The Sturminster Newton Literary Festival 15th June 2019

A quick update on our forthcoming literary festival.

The June 15thdate is now finalised and we are in the process of getting all the permissions and insurances we need.In the next few weeks we will be contacting a few retailers to make sure they are aware of the festival and the opportunities that it presents for them.

A giant party

Our theme for the day is a giant Victorian literary picnic party.

Costume, plays, poetry, music and dance, get the family up in costume and bring a picnic into the centre, take a walk to several of Sturminster’s beautiful heritage sights, get transported to Australia (not really) but most importantly bring yourselves and your kids and help create a great town atmosphere. Bring a picnic, we will make The Railway Gardens a lunch friendly location for the day.

Come in costume

Sturminster Newton-The Sturminster Newton Literary Festival 15th June 2019 1

During the day families will be invited to attend the festival in Victorian costume. People can come as milkmaids or suffragettes (i think they started in the post Victorian era but the dress changed very little until after WW1.) Men why not come as a Cow Hand or in the spirit of equality a cross channel swimmer in the style of Captain Webb?

There will a be a prize judging going on all day. Our stewards will make themselves known to those in costume and take their details and we will award prizes for the best Children’s costume and the best family ensemble. To make you feel more comfortable the stewards and hopefully some of the retailers will also be in costume. The final decision will be made at 3:00pm and announced and awarded (we hope) at the event control centre in Railway Park.

The day’s running order has yet to be finalised but we do know a few activities that will take place.

 Poetry and prose readings

Throughout the day there will be poetry and readings from each of our great poets, Hardy, Barnes and Young around the Town. The times and venues will be confirmed nearer the day. These will be delivered by many volunteers including members of the Hardy players and the Barnes Society.

Events at the Exchange

  • Local Authors
  • We have several events going on at The Exchange during the daylight hours. These will include current local authors talking about their professions and their books with signings going on during the lectures. The list of authors is being finalised as I write and we will declare them as soon as is they are contractually obligated.
  • The Hardy Players
  • In the evening the Hardy players have agreed to put on a smorgasbord of entertainments taken from Hardy’s work. Readings, playlets, song etc…This is the only event that we will ask you to pay for.
  • Creative writing workshops
  • There will be a number of these both at the Exchange and the Library. They will be aimed at young children aged 6 to 76.

A new walk around Sturminster

On the day of the festival we will be inaugurating a completely new walk around the town intended to take you past famous locations and sites associated with our authors. The walk has been designed by us with help from NDDC and Jan Wardell of the Ramblers and will come with a brand-new leaflet like those setting out the other walks around Sturminster. For this day only, stewards (in costume!) will be providing some guidance and occasionally more background about the relevance of the locations to the authors work. If you want to be a steward email me contact details at [email protected]

Victorian toys in the recreation ground

We will be making several Victorian toys for and games used by children pre iPad, iPhone, screen, WhatsApp, Facebook and so on. Children will be actively encouraged to have a go.


There will be a couple of singing groups visiting locations (hopefully different ones at different times to the readers) to provide an appropriate musical accompaniment to the day. They may on occasion be accompanied by a dancing troupe of two. If you know of singing or dancing (or even and all singing and all dancing) groups who might like to join in then let us know by email to [email protected]As you can see we are setting out to create a giant party for the town.

There is to be a choir and a dance troupe of two.

Picnic on the gardens

The Railway gardens will be decked out as a picnic area for the day. Bring along your own food and drink (especially drink). Again watch this space.

There will be lots more attractions to be announced as the days go by.