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POP-UP POETRY, IN THE PARK – with Strawberry Green Productions, Poetry Swindon, and YOU!

Town Gardens, Quarry Road SN1 4EN
Tel 01793 771080
11am - 1pm ~ 8th May ~ FREE!

Got a poem you’d like to share, in the fresh air, with good friends? 
Here is a chance to meet other poets, make new friends, and recite a favourite poem or two, written by you or a famous poet too. 
A kindly crew will be there to support you as you take centre stage and step up to recite your poem on the famous Town Gardens Bandstand.  
And what’s more, your recitation will be filmed and recorded by the poetry-loving Strawberry Green film crew, Andrew Brewerton, Liz Murphy, and team, so that it can be enjoyed by other people, townwide, Wiltshire-wide, or even worldwide, poetry lovers everywhere, who could not get to Swindon’s Town Gardens to hear us say: we love pop-up poetry, today!

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ANNE-MARIE O’DWYER – on The Cancer Guide.

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 535534
12.30pm ~ 8th May ~ £8 (£7)

In 1964, John Wayne said, ‘Sure. I licked the big C.’ 
And thankfully, since then, many others have overcome cancer too; but rarely without going on a very particular journey, either a successful, tricky, or tragic one. And each year, in the UK, 300,000 new cancer cases emerge and set people on this journey. Now, more than three million people are affected.
Cancer has a lot to answer for. It’s entered the language, as metaphor for all kinds of adverse situations. It’s got itself a public profile that other serious ailments, like aneurism, embolism, and uremia, have not. Why?
In her book The Cancer Guide, Clinical Professor at Trinity College, Dublin,
Anne-Marie O’Dwyer writes about cancer with clarity and humanity, helping to combat the myths and misinformation surrounding the disease. It is an informative and inspiring book, which can help patients, loved ones, and colleagues navigate the anguish and trials of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment.

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A DOWNLAND POETRY WALK – with Anna Dillon & Jonathan Davidson. 


The Ridgeway, South of Ashbury
Tel 01793 771080
2pm - 5pm ~ 8th May ~ £5 

To begin the celebrations of the publication of Downland (Two Rivers Press, 2024) painter Anna Dillon and poet Jonathan Davidson will lead a gentle 4km stroll on and around The Ridgeway National Trail just east of Swindon. 
As we walk, there will be a chance not only to take in the landscape but also to hear how Anna’s artist’s eye responds to it, and to hear and share some poems that were similarly inspired. 
At the end of the walk, a snack and cup of tea will await us at Lower Shaw Farm in Swindon, the location for our second Downland event. 
NOTE. Ticket bookers will receive exact details of our meeting place and other information a few days before the walk. 
Artist Anna Dillon was born in the market town of Wallingford but spent the first few years of her life in Wiltshire. Inspired by the ancient landscapes of the British Isles, Anna, a professional artist, has developed a vibrant signature style using bold and strong colour to reflect the form, contours, and light of the land. 
Author Jonathan Davidson, a widely published poet and writer, with a particular interest in how poetry is heard and how it is experienced in the natural world, was born in Oxford, lived in Didcot until the late ‘80s, and frequently returns to the Vale of the White Horse and the Downs. 

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ELEANOR BARKER-WHITE – on her new novel: My Name was Eden. 

Waterstones Bookshop, 3 Canal Walk, Swindon SN1 1LD
6.15pm ~ 8th May ~ £3
via or Tel 01793 436465

Hot off the press, here is a compulsive, didn't-see-it-coming thriller. And you will meet the author too!
In this edge-of-your-seat psychological debut novel by an almost-local author, a mother's experience with Vanishing Twin Syndrome triggers disturbing changes in her teenage daughter. 
Eleanor Barker-White holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa university. She is a published and successful writer of short stories, has worked in HM Prison Service, is a mother of four, hails from Gloucestershire but now lives in Wiltshire, and remains fascinated by the endless capacity for human resilience. 

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JO BELL – with a poetry reading and a conversation about poems.

Presented in association with Poetry Swindon 

Lower Shaw Farm, Old Shaw Lane, West Swindon SN5 5PJ
Tel 01793 771080
6.30pm ~ 8th May

A regular tutor for the Arvon Foundation and Poetry School, a builder of poetry projects for, among others, Glastonbury Festival and the National Trust, a pioneer in building online poetry communities, author of best-selling books on the craft of poetry, Jo Bell is award-winning and widely published, and has written what is probably the best poem about this Festival’s HQ, with no long sentences like this one in it.

Please read it Jo!  

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DOWNLAND – a book launch, with poems, paintings, and conversation, with writer Jonathan Davidson and artist Anna Dillon.

Presented in association with Poetry Swindon & Two Rivers Press

Lower Shaw Farm, Old Shaw Lane, West Swindon SN5 5PJ
Tel 01793 771080
7.30pm ~ 8th May

Downland, a new book of paintings and poems, whose author and creator have known the Downs from Wiltshire up into Berkshire and Oxfordshire for most of their lives, is a kind of guidebook to the most popular stretch of the Ridgeway National Trail, following it as it strides across the Downs, from Lammy Down, just south of Swindon, to the River Thames at Streatley. Downland includes a map pinpointing the locations that inspired the paintings and the poems.
This launch, which takes place in an appropriately semi-rural setting not far from the foot of the Downs, will include short readings, a chance to enjoy projections of some of the paintings in a larger format, and a conversation about what happens when poetry meets painting. 

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TAM LIN RETOLD – oral storytelling show, with storyteller Corinne Harragin and musician Nick Hart.

Presented by Forging Fantastical in association with the Swindon Festival of Literature

The Kings Arms (Upstairs), Wood Street SN1 4AB
7.00pm ~ 8th May ~ £11
Tickets from:

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Inspired by the well-known English/Scots border ballad of Tam Lin, storyteller Corinne Harragin and singer and instrumentalist Nick Hart lead us deep into the Greenwood.
A young woman defies her father. For the price of a plucked rose, she falls in love with someone who is not quite what they seem. These are tales of temptation, pluck, and changing shapes that will take you into the underworld and bring you back out again. 
Opening set from Russ Williams, author of forthcoming book Where the Folk, which explores Welsh folklore and legends. 
Swindon-based volunteer-run arts organisation Forging Fantastical brings talented storytellers from across the UK, to Swindon. 

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