Welcome to Minehead Literary Festival

Fact is the New Fiction – writing in a post-fiction world

In the light of our happy day in 2019 and our wish to bring a bigger and better Minehead Literary Festival to you in 2020, we have given a great deal of thought to rescheduling the festival in October, after postponing it in April.  

However, as there is still such a degree of uncertainty, particularly when we start heading into the winter without a vaccine, we feel that our plans could be weighed down by so many Covid-related considerations that it could put a bit of a damper on proceedings or – at worst – could be doomed to fail.

We were really looking forward to presenting our exciting programme of speakers but now we think that, under the circumstances, it might be wiser to review the situation early next year when we might have a clearer idea of how things are going to develop and can rethink our plans accordingly.

If you have booked tickets for this year’s festival, we suggest you contact Monica Hartwell for a refund either by telephone on 01643 703921 or email mineheadliteraryfestival@gmail.com

All the very best and thank you for your support,

Victoria and all of us at Minehead Literary Festival

Sam Angus announces winners of the Minehead Literary Festival under 16s short story competition

Novelist, biographer and critic Dame Margaret Drabble heads the line-up of speakers at Minehead Literary Festival 2020, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday April 25 and 26 at the Methodist Hall, Minehead.

Popular children’s author Sam Angus, whose first book Soldier Dog will be released as a movie this year, talks about historical events as inspiration for her writing.

Exmoor writer and harpist Hazel Prior talks about her first two novels Ellie and the Harp Maker and Away with the Penguins, which will be published in March.

Cartoonist Kipper Williams, who has drawn cartoons for The Spectator, Private Eye and The Oldie among many other publications, talks about telling stories through cartoons in Talking Cartoons.

Film maker and television director David Parker gives an illustrated talk about the interviews he recorded in 1994 with Laurie Lee, who notoriously didn’t ‘do’ television, giving a rare insight into the experiences that shaped one of England’s great 20th Century writers and author of the much beloved Cider with Rosie.

Hazel Prior will also give a workshop on writing fiction and getting it published.

A writing competition, with separate classes for adults and children, will be organised in the run-up to the festival.

TimDeePortrait - Home

Claire Spottiswoode

Meet the 2020 speakers…

Margaret Drabble

MLF Margaret Drabble Portrait 1024x1024 - Home

Sam Angus

MLF Sam Angus Portrait oj4n1s57prixpqd0aelvajv0vdmsa15mqfuqnegvqw - Home

Hazel Prior

MLF Hazel Prior Portrait oj4n0g7g17pb9man2bvw9dyikq72dgvbjukz6afyk8 - Home

Kipper Williams

MLF Kipper Williams Portrait - Home

David Parker

MLF David Parker Portrait - Home

Lionel Ward

MLF Lionel Ward Portrait - Home
Don’t miss out… Buy your tickets today for a guaranteed place

Creative writing workshop with Hazel Prior: Writing fiction and getting it published

Fiction is a joy – and a challenge – to write. Ideas, characters, plot, setting, structure, voice – there’s so much to pull together. In this workshop, we’ll look at the elements that make a really good story. We’ll examine common mistakes made by budding writers and discover some self-editing tips and tricks. Finally, we’ll explore the different pathways to publication. Bring your pen and your thinking cap.

Saturday April 25, 2.45 to 4.15pm – The workshop will take place in the lounge of the Methodist Hall.  Tickets must be booked separately.

Also participating in Minehead Literary Festival 2020…

MLF Tessa Hadley 2019 Home Page oj9pdppqj9nr75sxbqttpmk85qqluuwmkzqr5atkqs - Home

Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley is one of the country’s foremost writers of novels and short stories and won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize in 2018. She has written six novels – including The London Train and also The Past, which won the Hawthornden Prize – and three collections of short stories. Bad Dreams and other stories was published in 2017 and her latest novel Late in the Day was published in 2019. Tessa also writes short stories regularly in the New Yorker, reviews for The Guardian and The London Review of Books, and is a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She was awarded a Windham Campbell prize for Fiction in 2016.

Left: Tessa at MLF 2019

MLF Pamela Holmes 2019 Home Page oj9pdwalv3wrgfjd9bo7p2wgbfu6cqmqxwb5i8jtj8 - Home

Pamela Holmes

Pamela is the author of short stories and novels. The winner of the Jane Austen Short Story Award 2014, her novels are The Huntingfield Paintress and Wyld Dreamers, which is set in Somerset. Pamela has developed a film script of The Huntingfield Paintress and is now working on a third book.

In 2019 she appeared at Chiswick Book Festival, Swindon Spring Festival, Felixstowe Book Festival, Two Rivers Book Fest and Minehead’s first literary festival (which was the best!). She also gave writing workshops at libraries and community events.

Left: Pamela at MLF 2019

Margaret Drabble, Tessa Hadley, Pamela Holmes and Kipper Williams will take part in the closing panel discussion: Fact is the New Fiction – writing in a post-fiction world.

Fringe event run by Cafe Write, Sunday 26th April  10:30am – 12:30pm – https://cafewrite.wildapricot.org/CW-at-MLF

2020 programme for the day…

Saturday 25 April


Registration and coffee

10.30 – 11.15am

Sam Angus – Historical Events as Inspiration

11.15 –11.45am

Presentation of children’s short story competition prizes

11.45 – 12.30pm

Hazel Prior – Harps and Penguins

12.45 – 1.45pm


2.00 – 2.45pm

Margaret Drabble – Telling Stories and Telling Lies: A post-fiction world

2.45 – 4.15pm

3.00 – 3.45pm

Teatime creative writing workshop with Hazel Prior (Lounge)

Lionel Ward – Brendon Books 30 years on (Main Hall)

4.15 – 5.00pm

Kipper Williams – Talking Cartoons

Sunday 26 April

2.00 – 3.00pm

David Parker – Laurie Lee – Down in the Valley – The Lost Recordings

3.00 – 3.30pm

Tea and book signing

3.45 – 4.45pm

Q&A with a panel of writers:
Margaret Drabble, Tessa Hadley, Pamela Holmes, Kipper Williams discuss Fact is the New Fiction – writing in a post-fiction world

4.45 – 5.00pm

Presentation of 16+ short story competition prizes

Sponsored by

Follow us on Social Media


Join our newsletter for latest updates and ticket information…