Gladstone’s Library’s Writers in Residence 2017 Shortlist Announced. #chesterculture

Gladstone’s Library has revealed the names of the 10 writers shortlisted for its prestigious Writers in Residence award for 2017.

This year’s submissions were drawn from a pool of entries from around the world.
To qualify for consideration, all applicants had to submit a book published in the last three years as well as a short piece of writing on liberal values.

Now into its sixth year, the Writers in Residence programme, established in association with Damian Barr (saloniere and author of Maggie and Me), was set up to explore and define liberal values in the twenty-first century.

The shortlist is made up of novels, poetry and creative non-fiction that, in the eyes of the panel of judges of authors, industry experts and members of the Gladstone’s Library team, best represent some of the most creative contemporary writing.

The ten shortlisted titles for 2017 are:

  • William Atkins, The Moor: A Journey into the English Wilderness (Faber & Faber, 2014)
  • Elaine Beckett, ‘Faber New Poets 13’ (Faber & Faber, 2016)
  • Penny Boxall, ‘Ship of the Line’ (Eyewear Publishing, 2014)
  • Caroline Brothers, The Memory Stones (Bloomsbury Circus, 2016)
  • Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Harmless Like You (Sceptre, 2016)
  • Nancy Campbell, Disko Bay (Enitharmon Press, 2015)
  • Lauren Elkin, Flâneuse: Women Write the City (Chatto & Windus, 2016)
  • Pippa Goldschmitt, The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space (Freight Books, 2015)
  • Antonia Honeywell, The Ship (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2015)
  • Mab Jones, Take Your Experience and Peel it (Indigo Dreams, 2016)
  • Jacqueline Saphra, If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women (The Emma Press, 2016)
  • Ruth Scurr, John Aubrey: My Own Life (Vintage, 2015)

Four of these authors will now be awarded a month’s residency at the Library in Hawarden.

“The Gladstone’s Library Writer in Residence programme continues to go from strength to strength,” said Warden of Gladstone’s Library, Peter Francis. “This is thanks, in part, to the support and generosity of our sponsors, in particular that of Joanna Munro, but also to the continual high standard of applicants. We are hugely proud that the programme continues to attract the very best in contemporary creative writing and are looking forward to revealing our four winners in October.”

This year’s judging panel consists of Senior Strategy Director at FutureBrand and Trustee of Gladstone’s Library, Freddie Baveystock; writer and journalist Peter Moore; author and journalist Melissa Harrison; poet Judy Brown; Peter Francis, Warden of Gladstone’s Library and Director of Collections and Research at Gladstone’s Library, Louisa Yates.

Judging takes place on Friday August 5th and the winners will be announced on Monday October 3rd at the National Liberal Club in London when the four winning authors will read from their work.

Tickets for this Writers in Residence 2017 launch event are priced at £10, to register your interest, call 01244 532350 or email


#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

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.


Dear Diary: September means GLADFEST

Dear Diary: September means G L A D F E S T 2 0 1 3

Chester; do you realise how lucky you are?

Just now it seems that hardly a day goes by without news of some fantastic local first.  Another one to add to the glories is GladFest at Gladstone’s Library.

On Friday 6th September Gladstone’s Library will launch its own festival for readers, writers and book lovers.

window This is an opportunity to get impressively high on words.  The offering spans genres from crime fiction to children’s writing, runs from a poetry open mic to bibliotherapy; offers interaction and workshops.

The festival begins on Friday evening with welcome drinks and the first event and continues through both Saturday and Sunday.

It is a world of books and the world in words. Glance through Thatcher’s Britain, female bodies, Chester’s department stores, faith, belief and religion, Victorian murder mystery and keep on going.

FigureThere are writers, poets, performers, thinkers and educators that a London-centric press could bluster about and make grandiose.  The festival speaks clearly on its own account courtesy of the library’s web-link:  Here you will find details of the courses and workshops that run over the weekend, ticket prices and booking details.

GladFest is about access to some of the authors who visit the library regularly with the addition of a few new faces and it is a great time to make a first visit to the library.  Over the weekend there will be much to take part in but also a chance to make contact with the place; maybe use the lovely Gladstone Room to read.

LibraryThe library is a legacy; a gift from William Gladstone, politician and statesman and stands as tribute to all those who have worked since to further his vision. Centred around and developed from Gladstone’s own collection of books it offers opportunity and permission for learning and debate.  This is a place for the life of the open mind.

7 miles by road from Chester and accessible by train and bus; all this makes the library a local treasure.  Its offering of overnight accommodation is a wonderful way to extend that access if you have more time or live further afield.

There is icing on the cake in the form of ‘Food for Thought’, the on-site restaurant if you should need further reason to visit.  Here you will find excellent meals, tea and coffee and of course; cake.

IMG_3709Contact the library for further information.

Tel: 1244 532350.  Their office is available 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am until 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Alternatively make contact by email: