WELCOME TO CLOISTERHAM

4-5 June 2022

... a 2-day-long literary festival; taking inspiration from Charles Dickens

Wordsmithery was commissioned by Medway Council to create and produce a two-day literary festival inspired by the area's literary heritage in Rochester Castle Moat to accompany the Jubilee Celebrations taking place in the castle.  See photos and drawings from the weekend below!

'Please sir, we want some more'

Building on the success of our one-day Dickens fringe festival 'Welcome to Cloisterham' last year; this year, we are programmed an ambitious and exciting line-up of prize-winning writers and musicians to perform for the Medway audience over the two days, in a relaxed literary fringe festival, some of our writers took a good dollop of inspiration from Charles Dickens and the Victorian era, and we were joined by Steampunk group Great Kentspectations, who flung familiars and duelled biscuits!

Despite the 20mph winds on Saturday and threat of rain on Sunday, our festival had a relaxed fringe festival theme, with two main performance tents, the 'Raven' and 'Empty Chair' stages, plus activity tents in Rochester Castle moat.

The site was decorated with yarn art by Mel Carr and crafters, and we hosted two festival artists in residence - Karen Scudder and David Frankum, who drew live interpretations of our artists and audience which you can see below. Can you spot yourself? On the day social media was posted by Molly Moodle Media and event photography by Nikki Price. 

Our full lineup 2022!

Saturday:

‘Be a Dickens Detective’: spot the missing object with Dr Jeremy Clarke of the Guildhall Museum (EMPTY CHAIR) / Gerald Dickens (RAVEN) /  2A-LTY (EMPTY CHAIR) / Thee Droods (RAVEN) / Bridget Nolan (EMPTY CHAIR) / Sascha Aurora Akhtar (RAVEN) / Sarah Hehir (EMPTY CHAIR) / Barry Fentiman Hall (RAVEN) / Spacegirl (EMPTY CHAIR) / John McCullough (RAVEN)

Sunday:

Wordsmithery poets:  Jon Terranova, Setareh Ebrahimi, SM Jenkin, and Rosemary McLeish Poetry Prize announcement (EMPTY CHAIR) / Zack Davies (RAVEN) / Pauline Holmes (EMPTY CHAIR) / Orlando (RAVEN) / Helen Seymour (EMPTY CHAIR) / Jessica Mookherjee (RAVEN) / Nina Telegina (EMPTY CHAIR) / Jah-Mir Early (RAVEN) / Gerald Dickens (EMPTY CHAIR) / Vanessa Kisuule (RAVEN)    

Plus pop-up activities for the young (and the young at heart) including: story walks, steampunk games, temporary tattoos, printing and dreamcatcher making workshops. 

(Our lovely raven, 'Grip IV' was created by Heather Haythornthwaite / The Hazelnut Press.)

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