*Tamworth Literary Festival 2018*

#tamworth #litfest #booksignings #poetry #storytelling #comedy #music #romance #crime #ThrillerNovels #storytelling #ChildrensBooks #history #steampunk #fantasy

Tamworth LitFest Comes to Town

I am THRILLLED to once again be involved in the Tamworth Literary Festival, which comes to town between Friday 2nd – Saturday 10th March. Over 20 authors, poets and storytellers will be coming to this part of Staffordshire, from a huge variety of genres: history, romance, thriller, crime, fantasy, steampunk, books for children and more. Live poetry, a storytelling evening, a comedy night and music also feature on the programme, as well a film maker and author book signings.

We’d love to welcome you to the town and the festival. There is a charge for some events, but others are free. You can book tickets in advance or pay on the door subject to availablilty.

The opening night ,on March 2nd, St Editha’s Church welcomes Professor Martin Carver from York University. Professor Carver’s talk, entitled ‘Aethelflaed and the Origins of Stafford’ will take place at 7.30pm and it will assess the archaeological evidence for Stafford’s Anglo-Saxon fortifications built at the behest of Aethelflaeda to defend Mercia against the Danes. Tickets priced at £7.50 can be booked through Eventbrite.

The following day, Saturday 3rd March, there is a free drop in Festival Open Day at Tamworth Town Hall featuring authors Jon Hartless, Trish Moran, Anthony Poulton Smith, Carmen Capuano, Sharon Rose, musician and artist Rachel Mayfield and Papercraft Heroes. You will be able to chat to authors and if you wish purchase signed copies of their books.

On Monday 5th March there will be a Poetry Night at Bolehall Manor, compered by Mal Dewhirst, the original Poet Laureate for Staffordshire, who will be welcoming poets from Tamworth and beyond. Entrance for those who would like to read and for audience members is free.

On Tuesday 6th March the Market Vaults will host a Storytelling Night (free entry) and there will be authors and storytellers including local writers, New Street Authors and Solihull Writers, including Lee Benson and Dennis Zaslona .

Wednesday 7th March will see a Romance and Women’s Fiction panel in St Editha’s Church, featuring bestselling authors Christie Barlow and Phillipa Ashley, Erin Green and Dawn Bolton. Tickets are £6 per person and are available on Eventbrite.

The Globe Inn is the venue for a Crime and Thriller panel on Thursday 8th March, featuring bestselling author Rob Sinclair, AA Abbott, Darren Young and Jayne Harris, a presenter and film maker. Tickets are £6 per person and are available on Eventbrite.

On Friday 9th March there will be a Comedy Night with Dudley born poet, humourist and singer Rob Barratt, Tickets £7 or £10 to include fish and chip supper and can be purchased from Eventbrite.

On Saturday March 10th Tamworth library will host storytelling sessions by Karen Argent from Malvern based Letterpress. The drop-in sessions, designed for children aged 7 and under, are free to attend and take place at 11.00am and again at midday.

At 1pm children’s author Lindsey Bailey will be reading an excerpt from her book ‘The Cape of Courage.’ This will be followed by a mini creative writing activity suitable for ages 3-8, after which there will be an opportunity to purchase signed copies of the author’s book. The session is free to attend but please book in advance at Tamworth Library to secure a place.

We also need your help – some of the children’s book characters have escaped their books and are hiding around the library. We need children and their families to help us find them. This will take place between 9am and 4pm on 10th March – find all the book characters and receive a chocolatey piece of treasure.

A Poetry as Therapy Workshop, facilitated by Sharon Rose, will also take place at the library from 11.15am-12.15pm.

Information boards detailing the events and activities available during the Tamworth Literary Festival week will be on display in the library foyer from February 26th. There is also time to enter the LitFest’s Writing Competition, open to applicnts worldwide, which seeks short stories and poems on any theme (closing date 31st March 2018). The competition is open to all ages (free entry for those below school age).

Details of events and the writing competition are available on Tamworth LitFest’s Facebook page  and/or website  and tickets are available on Eventbrite at the links above or by emailing tamlitfest@gmail.com

About Tamworth LitFest

The Tamworth LitFest was set up in 2015 to provide literary inspired events for the benefit of the public. It promotes local and wider community participation in literary inspired events and activities that aim to be as fully inclusive as possible.

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*REVIEW* ~ Split Decision, by Carmen Capuano

#comingofage #youngadult #romance #thriller

Book Blurb

How was Natalie to know that the decision she was about to make between two potential dates, would forever be a pivotal point in her life? That it would mark the time where childhood innocence ended? How could she even imagine that the wrong decision would send her life spiralling into the stuff of nightmares from where she might not come out alive? Life takes a cruel twist of fate when Natalie, a completely average [almost] 16 year old, is forced to make a split-second decision… a decision that will change her future and forever alter her perception of trust, love and the realities of life.

My Review

Brilliant and Brutal Coming-of-Age Story – 5 stars

Split Decision, essentially a coming-of-age novel, is both brilliant and brutal – brilliant in its execution and brutal in the sensitive subject matter it explores. The decision Natalie makes impacts on many and she is not the same person at the end of the story as she is at the beginning… It is the second book that I have read by the author Carmen Capuano, the first being Ascension, a dystopian thriller (click on the book title for the review). Although the subject matter is completerly different, I found the story just as engaging and thought- provoking.

The plot begins in a shoe shop where best friends, teenagers Natalie and Stacey are shopping. The new pair of shoes which Natalie purchases – in a style which is way out of character for the sensible teenager, can be viewed as a metaphor for both her step into adulthood and what subsequently occurs. Natalie is soon called upon to make a split second choice and her decision heralds a chain of unexpected and shocking events.

The author does an excellent job of depicting the trials and tribulations of the teenage years and how they effect existing and new relationships: a time of burgeoning sexuality, when we strive to forge our own identity, sometimes putting us in conflict with our families who find it difficult to come to terms with their offspring entering adulthood. The balance between protecting their children whilst allowing them the freedom to grow is often a difficult one and I felt that the author touched on this in a sensitive fashion. I certainly identified with Stacey and Natalie from memories of my own teenage years and recognised how easily events could take the path they did.

The characters, the young people and the adults, were all very believable and the author is to be congratulated on using the events to illustrate their personal growth and changing family dynamics.The plot is cleverly and expertly written and certainly had me guessing and questioning my own preconceptions and prejudices.

All in all a super read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6917112.Carmen_Capuano

http://carmencapuano.blogspot.co.uk/

*REVIEW* ~ Ascension: Placard of Shame, by Carmen Capuano

#dystopian #thriller

Blurb

I am blessed–or cursed–with the ability to see the colour of peoples’ souls, something I dare not reveal. Keeping my secret hidden has kept me safe. Until now.

Now I am afraid that I can no longer hide from the evil in our society. Our laws are intended–or so I have always believed–to protect us from sinfulness and chaos. But my friend, Sarah, is pregnant and unmarried. Her child will be taken from her at birth and she will be forced into a life of shame. Time is slipping away. I must discover where the father of her child is and why he’s disappeared.

But will the answers I find save, or destroy our society? Will they save, or destroy Sarah?

I’m torn between doing the right thing and the wrong thing. The trouble is that I don’t know which is which.

I settle for the truth. It’s all I have.

My Review ~ 4 and a half stars

Thought-Provoking Dystopian Novel

This is the first book that I have read by the author and I found it both page-turning and thought-provoking, which played on my emotions. I enjoy dystopian novels and in Ascension Carmen Capuano has written a worthy heroine in Jessica, as she delves into her own abilities and unearths some sordid truths about the society she lives in.

Written in the first person POV, the narrative has an immediacy about it that pulled me into the story, as Jessica gives her all to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of the man who fathered Sarah’s unborn child. The consequences for an unmarried woman giving birth in the dystopian society of Ascension have grave and life changing impications for both mother and baby, implications which are especially brutal for the mother.

It has a number of themes which have resonance for me – the control of society through the rule of doctrine and law; the treatment and control of women in a patriarchal society, particularly their sexual freedoms (or rather lack of); whether we are born good or evil and whether we have any choice in what we become. We are also left to ponder whether or not we should tolerate some evil is to exist for the greater good to prevail.

The main character’s ability to sense the colour of people’s souls is key to the plot. Jessica has hitherto kept this a secret, but in order to help her friend Sarah, she will have to learn to use and exploit it to its full potential, a potential she has yet to explore. This could put her at grave risk as her path exposes truths about the society she lives in.

I won’t reveal anything about the intracacies of the plot as it would spoil the read, but I will say that I enjoyed it immensely. It will appeal to readers of dystopian novels, particularly those who enjoy coming of age stories.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of  a fair and honest review.

Buy Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://carmencapuano.blogspot.co.uk/