MATT Holland, director of Swindon’s Festival of Literature, believes this year’s event was one of the best ever.

The curtain came down on the two-week festival, which kicked off on May 5, with a party at the Town Hall on Saturday featuring performances by guitar whisperer Richard Durrant, poet A F Harrold and storyteller Cat Weatherill.

Highlights of the 21st Festival of Literature have included appearances by children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, former MP Ann Widdecombe and journalist Kate Adie amongst others with thousands of visitors attending talks and workshops with many of the events being held at the Arts Centre.

Matt said: “I’m very pleased with the festival and it has certainly been one of the best that we’ve done. I think there’s been a high quality of established guests to come and see as well as a few surprises.

“We tried to give it a slightly different flavour this year and I think it really worked. I feel like a chef who has taken a bit of a risk cooking a slightly different meal and the diners liked it.”

During the festival’s last day, author Rebecca Lloyd, who lives in Bristol, hosted a workshop with aspiring writers who produced short stories.

Rebecca, who recently released The View from the Endless Street and Mercy and Other Stories, said: “The purpose of the workshop is to get rid of some of the great myths about writing. One of them being this idea that a writer is born not made.

“I just hope the group goes away with the belief that if they want to write they can.”

Matt said that he already working towards signing up guests for next year’s festival.

“I’d like to say a big thank to the festival followers, for supporting us, our guests and to my team who have put in a lot of hard work,” Matt said.

“I know it was seen as controversial when the Wyvern Theatre took on the Arts Centre management but I just want to say how good they have been to us and everything looks good for next year.”