A brand new literary festival is bringing more than 70 writers to Kent for 10 days.
Medway River Lit will launch in June, with best-selling authors, West End playwrights, acclaimed poets, spoken word performers and a celebration of Charles Dickens taking over the Medway towns.
The event has been organised by Wordsmithery and is the first literary festival to take place in the area for 25 years.
Award-winning poet Caroline Bird will launch the festival with a multi-arts celebration at Chatham Library on Friday, June 2.
There will be poetry readings, a poetry walk around the Intra area and a live performance from Caroline Bird, as well as the official sealing of the Estuary Sound Ark’s time capsule.
The capsule includes more than 2,000 pieces of poetry, compositions and sounds submitted by members of the public and will not be opened again until 2122.
Sam Hall, of Wordsmithery, said: “We are excited to celebrate Medway’s long connection with words and writing.
“From the Textus Roffensis at Rochester Cathedral, to writers such as Charles Dickens, Anne Pratt, and Rosemary Tonks, to the DIY-ethos of the Medway Poets publishing and designing their own books, Medway has always been a place where words ebb and flow like the River Medway, and this new festival will celebrate our literary past, and our future – in workshops, talks, exhibitions and more.”
Writing workshops, live readings and open mic nights will take place at venues such as Rochester Cathedral, St Margaret’s Church in Rainham, the Medway Adult Education Centre, the Guildhall Museum, Chatham Library and Eastgate House over 10 days.
The final weekend of the festival will centre around one of Britain’s most famous novelists, Charles Dickens.
The Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol author was a former resident of the Medway towns and, to honour his legacy, there will be a range of activities taking place at Rochester Castle on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11 for the Dickens Summer Weekend.
There will be interactive theatre performances, family games, a Victorian circus workshop, jugglers and street entertainers, a traditional funfair and a parade, all taking place between 11am and 5pm.
Dee O’Rourke, of Medway Council, said: “This exciting new festival celebrates storytelling in all of its mediums with a diverse line-up of international creatives alongside Medway’s outstanding home-grown talent.
“We are incredibly proud of Medway’s historical links, particularly to Charles Dickens and Medway River Lit will celebrate it all with the Dickens Summer Weekend.
“I would encourage Medway’s budding poets and writers to take part in the dedicated sessions for children and young people. We are proud of how brilliantly talented Medway’s young people are and providing them with these opportunities supports our aspiration to become even more child-friendly.”
Medway River Lit takes place from Friday, June 2 to Sunday, June 11 at various locations around Medway.
You can find more information on the Visit Medway website.