2019 Festival Roundup

The festival was blessed with perfect weather on the weekend of the 14th & 15th September. The venues were ready, the stages set with the guest speakers waiting in the wings. Having provided a varied and diverse itinerary, we hoped that there would be something for everyone. All we needed was the audiences to come, and they came.

We sold all of our mini cream teas, planted vegetables with Claire Burgess in the Gardening for Kids session, re-enacted history with Coz Crawford and Tim Shephard, and wrote stories of fun and mayhem with Sam Gayton, and that was just some of the activities all delivered for free for kids on our KidsLit Festival strand.

For the adults, the Sue Emm, Mark Stay and Gary Studley ran popular workshops, the panel sessions were lively and entertaining, and the headline session, Terry Waite CBE at the large Christ Church URC Hall was a sell out with more than a hundred attendees included a number of members of the deaf community ably supported by BSL signer Elizabeth Mintzer. In other sessions, visitors heard tales of Wartime Ramsgate, poetry from one of Westgate’s oldest residents Mr Maurice Rutherford, and contemporary award winning work from Maggie Harris. We had a Poet in Residence in Gary Studley and a fantastic open mic session in the Bake House for aspiring performance poets managed by Connor Sansby.

Our Petrolheads Giles Chapman, Nick Evans and Trevor Agnew wowed crowds with a panel session, sponsored by the Bake & Alehouse, Westgate, where they regaled the audience with their automotive anecdotes. We had crime writers Lisa Cutts & William Shaw following Lesley Cookman and Julie Wassmer, all telling tales of murder and mystery. We had a historical insight into the close ties between A.A.Milne of Winnie the Pooh fame and Westgate-on-Sea, and performance poetry with words and music from trio Poetry is Where You Find It.

To round out the two day event we had talks from Author and Creative Writing Expert Dr Jane Taylor, LGBT50+ writer and activist Roger Newman MBE, writer David Scott Mackenzie and award winning author Evie Wyld. Finally we had sessions from social historian and author Tessa Boase and hilarious writer of Diary of a Drag Queen Tom Rasmussen.

We’d like to thank our sponsors for their kind assistance:
Westgate-on-Sea Investment Company, Joanna Cornford who has kindly sponsored venues. Thank you Joanna! Westgate & Westbrook Residents Association, who sponsored KidsLit the childrens’ events helping make sure that we could keep the tickets for KidsLit free for the under 16s, thank you so much W&WRA! The Bake and Alehouse, St Mildred’s Road, Westgate-on-Sea, owner John Morphy sponsored Petrolheads, Westgate’s answer to Top Gear. Thank you John! And The Swan, Sea Road, Westgate-on-Sea, are sponsoring Terry Waite CBE. thank you The Swan! This event would not have been possible without the sponsorship we received. Thank you all!

We announced the winners of our inaugural Westgate Literary Festival Short Story competitions and the winner of the Dee May Award for Fiction.

The standard of entries in the children’s competitions was remarkably high and the judges found it very hard to choose between them. The judges send their congratulations to everyone who entered for their excellent work. Please see below where the winners are published by category. We will be contacting the winners directly to pass on their prizes.

Young Writers 8-11

1st place –  “Run” by Tyler C.
2nd place  – “Mermaid Mishap” by Tamsin O.
3rd place – “Her Mind” by Ella G.

The Literary Festival Director’s Choice for Highly Commended – “Westgate Under The Sea” by Lottie P.

Top Prize £10 Waterstones Voucher, 2nd & 3rd Placing £5 Waterstones Voucher.

New Teen Writers 12-14

In this category the Judges awarded additional prizes due to the very high standard of the work received.

1st place – “Westgate Key” by Mia C.
Joint 2nd place – “Ghost Train Driver” by Max B.
Joint 2nd place – “The 9.05” by Ruby P.
Joint 3rd place –  “The Haunting” by Matilda A.
Joint 3rd place – “Green Knight” by Maddie W.

Literary Festival Director’s Choice for Highly Commended “I was strolling around on Westgate Beach” by Johnny F.

Top Prize £10 Waterstones Voucher, 2nd & 3rd Placing £5 Waterstones Voucher.

Adult Category

1st place – “The Dream House” by Judith Northwood-Boorman
2nd place – “The Rescue” by Kittie Lambton
3rd place – “Boy Night” by Ciarán McCabe

Literary Festival Director’s Choice for Highly Commended “Shaggy Dog Story” by Keith Woodward

Top Prize £35 for the winner, £25 for 2nd and £20 for 3rd

Dee May Award for Fiction

1st “Put on a Happy Face” by Patricia Mahoney
2nd “Tapestry of Life” by Christine King
3rd “That Woman in the Mirror” by Janet Seaward

Literary Festival Director’s Choice for Highly Commended “Forgetfulness” by Janet Olearski

Top Prize £100

And now the work begins on the 2020 Westgate Literary Festival!

See you next year!