Preparations are already in full swing for the third edition of the island’s literature festival taking place in September.
Over the course of five days, Manx Litfest 2014 will gather authors, poets and storytellers for a variety of events for readers and writers of all ages.
One of the headline names confirmed for the event is award-winning novelist Sally Gardner, who has sold more than two million books in the UK alone. Her novel Maggot Moon won both the Costa Children’s Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal for 2013.
Festival director John Quirk said: ‘We’re thrilled to have Sally on board for this year. She’s a huge name, and provides a real kick-start to our plans. We’re right in the thick of the action at the moment, speaking with authors and poets as we look to confirm our line-up, with visiting writers and storytellers lining up alongside their peers from the Isle of Man.
‘We’re particularly excited about playing a part in the Island of Culture 2014 celebrations, and we are working on a few special projects which we hope will help enhance the Island’s literary reputation, and create a legacy for young writers.’
This year’s festival will again feature a writers’ day, with a series of talks, workshops and pitch sessions largely aimed at unpublished writers in the island, and this year’s family day – following on from Winnie the Pooh last year - will be based around the works of Roald Dahl.
One of the focal points of the festival is National Story Day, during which authors and poets visit local schools.
Mr Quirk added: ‘The schools day creates such a fantastic buzz each year. Last year we had a team of 12 authors and poets out around more than 20 schools and the feedback we received from children, parents and the schools was really pleasing.
‘We’re delighted that Isle of Man Bank has again agreed to sponsor the schools day as it allows us to deliver the day free to schools, helping to inspire children of all ages to read more and write more.’
A register charity, Manx Litfest has received funding from Isle of Man Arts Council and Culture Vannin, alongside a number of corporate and individual sponsors.
Mr Quirk praised the volunteer workforce that have helped the event become such a success, and called for others to get involved.
‘We have a fantastic team of volunteers who help out in the run up to the festival and during Litfest weekend,’ he said. ‘We’d love to hear from any other book addicts who want to get involved. If you’d like to give us a hand, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the team.’
Litfest fans can keep up to date on developments by visiting www.manxlitfest.com