The headlining author of Manx Litfest, Sunday Times best-selling writer Sophie Hannah, can no longer attend the festival in person and will instead be holding a masterclass online.

Despite the change in schedule to the six-day event, organisers are confident there is a wide range of events to suit a variety of book-lovers.

Manx Litfest gets under way with a Book Fanatics’ Quiz Night at Santander Work Cafe, in the old Market Hall, Douglas, on Tuesday, September 26 at 7.30pm.

And it closes at the same venue on Sunday, October 1 at 8pm with a talk by Elise Downing on her book, Coasting, about becoming the first woman and youngest person to run a lap of Great Britain self-supported in 2016.

Festival director Helen Jessopp told Island Life: ‘While we are saddened that, due to family circumstances, Sophie Hannah can no longer join us in person for Manx Litfest, we are pleased to report that she has agreed to hold her incredible masterclass via Zoom as an online event.

‘Anyone who would like to attend, but does not have access to Zoom, can get in touch with us and we will do what we can to help.’

She added: ‘We still have an incredible array of events happening across the Isle of Man, in our six-day festival, with the return of much loved events such as the Book Fanatics’ Quiz Night and Writers’ Day, as well as events for young and old readers alike.

‘The team is gearing up the preparations for the festival, and we are so excited by all of the events we have planned this year.

‘We hope that they will inspire the local community, whether they are readers, writers, or a mixture of the two.’

This year is the 10th annual festival.

Fiona Laing will be talking about how she got into writing gin guides at the Fyn Bar in Ramsey.

It includes a gin and tonic on arrival as well as samples. The event takes place on Wednesday, September 27, at 7.30pm.

Contemporary storyteller Ben Haggarty returns to Manx Litfest to perform his one-man-show, Greek Myths Unleashed: Atlanta, at Peel Centenary Centre on Friday, September 29 at 7.30pm.

The Friday will also see Sophie, who writes mysteries for Poirot to crack, host her online masterclass at 10am.

Saturday, September 30 is a busy day for Manx Litfest.

Writers’ Day at St Ninian’s Church, in Douglas, will include masterclasses, workshops and talks from island and visiting authors, plus a talk from a literary agent on how to contact and approach agents and publishers when looking for representation and publication.

Award-winning literary agent Hayley Steed, of Madeline Milburn Literary Agency, has pitch slots for island writers to get one-to-one advice and feedback on their manuscripts. And Ben will lead a full-day storytelling workshop.

For youngsters, Clara Vulliamy (Dixie O’Day, Dotty Detective and Marshmallow Pie the Cat Superstar) and children’s book illustrator Jenny Løvlie will be at the Family Library, in Douglas, to lead a free child’s storytelling session/illustration workshop.

It takes place at 2pm.

And award-winning transgender performance poet Jay Hulme will compere Celebration of Poetry at the old Market Hall that evening from 7pm. The competition will feature up to 20 poets who will each perform a three-minute poem.

The final day, October 1, includes a poetry workshop hosted by Jay at Windsor Coffee, in Douglas, and he will later perform at the old Market Hall.

For more details about the festival line up visit

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