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Celebration of the Written Word at the Folkestone Literary Festival

Aug 28, 2008
Folkestone was a small village in 1066 composed mainly of fishermen and farmers who were cultivating the lands owned by the church at Canterbury. The town was so small that during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, there were only about 120 houses in Folkestone.

By the 18th and 19th century, Folkestone was developed into a soldier's barracks for the Peninsula Wars and stone houses were built during this period. Today, it has become an important area with the Channel Tunnel connecting Folkestone to Europe. In fact, the coast has a magnificent view of France.

Aside from being an important fishing and shipping town, it is also home to the renowned Folkestone Literary Festival that started in 2002. It has become one of the foremost art and literary festivals in Britain. The festival includes lectures by authors, book launches, live entertainment, art exhibits, book swapping, poetry and book readings and literary competitions.

The Folkestone Literary Festival usually kick-off in November 1 and runs through November 9. Tickets are required for some of the events but most of the activities are free to the public. There are various activities and each year, a theme is selected for the days' activities.

* Themed Activities

In 2006, poetry was a featured event in the festival including an Open Mic at The Chambers and a poetry and performance event that featured several new and up-and-coming poets who showcase their works in the Leas Club.

In 2007, a History Weekend was featured from the 2nd to the 4th of the month with talks by David Starkey on Monarchy, London in the 19th Century with Jerry White, Great Tales from English History with Robert Lacey and The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire with Peter Clarke.

* Competitions

The festival also features competitions on different literary categories such as the short story and poetry competition. The competitions themselves are grouped in different age divisions, from 5-11 years old to adult participants. The competition is organized by the Friends of the Festival and it accepts entries from all over the world. Last year, entrants include writers form Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

* Performances, Movies and Exhibits

The Folkestone Literary Festival is indeed a very cosmopolitan event with film showings and art exhibits. There are art installations and gallery exhibits around the town. Last year, a feature on the environment paved the way for the showing of Al Gore's documentary: An Inconvenient Truth.

Other must-do activities in the Folkestone Literary Festival are the tours such as the Tours of the Folkestoen Academy, Creative Quarter and the Green Room. These tours offer tons of educational and creative pursuits for the literary enthusiasts. Aside from the many sights, there are also bookshops and souvenir shops as well as eateries scattered around Folkestone.

The Folkestone Literary Festival has diversified its target audience and further involves families and even children with various activities full of fun and excitement. Last year, the festival featured storytelling day for families, family day, and reading sessions for children.

The organizers are also supporting the literary and artistic qualities of Folkestone. The Folkestone People's History Centre was opened to the festival-goers last year which made known the rich background of Folkestone and its people.
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For accommodation in Folkestone please visit: Folkestone Hotels | Hotels in Folkestone | Folkestone B&B
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