Litfest Blog

Although the main Litfest takes place over a few busy days in early July, the Litfest team work hard all year to research and plan for the next year’s event.

In the Litfest Blog, we will share our experiences of running a Litfest as well as our thoughts on books and writing new and old. Watch out for guest authors as well as team members.

Book Review: The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

06 Jul 2020 by Litfest
Review by Paul Hunter Sophie Ratcliffe is a fortysomething Oxford professor of English, who is also a writer and critic. This book is an engaging read and relatively short, although in keeping with the author’s background ends with 40 pages of quotations, further reading and acknowledgements. Loosely it’s a memoir of some parts of Ratcliffe’s […]

Book Review: The Carbon Buddy Manual by Colin Hastings

29 Jun 2020 by Litfest
Review by Linda Camidge Everyone needs an in-house lockdown buddy –preferably one that’s interesting, stimulating and non-threatening.  The Carbon Buddy Manual meets all those criteria, and although it’s disappointing not to be able to welcome Colin Hastings to Penzance Literary Festival in person this year, reading his book is the next best thing. The continuing […]

Quarantine: history repeats itself

15 Jun 2020 by Litfest
LitFest team member Robin Knight, who has a professional background in immunology, explores a medieval practice with renewed relevance for our own time. This year’s LitFest theme was to be Breakaway, but the event had to be cancelled because of ‘the outbreak’. Instead of being free to do as we wished we have been restricted, […]

LitFest in Lockdown: We talk to Liz Fenwick

06 May 2020 by Litfest
In the fourth of our interviews with local literary figures, novelist Liz Fenwick gives Rachel Viney the lowdown on meeting a lockdown deadline, daily ‘plot walks’ and the importance of kindness. You’ve been working on a new novel. Did you make any changes to the story as a result of the coronavirus pandemic? I think […]

LitFest in Lockdown: We talk to Tim Hannigan

16 Apr 2020 by Litfest
In the third of our interviews with local literary figures, the travel writer and regular LitFest contributor Tim Hannigan shares some recent reading discoveries, reveals the one item he’d panic-buy and admits to some ‘judicious trespassing’. Interview by Rachel Viney. You’re in lockdown in Ireland. Are restrictions there similar to those in the UK – […]

LitFest in Lockdown: We talk to Lisa Di Tommaso

07 Apr 2020 by Litfest
In the second of our interviews with local literary figures, Rachel Viney talks to the Morrab Library’s Lisa Di Tommaso about working from home, helpful reads for tough times and the importance of custard creams. What is the biggest ‘plus’ of the lockdown for you as a librarian? I’m fortunate enough to be able to […]

LitFest in Lockdown: We talk to Patrick Gale

03 Apr 2020 by Litfest
In the first of a series of interviews with local literary figures, Rachel Viney talks to our Patron, the novelist Patrick Gale, about life in lockdown, how he’s staying sane, new writing discoveries and much more besides … Which aspect of lockdown are you most enjoying?The excuse to sit at my desk for hours on […]

Borders I’ve known

01 Mar 2019 by Litfest
With cold beer in my hand, I watched the sun setting over southern Angola just across the Kavango River flowing at the bottom of the Guest House garden. Behind me lights were coming on, the town market buzzing with activity, optimism returning now SWAPO had freed Namibia of South African rule. But across that border […]

Wordsmiths of West Cornwall

17 Aug 2018 by Litfest
We all have our favourite local authors –  Patrick Gale perhaps, or Liz Fenwick, or another of the host of other contemporary writers  who know and represent West Cornwall. New voices are coming in all the time – during the 2018 Festival we were delighted to introduce (amongst others) Raynor Winn, Noel O’Reilly, and Ken […]

The Making of Historical Fiction

03 Jul 2018 by Litfest
David Taylor, author of ‘The Man Who Lived Twice’, looks at the difference between historical romance and historical realism, and how his book fits between them.   Is your story true? Historical novelists are often asked this question. Sadly, there is no clear-cut answer. Truth is a relative term not an absolute. The belief that […]