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Bookings and

See details included with each event

Tickets for most events can be booked in advance either online, by phone, or from the venue box office.


For most events, you can book your tickets online by clicking the "Book this event online" link beside the event details. All bookable events can also be found in the May section at…


To book by phone, call the number beside the event.


Or, on the day, tickets, if still available, can be bought on the door at each venue.

But please, with popular events, please check first for availability!

The ticket price in brackets applies to people entitled to concessions.


Most evening events scheduled at Swindon Arts Centre are available to buy as a double ticket at a reduced price. But these discounted tickets cannot be bought online. Should you wish to purchase double tickets, please call the box office on 01793 524481.

If you have any queries about booking or the Festival in general, please email us or ring 01793 771080.

Wednesday May 16

Photo credit: © Virginie Naudillon

Helen Pankhurst

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
12.30pm • 16 May • £8 (£7)
Book this event online

HELEN PANKHURST – on Deeds Not Words.

How far have we come in one hundred years, since the suffragettes made their stand, got the Fourth Reform Act and achieved one of the greatest steps forward for women, which saw propertied women over thirty gain the vote for the first time?

In her new book Deeds Not Words, Dr Helen Pankhurst, Visiting Professor at MMU and great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, celebrates landmark successes and little-known victories. She explores one of the most central and pressing conversations of our time, through the voices of both pioneers and ordinary women, and ends with suggestions how to better understand and strengthen aims for the future.

Camila Batmanghelidjh

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
6.30pm • 16 May • £9 (£8)
Book this event online

CAMILA BATMANGHELIDJH – on child protection in Britain.

What was the thinking and founding spirit behind Kids Company? What was its model of care for thousands of vulnerable children? Who were its true supporters? What was lost when it imploded? How well do established children’s services serve vulnerable and disadvantaged children? Any other questions?

Founder of Kids Company, a charity which worked with marginalised children and young people, once named one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK, appointed an honorary CBE for services to children and young people, Camila Batmanghelidjh is co-author, with award-winning journalist Tim Rayment, of Kids – child protection in Britain: the truth, which both explains a few things and looks forward, to show how even the most troubled young lives can be turned around by a new model of support that is far more effective than existing provision.

DOUBLE TICKET £15 for two events:
Camila Batmanghelidjh 6.30pm and Anna Machin & Rebecca Stott 8pm

Anna Machin and Rebecca Stott

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
8pm • 16 May • £9 (£8)
Book this event online

ANNA MACHIN and REBECCA STOTT – on the life of dads, and life with one dad.

Becoming a father and being a father are common experiences. But what does fatherhood do to a man and what do men do as dads? Fifty years ago, a father’s role was thought to be clear: he earned money at work and dispensed discipline at home. But today, dads are expected to do things differently. Evolutionary anthropologist from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, Dr Anna Machin is the author of a new book, The Life of Dad, which is full of fascinating insights into fatherhood from across the globe. It shows the extraordinary psychological changes a man undergoes when he becomes a father, looks at how a man’s genes can influence what sort of father he will be, and how a dad can make a unique contribution to his child’s life.

Novelist and Literature and Creative Writing tutor in the University of East Anglia, Rebecca Stott is author of In the Days of Rain – a daughter, a father, a cult, which is an unflinching memoir of growing up in and breaking away from a fundamentalist sect. It gathers the broken threads of her father’s story, his questions, his doubts, and his longings, and describes his and her family’s experiences within the sect, and the aftermath of their breaking away.

DOUBLE TICKET £15 for two events:
Camila Batmanghelidjh 6.30pm and Anna Machin & Rebecca Stott 8pm

Getting ready for the fifth Swindon Festival of Literature. Poets from Greendown Community School and West Swindon primary schools with performance poet Marcus Moore and Greendown teacher Cristina Bennett.


West Swindon Library Link Centre SN5 7DL
Tel 01793 465555
6.30pm • 16 May • Free!

WESTWORDS: a community in verse, and film… a glimpse into life in West Swindon, 20 years ago!

Twenty years ago, in May 1998, pupils from then Greendown Community School and seven local primary schools spent a number of weeks working with poet Marcus Moore to produce a 671-line epic

poem about a day in the life of West Swindon. It was launched and performed that year at the fifth Swindon Festival of Literature.

Now, twenty years on, a film of an edited version of Westwords: a community in verse has been made by some of the original poets, who are now in their early thirties, with students from Lydiard Park Academy, formerly Greendown Community School.

There will also be an opportunity to see and place orders for copies of the newly-published version of the full poem, illustrated with images of then and now.

Westwords 2018 has been possible with financial support from West Swindon Parish Council.