Readers, writers and bookworms will want to head to Penzance on the third weekend in July to join in the Penzance Literary Festival which runs from Wednesday through Sunday. The Festival attracts authors and writers from all over the southwest.

Background to the Penzance Literary Festival

Penzance Literary Festival started in 2010 and now attracts a good number of locals and visitors to this friendly event. Most of the LitFest presentations take place in the Acorn Theatre, although the Morrab Library, Exchange Gallery, The Edge of the World Bookshop, Penlee Coach House and various other venues around the town will also be hosting specific events.

The festival is organised by volunteers within the local community and anyone with a literary bent will thoroughly enjoy the programme. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to authors and learnt some valuable tips at workshops in the past. You also get to network and meet many like-minded people ‐ and who knows where that might lead!

The festival organisers go out of their way to include all ages and abilities, from youngsters to retirees. It is great for experienced writers as well as those who may be taking up writing as a new hobby, perhaps to write their life story for posterity or to write the novel they had always felt was inside them.

Thanks to the many hours of hard work put in by the committee volunteers, admission charges are extremely affordable at just £2 for adults and £1 for all concessions. They only exception is some of the evening Fringe entertainment which of necessity has to be higher priced to cover overheads.

What to expect at PZ LitFest

Unlike other Literary Festivals in Cornwall and elsewhere in the UK, the Penzance Literary Festival does not rely on big names to draw in the crowds. You will find there are certainly some highly respected and well-known names contributing to the Festival, but anyone with an idea to share or a story to tell about an interesting take on life will find their niche at this event.

The Literary Festival is a great chance to do far more than just browse and buy good books. The festival has round table discussion groups, lectures, authors in conversation, workshops for writers and a broader range of entertainment too.

While writers such as myself headed off to do some of the activities aimed at writers, spouses and children are able to breathe a sigh of relief and head off to find their own fun. Guided tours around Penzance town are particularly popular with non-literary types, who may be attending the festival under duress!

In the evening there are excellent drama presentations, bringing the written word to life in plays, and there is plenty of live music (words in the form of lyrics here!) to keep the festival lighthearted and entertaining for all.

Most of the groups are small and personal so it is very easy to ask a question or contribute to the discussions, so don't be shy about contributing your own thoughts and experiences. As well as learning through sharing, there is time for lighthearted fun and laughter from this very friendly festival.

Penzance Literary Festival lineup

The 2014 programme is not yet released, so to give you an idea of the high quality of guest authors and contributors, here's a rundown of previous attendees:
* Damian Barr author of 'Maggie and Me', (to be serialized as Radio 4′s Book of the Week)
* Patrick Gale who has published 'Notes from an Exhibition' and 'A Perfectly Good Man'
* Salley Vickers author of 'The Cleaner of Chartres' and 'Miss Garnet's Angel'
* Salley Vickers known for both the book and screenplay entitled 'Summer in February'
* Chris Higgins author of 'He's After Me' and other stories

Well known poets will include Ruth O'Callaghan, Angela France and Graham Burchell, along with plenty more talented authors and writers from the Westcountry.

Have you attended the Penzance Literary Festival, or perhaps one of the other LitFests hosted in the Westcountry? Was it worthwhile? Do share below what you learnt or enjoyed and encourage other writers to attend these worthwhile events.