked the third annual Woking Literary Festival which took place at The Lightbox from 18–29 April 2019.

With over a week of events for lovers of all things literary, the Festival kick-started with a bang (crash and wallop!) from author and illustrator David Litchfield, who took families on a musical journey of one travelling bear and his beloved piano. Little ones were encouraged to explore their creative sides during the session by crafting animal masks and starting their own bear band!

Other highlights included the Bestselling Women of Crime Panel, exploring the processes behind the recently published books by bestselling authors C.L. Taylor, Mel Sherratt, Amanda Robson and Katerina Diamond. The four ‘ladies of crime’ revealed to their audience the secrets behind character development, what makes a perfect ending and how many plot twists should be allowed in a thriller.

The Lost in Literature Quiz Night was perhaps the steal of the show, hosted by publisher Scott Pack, and checking all the boxes for a perfect Friday night out for literary buffs (and not-so-literary buffs, as The Lightbox team swiftly discovered). Guests were well fed by Seasons Café, who put on a special sharing board menu to delight some very hungry caterpillars.

Poetry Day was a roaring success, with 28 open-mic readers performing alongside featured poets Robert Garnham and Annum Salman. Upstairs, away from the frantic fun, a “talented and thoroughly charming” Joseph Coelho, inspired by his newly-released book, ‘A Year of Nature Poems’, talked all things frogs and flamingos, and helped children write sonnets of their very own.

Coinciding with a unique exhibition in the Art Fund Prize Gallery showcasing some of AJ Pearce’s ever-growing collection of WWII magazines and memorabilia, fans were invited to dig deeper into the author’s inspirations behind her wartime London novel, 'Dear Mrs Bird'.

Rounding off the Festival was a Guardian Masterclass by publisher Scott Pack, our Literary Quiz Night host. Workshop attendees learnt the secrets to submitting pitches and drafts of their books and novels, and found themselves "much better equipped to find a literary agent for my romcom novel" (Twitter user) at such a "lovely venue" (Scott Pack). If you missed the workshop but would love to fidn out more, Scott has written a blog for us, 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Submitting Your Work to Publishers.

In support of The Lightbox Art and Wellbeing initiative, all proceeds from the Festival’s Fundraising Events went towards maintaining a free and accessible diverse cultural programme for all ages. The Festival was kindly supported by Woking Borough Council, Nielsen Book and The Tipsy Pigs.

A special thank you goes out to all of the authors, poets, publishers, readers and writers who hosted events, as well as everyone who bought tickets and enjoyed the Festival. If you or someone you know is interested in hosting an event at Woking Literary Festival 2020, please email [email protected]