Wymondham Words literary festival enjoys second successful year

A Norfolk literary festival has celebrated its second successful year - and organisers are already looking to bring back the popular community event next year.

Wymondham Words, a three-day festival of poetry, readings, conversation and music, began with a sold-out lunchtime talk on Friday with one of the country's top nature writers Richard Mabey.

The weekend progressed with a varied range of well-attended events, including readings by award-winning and emerging writers, workshops, and even a poetry busking event, in venues such as Wymondham Market Place, the Ex-Services Club, the Baptist Church, Becket's Chapel and Wymondham Library.

Writer and Wymondham resident George Szirtes, who is chairman of the organising group, said this year's festival had surpassed expectations.

'I think it went very well and I feel pretty sure there will be one next year. We are still learning about what works best, what times are best for events, what's the best places, so we continue to develop it,' he said.

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'It sprang out of the music festival. I had done a few poetry events for the festival and people seemed to like it and wanted more. Because I have been living in this area for about 17 years and knew a lot of writers locally, I felt I could ask people.'

Mr Szirtes added that Norfolk was home to many talented writers which its residents may not have fully appreciated before.

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'I think they probably are surprised. There is much to be said by the fact there is a writers' centre in Norwich which encourages a lot of writers, and Wymondham is the sort of town where there is support for cultural things like the art gallery and music festival,' he said.

This year's festival included more live music, with musicians being involved in some of the reading events, and more activities for children which Mr Szirtes hoped to build on in the coming years.

Wymondham Library hosted two sold-out events - a fun workshop for young children by Richard Horne and Helen Szirtes, who co-wrote 101 Things to Do to Become a Superhero or Evil Genius, and a creative nature-inspired afternoon where writer Belona Greenwood and artist Kate Munro encouraged families to create a tree from recycled materials decorated with their own words and stories.

On Wymondham, Rachel Harriss, community librarian, said: 'It's lovely because it sort of celebrates reading and the way we engage with reading in different ways. It's nice to have the community get involved.'

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