AN EXCITNG new chapter is on the cards for the Swindon Youth Festival of Literature as it celebrates its 10th birthday next month.

The annual week-long event sees eleven of Swindon's secondary schools welcome scores of authors, poets and illustrators to inspire pupils with their literary creations.

Throughout the festival week, students will words of wisdom from the visitors during talks but they will also have the opportunity to take part in readings, performances and workshops.

Coordinator of the festival Fiona Hardcastle, who works at Dorcan Academy, said while it is a lot of hard work putting the event together, seeing the youngsters become engaged in reading and writing makes it worth it.

“I coordinate the festival but everyone involved at each school takes on a little bit of responsibility of the event," she said.

“It is a lot of work to organise and we starting planning it in January so we can book in all the authors.

“We always work on the Wyvern event first and build everything else around that but it is months of constant emailing to see who is available."

This year, the headline event will take place at the Wyvern Theatre on November 7 when award-winning fantasy fiction author Jonathan Stroud, who writes the Bartimaeus and the Lockwood and Co series, will be giving a talk.

Other big names visiting the schools will be Andy Briggs, Helen Dennis, Alexia Casale, Ash Dickinson, Two Steves, Steve Cole, Andrew Lane, Ross Welford, Dave Cousins, Sarah Mussi, Joffre White, Stan Cullimore, Tom Palmer and Lisa Williamson.

As well as the eleven secondary schools taking part, many of the partner primary schools will also be able to hear from the authors.

This year sees the tenth anniversary of the SYFL, which is funded by the Swindon Association of Secondary Heads, and Fiona hopes the momentous occasion will make the event that much more special.

"From modest beginnings, this well-respected annual event has grown year on year, nurtured by our passion for books and reading," she said.

"We are proud to have attracted so many wonderful and diverse authors and performers and look forward to what year ten has to bring.

“With money getting so tight in schools, I am really pleased we have managed to do it for 10 years.

"Year after year we go back to the headteachers of every school to ask for their support and each one gets behind the event and so all of Swindon’s schools work together.

“Students can often stick to what they know with books until someone says try this and it can make a real difference when the author is there in person to inspire them.

“I’m looking forward to a lot of things but of course Jonathan Stroud’s talk should be very good and we also have Ash Dickinson making a return because he is a big success with the students.”

As well as a number of talks, competitions will also be held throughout the week with the sponsorship of prizes provided by Bower and Bailey, Browns Books for Students, Arval and WH Smith.

The Swindon Youth Festival of Literature kicks off on Monday, November 6 with the inter-school book quiz.