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A number of our authors will be giving a talk with the opportunity to ask questions too.

These will be held in the Oak Room at the Graham Adams Centre.

There will also be 2 evening talks during the week before at The Library & The Community Hub at Galanos House.

See below for details.

Speakers for main Festival October 8th at Graham Adams Centre:

11:30 - Oak Room : Chris Burleigh - Poet. 

'Smile - it could be Verse!' This is a fun workshop suitable for children from around 8 and grown-ups together in a small group. We start with something everybody knows, like a nursery rhyme or a fairy tale as a theme, and then take it wherever it goes, with participants offering each next line, with nudges, hints and advice from Chris.

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12:15 - Oak Room : Jo de Lancey

I will talk about the process of publishing your own book. The world of self-publishing has evolved a lot over the years. These days, independent authors have the same tools available to them as traditionally published writers. I’ll talk about the most important things you can do for your book, number one being having an edit with a professional editor or two. There are several different types of edit you can have, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s confusing, but I’ll happily untangle that convoluted web of words. Beware though, there are cowboy editors – yes, they’re out there, lurking in the bushes, waiting to take your cash, and I’ll tell you how to avoid them. Number two, how to find an amazing artist for your book cover. And number three, the thing you do before all this, make sure you have an honest critique partner.

I will also tell the tale of how and why I went independent myself (it’s quite a story), after years of resting all my worth on the shoulders of literary agents. I think my talk would be great for other writers to hear, whether they’re published, are looking to publish, or maybe haven’t even written the first line of their future masterpiece. It would also be good for readers to hear. Unfortunately, there is a stigma around indie authors of how we’re ‘not good enough.’ I’d like to shatter that stigma, having been the keynote speaker at a writing festival in Wilmslow.

13:15 - Oak Room: Nikky Smedley

"Play. Laugh. Shut Up." Is a talk for adults, first given as part of TedX at Warwick University in which Nikky shares her three secrets for communicating with children non-verbally. Nikky has applied these secrets in educational settings, on stage and on TV in her most famous role as LaaLaa in Teletubbies. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.


14:00 - Oak Room: Penny Batchelor & Victoria Scott

Authors Penny Batchelor and Victoria Scott will host a panel discussion about representing disability in fiction.

They are well placed to do this, due to having successfully campaigned together for the introduction of a Disability Fiction category for adults on Amazon UK in 2022.

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Both Penny and Victoria write disabled characters into their fiction and believe that it’s vital and that the community is properly represented - accurately, without stereotyping and with respect.

Penny Batchelor is a wheelchair user. She’s a regular columnist on disability and publishing for The Bookseller, co-founded the #KeepFestivalsHybrid campaign and also the ADCI Literary prize for authors with a disability or chronic illness who feature one or more disabled characters in their novels. She is the author of psychological thrillers My Perfect Sister (longlisted for The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize in 2020, and Her New Best Friend. Both novels are going to be re-released by Embla, an imprint of Bonnier Books, in Spring 2023, including in audio format. Penny is currently writing two more thrillers.

Victoria Scott’s debut novel, Patience, was named the Booksellers’ Association Book of the Month when it was published in hardback in August 2021. It was inspired by her sister, Clare, who has Rett syndrome, and features a non-verbal woman with a lot to say. Her second novel, Grace, was published in July 2022. Both novels are Amazon bestsellers. Her third novel, The Women Who Wouldn’t Leave, will be published by Head of Zeus in hardback, ebook and audio in August 2023.

14:20 Children's Room: Nikky Smedley

Come and join the woman who played LaaLaa in the original Teletubbies in her latest guise as creator and teller of funny and fantastic stories.

Hear who springs from Jamie’s MONSTER TREE,  meet INCAPABILITY BROWN, the greatest inventorentorator in the world and learn how TOM copes with everyone forgetting his birthday. It’s a real storytelling treat, with plenty of opportunity for the children to join in and help with the tall tales. The session will last about 30 minutes.


14:45 Oak Room: Helen Liebling

Helen is a well-travelled woman with a passion for the African Continent, Brazilian and African traditional music. She lived in Uganda where she assisted to set up and run the Clinical Psychology master’s course and then she returned to Warwick University to carry out her PhD research. Helen’s professional life included previously being the clinical lead for refugee services in the NHS in Coventry and establishing services for urban refugees living in slum areas of Kampala.

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Currently Helen is working at Coventry & Warwick Universities as an Assistant Professor in Research in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations and Clinical Psychology. Working very closely with African teams and colleagues, Helen has carried out published research in eastern DRC, Liberia, Uganda, and Rwanda. Helen joined a writing group in Leamington Spa about four years ago.

External Talks

Southam Library Tuesday 3rd October @7:30 p.m.

Helen Liebling will give a more detailed talk about her work and travels on the African Continent and her continued work to support refugees both here and abroad.

Please email us if you wish to attend so we can ensure we have enough seats and refreshments

Southam Community Hub (at Galanos House) Wednesday 4th October @7:00p.m.

Jason Cobley will talk about his book 'A Hundred Years to Arras', which is 

the story of Private Robert Gooding Henson of the Somerset Light Infantry and his journey from the farm to the trenches.His story is that of the working-class Tommy; young men caught between rural values and a new kind of war. It is a story where the land knows no time.

"Early Somerset-set scenes evoke Laurie Lee, whilst the later scenes based on the Western Front bear comparison with Goodbye to All That and Remarque's masterpiece." - Ewan Laurie

'An elegy for a world swept away by the horrors of the first World War. A book written with so much love; beautifully written and deeply moving' - Phillip Gwynne Jones

"deep and touching" - Beyond the Books

Please email us if you wish to attend so we can ensure we have enough seats and refreshments

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