#chesterculture – Gladfest – Gladstone’s Library – Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September 2016.

The UK’s friendliest literary festival returns Gladfest returns with another programme of the best and brightest writing talents, from old friends returning with their latest books to new-to-Gladfest stars.

The three day literary celebration, held at the UK’s only Prime Ministerial Library in Hawarden, will be welcoming high profile and internationally renowned writers, novelists, poets and academics for its annual festival Gladfest from Friday 2nd September to Sunday 4th September 2016.  Now into its fourth year, Gladfest is back and it’s better than ever.

loyd-grossman_239116kHighlights include Val McDermid (Splinter the Silence) discussing what compels us to consume crime fiction; Scarlett Thomas (The Seed Collectors) who explores her complex relationship with realism and fantasy; Loyd Grossman (Benjamin West and the Struggle to be Modern) on the Georgian craze for history as expressed in books, prints and paintings; Guy Cuthbertson’s perspective on Wilfred Owen and the WWI poets and Richard Holloway (A Little History of Religion) who muses on religious experiences and expressions.


Michel Faber and Sarah Perry will make a welcome return with their latest books, Undying and The Essex Serpent after sell-out slots at last year’s festival.

Further highlights include Sir Anthony Seldon (Cameron at 10: The Inside Story) on contemporary politics and education; Rachel Holmes who delves into the radical lives of Eleanor Marx and Sylvia Pankhurst; Andrew Tate exploring the ruined futures of dystopian fiction; Ian Parks who considers the poetry of C.P. Cavafy and Peter Blair charting the meteoric rise of contemporary flash fiction.


If you’re a little more hands-on, there will be workshops throughout the weekend sharpening manuscripts with Francesca Haig (The Fire Sermon), prioritising workload with Michael Nobbs (Drawing Your Life), using the imagination as a literary device with Peter Moore (The Weather Experiment) and creating comics with Simon Grennan (Dispossession).

fantastic20mr20fox201_1For younger Gladfesters, there’s an expanded programme of Young People’s Events and a series of interactive activities inspired by the books of Roald Dahl who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Young people can explore the poetry of Revolting Rhymes, the characters of Fantastic Mr Fox, the language of The BFG and create prints to take home inspired by Dahl’s marvellous animals and creature creations.

Plus there’s the all-new Gladfest market place filled with the best local designers and contemporary crafts, the Gladbooks bookstall stocking reads from festival speakers (plus the opportunity to get them signed), the Food for Thought servery open throughout the day for delicious homemade hot and cold food, and the Gladbar ready and waiting to serve up festival tipples.

As one of the UK’s only festivals with no green room and no backstage area, you never know who you’ll bump into. Mingle with like-minded festival-goers, share a fireside drink with the authors and really make the most of Gladfest 2016.

For the full lineup click here,
Click here to view the official Gladfest 2016 programme

Friday 2nd September to Sunday 4th September 2016. gladfest20201620speakers
Weekend Tickets: £55
Day Tickets: £30 and Workshop Day Tickets: £40.
Individual event tickets are priced from £7.
For more information call Gladstone’s Reception on 01244 532350 or email enquiries@gladlib.org.

General release opens at 9am on Wednesday 18th May.

Friends priority booking opens at 9am on Wednesday 4th May.
Friends may book tickets for themselves and up to two guests.

Sign up as a Friend for pre-release tickets, exclusive Gladfest accommodation and a host of other benefits.


#ChesterCulture – Lord Mayor of Chester’s St George’s Day Celebrations and Family Workshops – 17th and 23rd April 2016

All you good folk of Chester Town
Come close and listen well
I have a tale of blood and gore
And bravery to tell
Of shiny knights with pointy swords
Of damsels fair and sweet
Of Kings of old with lots of gold
And very smelly feet

Saint George needs you to help fight the Deadly Dragon and save the Princess!

On Sunday 17th April 2016, Chester’s artist and pirate king in residence – Russell Kirk -invites you for a rare opportunity to join him in his workshop to make swords, shields, flags, banners and tabards and then join in on Saturday 23rd April with The True Account of Brave Saint George and  The Frightful Dragon. chsic230414george-11

Now in it’s 6th year Chester’s famous retelling of this timeless legend returns for another mediaeval romp through the City. Accompanied by minstrels, knights and fools this humorous slapstick extravaganza is fast becoming one of the highlights of the year. So ‘Cry God for Harry, England and St George’ polish up your shields, dust down your lance and come join the fun.

Workshops are free and suitable for the whole family but children should be aged seven years or over. Due to the nature of dragons occasionally eating unattended children, all children must be accompanied by an adult. All participants must be available to take part on 23rd April.

Participants for each workshop are limited to just ten people, adults and children combined. Booking is required and is recommended to be done ASAP as Russell’s workshops are always very popular. The 10am to midday workshop is already full and very few places are remaining for the afternoon workshop, so hurry!  Click here for a booking form.

There will be pointy swords, shouting, falling over, bloodshed and DRAGONS!

Lord Mayor of Chester’s St George’s Day Celebrations:
The True Account of Brave Saint George and  The Frightful Dragongeorgedragon
Town Hall Square, Chester
Saturday 23rd April 2016

Family Workshops
Midsummer Watch Workshop
Forum Studio Theatre
Sunday 17th April 2016
10am to midday and 1pm to 3pm.
Edit: Please note that places for the family workshops are now full.

#chesterculture – Big Weather Day – 6th April 2016

Join CH1Bid at Grosvenor Museum for Big Weather Day today, inspired by the paintings by Marcus Usherwood.

Create a scientific storm in a bottle. Use coloured fabrics to make textured sunset pictures. Have a go at presenting a ‘historical weather report’ and follow the weather trail through the galleries.

Nutkins the cheeky squirrels will also be out on Bridge Street today Midday-12.30pm, 1.15pm-1.45pm, and 2.30pm-3.00pm

Grosvenor Museum, Museum Galleries
Wednesday 6th April, 11am-4pm, drop-in
Free with suggested donation of £1.50

#chesterculture – Preview: Weaver Words Literature Festival – Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th April 2016

Weaver Words, Frodsham’s Literature Festival, is back with five days of fantastic talks, events, outings and workshops for you to enjoy, many linked to the festival theme of ‘The Good Life – happiness and well-being’.

Tim Frith, Patron of Weaver Words said: “What better food for the soul than poetry? Our 2016 programme includes performances from Liverpool legend Roger McGough and former Canal Poet Laureate Jo Bell aboard a boat along the River Weaver.

TV historian Dan Cruickshank takes us on a world tour of beautiful buildings, Merseyside footballing giant Neville Southall promises to share his literary goals and actor Gerald Dickens makes a welcome return to present a Victorian evening inspired by his great great grandfather Charles Dickens.”

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The  full programme of events can be found here.

In addition to these events the festival also host a flash fiction competition and a Children’s writing competition, both of which are now closed.

Weaver Words Literature Festival
Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th April 2016
Various venues in Frodsham
Events vary in price and can be booked here

#chesterculture – Carriage Shed Family Fun Day

Put off by the rain this morning but still like the idea of getting out with the the family today?


Then why not head through the archway between the station and The Queen’s Hotel to Chester’s new public realm, Carriage Shed for their family fun day today.

img_0466The venue housed beneath a spectacular glass roof and the stunning original brick work of the original actual Carriage Shed will protect you from the elements whilst still getting you some fresh air.

Local artist Cherry Chung, who is currently exhibiting their ‘A Passage Through Time’ sculptures at Carriage Shed, will be hosting 2 free willow weaving workshops for both children and adults alike.

Where else are you going to get an opportunity to do something like that for free?!? (We only know of relatively rare workshops which would cost you around the £50+ mark)

As well as this the beautiful space will feature street food stalls from local traders including Woody’s Pizza, What’s Your Beef?, Cheshire Ice Cream and  Coffee Vintage Co.


Carriage Shed Family Fun Day
11am – 5pm
Saturday 2nd April 2016
Free entry