Support for St Albans Literary Festival

St Albans Literary Festival 2014

St Albans Literary Festival 2014 - Credit: Archant

Support for the inaugural St Albans Literary Festival is going from strength to strength in the run-up to November’s event.

Businesses and community organisations have been pledging their backing for the not-for-profit festival, which promises to be a celebration of literature in all its forms, from children’s fiction and blogging to journalism and self-help books.

Presented in conjunction with the Herts Advertiser, the LitFest is run by a small team of volunteers who are passionate about bringing this prestigious four-day event to St Albans from November 6-9.

The headline sponsor for the festival is The Book Midwife, a locally-based company which offers private coaching as well as workshops and retreats, to help people get their book out of their head and into print.

The showcase event on the Saturday evening takes place in the historic environs of St Albans Cathedral, and Canon Kevin Walton said: “One of the very first printing presses to be set up in England was at St Albans Abbey in 1479. There is therefore a long tradition of literature, and the Cathedral is delighted to be able to support and host this new Literary Festival.”

Another exciting event is a chick lit cocktail evening at Westminster Lodge on the Friday, November 7, which will feature bestselling authors Rachael Lucas, Liz Fraser and Rowan Coleman.

Everyone Active contract manager Steve Cox said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the St Albans Literary Festival and are looking forward to hosting the cocktail evening. St Albans is the perfect place for the festival as it has a strong literary heritage.

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“We hope the local community will take up this fantastic opportunity to meet their favourite authors and we hope young people in St Albans will be inspired to write and read as a result of the event.”

On the Friday evening there will be a chance for young book-lovers to curl up in their pyjamas with a cup of cocoa and enjoy bedtime stories at Waterstones, an event made possible thanks to support from Beechwood Park School.

Head of English Judith McMullen said: “Beechwood Park School passionately believes in books and reading. Children at the school adore reading, looking forward to their weekly library lessons and guided reading groups. Every year, we celebrate World Book Day in style, run a Readathon for children’s charities, Book Buzz, book exchange and even do speed dating…with our favourite books!

“To have a Literary Festival on our doorstep in St Albans is a very exciting venture and one we intend as a school to support fully. Beechwood Park School is proud to sponsor the Books at Bedtime Event at Waterstones, and we will all be there in our PJs to take part in it.”

Other events are scheduled for the Maltings Arts Theatre on the Saturday, and programming director Imogen de la Bere said: “We are delighted to be part of the inaugural St Albans LitFest and celebrate the wonders of great story-telling at the theatre.”

Other organisations involved in the event include Trestle Arts Theatre, 51 Pegasus, Debenhams Ottaway solicitors and Herts Libraries.

Annie Robertson from Trestle said: “We are delighted to be involved in the festival and the wonderful events which will give people the opportunity to engage and participate in arts and literature.

“We’ll be offering workshops to schools based on Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes providing a fun and creative approach to books and storytelling for children, which is at the heart of Trestle’s work.”

Frances Button, cabinet member for lbraries, said: “We are delighted that the library service is involved in the inaugural St Albans Literary Festival. Encouraging a love of reading is a key priority for the service and the Festival supports reading as a pleasurable activity for people of all ages – children and adults alike”

Nicola Bond, managing director of 51 Pegasus, the company behind the Hilton Hotel project at Chiswell Green, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the festival and an event that will help encourage the local creation and enjoyment of literature for all ages, tastes and interests.”

Ian Hopkins, chief executive of Debenhams Ottaway, said: “Encouraging a love of books and reading for all ages is so important. Staging a literary festival in St Albans is great for local authors, booksellers and the whole reading community. We are looking forward to hosting some of the readings and events in our offices in St Peter’s Street.”

If you would like to get involved with LitFest as a volunteer, contact Danny Smith at and if you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities email Claire Walsh at