Swindon Festival of Literature 2016

Believe it or not, 5th May will be an important date for some of those people who cause us so much grief, the ones who don’t know where their polling station is and just do not care who’s in charge in Euclid Street. They will be heading for the Arts Centre and the Central Library for the events of Day 4 of the Swindon Festival of Literature, which as it happens include conversations with two star comedians, Isy Suttie and Dom Joly.

Of course the Swindon Festival of Literature is all about ideas and in fact I expect that almost all the people in the audiences will have made the time to vote. And for those of us who have to spend Week 1 of the festival doing last minute canvassing there is plenty to look forward to in Week 2. Monday 9th May: guitar virtuoso Richard Durrant will be playing music by South American composers. I heard Richard play in the courtyard at the Central Library, at the Festival launch on Thursday 18 March. The audience sat spellbound. He is absolutely brilliant. Tuesday 10th May: a conversation with Ken Livingstone! Wednesday 11th: Christian Felber, economist, will be talking about his new book “Change Everything – creating an economy for the common good” and discussing his ideas with the audience. Well, a lot urgently needs changing so I’ll definitely be there. I have never heard of a Festival guest being given an entire evening before so this guy must be worth listening to.

That’s just three of many events and if you live in Old Town like me you are particularly lucky because many of them take place in the Arts Centre in Devizes Road. You can pick up a programme at the Central Library, the Arts Centre or the Wyvern, and it’s wise to book in advance because this is Swindon’s big moment and people come from far and wide. This year by the way the programme cover features a fine painting by Swindon artist Tim Carroll.

And whatever the weather, at 5.30 a.m. on Monday 2 May I will be in Lawn Woods, well wrapped up, for the traditional start of the Festival, the Dawn Chorus. It’s impossible to describe this event, just get there if you can, you’ll be glad you did.