Welwyn Garden City to hold first Festival of Words

THE first ever literature festival in Times Territory is being organised, inviting all aspiring young wordsmiths, poets and orators to come forward and take part.

Youngsters aged between seven and 16 with a passion for reading, writing and public speaking are being urged to sign up for the inaugural WGC Festival of Words, which will be held at the Free Church in Church Road on March 19, 2011.

Despite being more than six months away, spaces for the event are already filling up, and the deadline for entries is November 30.

There is a range of categories each child can enter, from reading a poem or a passage of a book from a selection of chosen titles, to composing their own verse or short story to read aloud.

The Festival of Words has been organised by WGC residents Jean Hughes, Christine Hester and Ann Higgs.

Founder and chairman Mrs Hughes said the inspiration behind the festival came from one she regularly attends back in her native Yorkshire, now in its 104th year.

“My experience for running this event is purely as a participator in a long-standing event in Ilkely in Wharfedale, on which we are basing this one here in WGC,” she said.

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“Over the number of years that I have been attending I have watched the children growing in confidence and I feel that this is a fun way of developing character and confidence, which will be a great asset in later life.”

The event has received the backing of Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps, who has taken on the role of honorary festival president.

Mr Shapps said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to develop their public speaking skills and to share their writing with each other.

“As the Festival of Words’ new honorary president I am hoping we are going to find Welwyn Hatfield’s very own Shakespeare or TS Eliot!”

Syllabuses and entry forms are available from Maher the Bookseller in the Howard Centre, WGC, as well as most schools, churches and libraries in the borough.

Alternatively, email Jean Hughes for a copy at jean@fmjock.com