top of page


CHILDREN AND FAMILIES DAY – for all ages, children, and families.
Light refreshments, snacks, and lunches available on site!


Lower Shaw Farm, West Swindon SN5 5PJ
Tel 01793 535534

10am to 4pm ~ 7th May ~ £5

10.30am and onwards – Circle Garden Campfire Storytelling with bardic teller Chris Park by an open fire, in the open air, telling tales from here there and everywhere.

10.30am and onwards – Booky Balloonheads and Word Wigs!
Mixing poems with balloons, who could ask for anything more?! Create your very own Balloonhead from a book-character of your choice, with a Word Wig to boot! Get it? You will, whatever your age. And then, you will go away with a Balloonhead of which to be proud.
Poet and Blue Peter badge winner Sara-Jane Arbury and her assistant Word Wizard Steve Rooney will guide you through the art and craft of making your own colourful Balloonhead creation, to wave about and to take home. Btw, in a few days’ time, if it hasn’t popped, your Balloonhead will begin to wrinkle and look very, very old…

11.30am A Ticket to Kalamazoo – a 30-minutes event for 0-5 year olds.
Come along for a gentle but interactive time with soothing music, poems, and riddles, on bugs, bubbles, and bears James Carter an award-winning children’s poet and non-fiction writer.  His work is translated into lots of languages.  James travels all over the UK and abroad with his melodica (called Steve) and ukulele (that’s Erik).

12midday African/Caribbean rhythm and movement workshop - with Asafo Gyata, Bafana Matea, Michael Fergie, and friends.

7th Chris Park portrait.jpg
7th James Carter portrait.jpg
7th Balloons.jpg
7th Steve Rooney portrait.jpg

1.30pm Weird, Wild, & Wonderful – a 30-minute event for 6-12 year olds.
Ever met an alien? This may be the closest yet! Join poet, musician, and prize-winner James Carter for a buzzy and highly interactive session full of poetic and musical madcappery.  Ever wondered what to say to a fly, how to get a woolly mammoth to sleep or even what’s so great about dung beetles? Whether you have or have not, if you are human, then this is an event for you!

2pm – Searching for a Roarer! – with Kate Claxton.
A beautifully inclusive new picture book from the award-winning author of My Mum's a Tiger. When she overhears talk of A ROARER dancing through the night skies, Maleri knows she must try to catch the magical beast but ends up having an unexpected adventure!
Kate, a children's author, publisher, and founder of Really Rather Wild Books, based in Swindon, takes inspiration from her own travels and adventures, and turns them into stories with heart and humour. 

3.30pm Circus Performance Finale – with Jacob Hi-Ho and friends.

7th Sara Jane Arbury portrait 1.jpg
7th James Carter cover.jpg
7th James Carter cover 2.jpg
7th Kate Claxton portrait.jpg
7th Kate Claxton cover.jpg
7th Families.jpg

All day, look out for the ANIMALS, and maybe even a little bit of PLAY-TIME: ROPE-SWINGING and HAMMOCK-JUMPING in the BIG PLAYBARN!

Come and have fun!

ticket banner 03.jpg

Festival Finale - where the Festival ends!

Festival Finale - a celebration with words, music, movement, and circus skills!


Town Hall, Regent Circus SN1 1QF
Tel 01793 535534 

7.30pm ~ 8th May ~ £9 (£8)


With stories, songs, dance, circus theatre, wordplay, music, performers, and pleasure, this promises to be a fitting Finale for the 30th Swindon Festival of Literature.


This year’s Finale line up will include the following:


Steve Rooney whose friendly face masks an inner sense of profound irony from whence he delivers astute observations from the hard shoulder of life’s motorway. He has performed to baying crowds at Latitude and to seven people on the outskirts of Derby. Now he has made it to Swindon!  

The Rhythm & Roots Collective, aka Asafo Gyata, Bafana Matea, Ndabe Zitha, and Michael Fergie, will take us on a journey with words, movement, and rhythm. They will combine the power of body, voice, mind, and drum to put on a show that is both subtle and dynamic, to raise outlook and celebrate life. Asafo is an African/Caribbean musician, poet, and martial arts teacher; Bafana is a dancer and choreographer from South Africa via New York; Ndabe is a musician and storyteller from Zimbabwe; and Michael is a percussionist, musician, and creator of the Suitcase Soundsystem, in action tonight!

Professor Jim Malone, with a background in Medical Physics and interests in the arts and set dancing, is a long-time Festival supporter, who travels annually from Dublin to Swindon to celebrate Literature, ideas, and life, with us. Tonight, he presents his newly-published book, Tales from the Ivory Tower, which includes accounts of a terrifying car journey through the Kuwaiti night desert and helping a bishop at risk of unfair prosecution. It offers an elegiac view of things Ireland needs but may not quite deserve.

Olivia Murphy sings! She loves singing, at the Dawn Chorus outdoors or at the Finale indoors.

Sara-Jane Arbury is a performer and poet who has worked in radio, television, and Swindon. She has been told that she has an eye for the unusual. What the other one is looking at, she has no idea!

7th Steve Rooney.jpg
7th Bafana portrait.jpg
7th Jim Malone portrait.jpg
7th Olivia Murphy.jpg
7th Sara Jane Arbury portrait 2.jpg
7th Michael Fergie portrait.JPG
7th Asafo Gyata portrait.jpg
7th Jim Malone cover.jpg

Jacob Hi-Ho and Darine Flanagan, two circus artistes, will present a physically fantastic final flourish to help bring the curtain down in appropriately fabulous fashion on Swindon’s 30th Festival of Literature.

bottom of page