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“Where the arts are undervalued communities are impoverished”

“Where the arts are undervalued communities are impoverished”

Wednesday 29 June 2022

“Where the arts are undervalued communities are impoverished”

Wednesday 29 June 2022


The 2022 Guernsey Literary Festival welcomed more than 8,000 attendees, with 5,000 at ticketed events and 3,000 in schools as part of its extensive festival programme.

This year's festival commenced in May, but last week saw the highest concentration of events. In total, there were 70 events organised featuring 49 writers and speakers, mostly from the UK but also from Ireland, the US, and the Channel Islands.

Festival Director Claire Allen said there was a “real buzz” this year as visiting speakers returned following two-years of pandemic disruption.

“The festival takes a huge amount of planning and organisation and it’s all done by volunteers. I can’t praise them enough. I’d also like to thank our sponsors who’ve kept such faith with us over the last two years,” said Ms Allen.

Honorary Chairman Terry Waite CBE commended the organisers for their “remarkable job,” and said: “There is little doubt that the arts play a vital role not simply in bringing more visitors to the island but also in enabling the community to enjoy a balanced and healthy life.

“Where the arts are undervalued communities are impoverished.  I’ve long been a believer that good language as represented in literature, and good music have the capacity to breathe harmony into the soul.

“The Guernsey Literary Festival is going from strength to strength and is playing a vital role in the cultural life of the island.  I’m convinced it’s well on its way to becoming one of the leading events of its kind in the United Kingdom.”

Beau_Sejour.jpeg

Pictured: Events have been held across the island, including at Beau Sejour.

Local audiences were treated to a plethora of talks by both visiting and local speakers throughout the festival. Some of these included comedian Jack Dee, evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins, UK judge Dame Lady Hale, Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and founder of Virgin Unite Jean Oelwang. 

The 2022 festival has had a particularly good offering of local writers, including; Ben Hinshaw, Jacquie Bloese, Jenny O’Brien, Tish Delaney, Jilly Chadwick, Jason Monaghan, and Frances Russell.

Kate Rhodes, a crime writer, said it was “a real honour to do a workshop at Guernsey Prison," whilst journalist Jonathan Freedland said he had a “very enjoyable weekend” in the island. 

Director Allen said she thought the festival has a reputation for looking after its speaker.

“We have people who come to the island specifically at festival time, and our visiting writers carry away with them the knowledge that the island is a beautiful place and local audiences are great,” she said.

The festival still has two major events later this year. Wild swimmer Kate Rew is coming in September and Yorkshire shepherdess Amanda Owen is coming in October. Ms Owen’s event has already sold out.

Pictured (top): Dame Lady Hale (left). Credit: Chris George. Richard Dawkins (right). Credit: Paul Chambers. Jean Oelwang at the OGH. Credit: Chris George.

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