Tuesday 25 September 2012, 13:51
Next month Penarth will enjoy its first ever book festival, and there will be a big focus on children's books and engaging young people in reading and writing.
It has been organised by the children's author Cathy Farr in conjunction with Windsor Bookshop in Penarth.
Cathy has written the popular Fellhounds of Thesk series and visits many schools, along with her Irish wolfhound Finn, to read to them.
But there will also be plenty on offer for adults with around 30 different authors taking part and a Poems and Pints evening being held at The Albion Pub by the writer, historian and poet Phil Carradice, who also writes for the BBC Wales Blog. He will also be hosting a workshop on how to write an autobiography.Phil Carradice
Cathy told me she hopes the event will become an annual fixture in the calendar and could one day emulate the success of the Hay Festival.
She said: "All of the publishers have been brilliant and I think word is really starting to spread. I am getting stopped in the street by people wanting to hear all about it and people are asking lots of questions at the bookshop. We are hoping it will snowball from here."
Cathy will be talking about Moon Crossing, the second book in her series. The line-up also features Rear Admiral Chris Parry, who will talk about his book Down South: A Falklands War Diary, about his experiences fighting in the Falklands.
Dr Thomas Ashbridge will talk to Phil Carradice about his BBC Two series on The Crusades, while former TS Eliot prize-winning poet Philip Gross and Samantha Wynne Rhydderch will host an evening of poetry.
The festival has secured a visit from Peppa Pig as well as the Welsh comedian John Sparkes - better known as Barry Welsh - who will read stories.Penarth Book Festival poster
Also appearing are the orchestral conductor Owain Arwel Hughes, writers Adele Nozedar, R Arwel Jones, Chris Glynn and Ruth Morgan, Dan Anthony, Suzie Day, Rich Pitman, Catherine Fisher and Dr David Payne.
Rev Dr John Weaver and Rob Griffiths will take part in an evening of discussions surrounding Christianity and science. There will also be a debut writers event starring Catherine Jones, Emylia Hall and Jennifer Cryer.
Cathy said: "There’s been a lot in the press recently about children's literacy, particularly in Wales, and the figures do make appalling reading.
"But I make lots of school visits with my dogs and I can see how children respond when they are read to and how excited they are to meet the authors of books. They love it.
"I hope this festival inspires the children who come to read books and write stories. I am glad that they have become a real focus for the event.
"I feel very strongly about bookshops and that people should keep reading proper books. Penarth is so deserving of this festival because it is a lovely place but we need things to keep it alive."
Cathy said she hoped the event would benefit local businesses and inspire enthusiasm from people in and around Penarth.
The Penarth Book Festival takes place from Monday 29 October to Sunday 4 November. Tickets will shortly go on sale via Windsor Bookshop in Penarth. For full details of events visit penarthbookfestival.org.uk.