Words, words, words… What better way to celebrate them than a literary festival? The WORDfest Festival in Crawley is a voluntary festival organisation that was created by artists, librarians and booklovers in order to bring together the local community through a series of performances, exhibitions and author events. This year, it takes place between 17th April and 4th May in a variety of venues such as Waterstones, Crawley Library and Hawth Theatre and has been offering some really wonderful experiences so far!

Carolyn Murphy, volunteer in the WORDfest Community, gave more details about the festival in general and also about the 28th April, which was the WORDfest Family Day: “The FEST started when someone said Crawley wasn’t ‘the right town’ for such a project…but we did it anyway! It has been going on for 8 years now, and even though our community is now smaller than the one we had at the beginning, it seems to be rebuilding itself through the support received from the Council and also through the new venues that were kindly offered for the event.”

“Today is focused mostly on children and family, and it seems to be very appreciated by the public – our author events are sold out, and we also have artistic pop-up sessions for children and teenagers, which are certainly buzzing!”

I also had the chance to attend an interesting poetry workshop hosted by Mandy Pannet – a guided path of exploration through the interesting world of words. Throughout the workshop, we had the chance to dip into the universe of words we love, words that are funny or odd, even ones that we have never heard before (we certainly had fun trying to figure out what snollylygoster means). From young to old, we all found the experience certainly enjoyable. Mandy had also a good impression of the atmosphere: “I loved meeting everyone who took part and sharing ideas. It was good to have a mixed group including children who were so responsive and I felt the whole atmosphere of the session was warm and supportive. Many thanks for inviting me to the organisers of the WordFEST. It was inspiring and fun.”

The feedback from the participants was also very positive - Ana mentioned that “Mandy was an excellent teacher, she had a lovely attitude and she genuinely enjoyed listening to people.”

There was also another event for children that took place in the same day  - “King of the Sky”, the name of a book written by Nicola Davies, was the centre of the event. Children and parents alike had the chance to listen to extracts from the book read in both English and Arabic; children could then pick a paper bird, write a verb linked to flying on it and add it to the night flight sky board or colour in their own bird.

What a packed day… And there are still some more events to come! For more information about these wonderful festival, you can read more on www.wordfestcrawley.org .


by Ioana Staicu, Oriel High School