Another successful Smithdown Litfest

We have just completed a week of fantastic author events for the Smithdown Litfest 2019. This year was the biggest yet, with hundreds of people enjoying author talks and readings in venues around south Liverpool.

The third annual Smithdown Litfest kicked off in the beautiful surroundings of Grade I- listed Ullet Road Unitarian Church, with special guest Ann Cleeves being interviewed by fellow crime writer Ashley Dyler. The audience enjoyed hearing about the background to Ann’s bestselling series Vera and Shetland, and her new protagonist, Detective Matthew Venn. The photo shows Ann and Ashley with me and the Rev Phil Waldron, who is a great supporter of the Litfest.

The following evening, was a very special event with actor John McArdle, at St Barnabas Penny Lane. John shared stories from his life and career, read extracts from his autobiography You Never Said Goodbye, had everyone laughing with his fond anecdotes from his time as Billy Corkhill in Brookside, and even treated the audience to some Scouse Shakespeare!

The rest of the week’s events were equally enjoyable and interesting. On Sunday, poets from the Quality of Mersey anthology read from their work in the Crawford Avenue Community Garden. On Tuesday it was off to Toxteth Library to hear Peter Hooton of The Farm interview journalist Simon Hughes about his Liverpool history book There She Goes. On Wednesday afternoon it was back to Toxteth Library for a children’s event with author and illustrator Jonny Duddle. Each of the children in the audience received a free copy of one of Jonny’s books, thanks to the support of the Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust. On Wednesday, at Wavertree Cricket Club, international cricketer Tatenda Taibu gave a fascinating talk about his career and life in Zimbabwe. We finished off the week at Bean There Coffee Shop with me interviewing local author Caz Finlay about her popular Liverpool-based gangland thriller The Boss.

Thanks to all the great guests, the venues who support us, and to the audiences. Preparations for the Smithdown Litfest 2020 are already underway!