A number of guest speakers have been announced for an arts and literature festival near Swindon next weekend.

Highworth’s first Arts and Literature Festival is set to take over the small market town on Saturday, 12, August.

With a full programme of events, organisers hope the festival will draw in new visitors to the town while promoting the importance of art and literature.

“We are lucky to have so many artists and authors who have agreed to take part and I hope that this will become an annual event,” said Helen Lacey, manager of Visit Highworth who are organising the festival.

“We have worked with local schools, running a competition for the pupils to take part in, and we even designed a beer with Hop Kettle Brewery to be launched on Thursday 10th August,” she added. 

Here’s just some of the pop-up events you can look out for on the day:

Ask your questions to an award-winning author

As the author of 16 books and a New York Times bestseller, Jasper Fforde will join staff from Bert’s Books in Swindon for a discussion about his career.

The talk will take place at St Michael’s Church and doors will open at 6:30pm with the event kicking off at 7pm. This will also be followed by a Q&A and book signing.

For keen writers wanting a more personal experience, there is also the opportunity to join Jasper for lunch at the Highworth Hotel for £20 each.

The evening talk will cost £11 and tickets for both events can be purchased online.

Story time with Neil Griffiths

Internationally renowned author and educator Neil Griffiths will give a talk on ‘the power of reading’, exploring the role that parents play in turning their children into lifelong readers.

The talk is adults only, but Neil will also host a free ‘story time’ for children before his talk begins.

The event will be taking place in Highworth United Reformed Church from 10:15am, and tickets for the talk cost £5.50.

Meet the artists and get involved

For one day only, Highworth will host a range of UK artists in a free exhibition featuring painters, photographers and sculptors. All of the artists listed will be found in St Michael’s and All Angel’s Church between 9am and 4pm.

Learn from world-leading experts

Owen Green is an ex-curator of Geological Collections at Goldsmith’s College, University of London.

Katie Knowles is an assistant national curator at the National Trust.

Both experts will be sharing their knowledge from 1:30pm at the Highworth United Reformed Church, for £5 per person.