Voices in the Land Arts and literature Festival 2019

Friday 15 to Sunday 17 November

A festival celebrating the arts and culture. The festival includes workshops, presentations, meet the author sessions, exhibitions and writing competitions. The festival is inspired by the landscape of two World Heritage Sites: The Lake District and the border country of Hadrian's Wall.

A full programme will be available soon.


What and where are the stories in the land?

What voices, what echoes can we discover as we travel over ancient

landscapes in Cumbria and further afield?


Maryport’s innovative Arts & Lit Festival kicks off again at Senhouse Roman Museum from 15th- 17th November 2019 with a fascinating range of speakers on the theme of ‘VOICES IN THE LAND’.


How does place influence biography? Do places hold a ‘charge’ of the people who came before, and do they still speak of some essence the biographer seeks to capture? This year’s exciting and challenging list of speakers include respected biographers Grevel Lindop and Kathleen Jones discussing ‘The Art of Biography’.  Greville and Kathleen will follow the opening of Maryport’s Arts & Lit Festival by RadioCumbria’s Helen Millican, doyenne of the highly popular Arts programme, ‘The Arty Show’.

Events this time range between exploring Cumbrian roots, growing up in the USA, a mystery novel set partly in Jerusalem, and finding the power of Nature in a corner of London and Denmark. Friday will begin with an exploration of outdoor writing when columnist and author Vivienne Crow will talk about her career as an outdoors writer and lead a workshop, and Caroline Gilfillan and Zosia Wand will talk about their novels rooted in Cumbrian places, while Eliza Harrison, best known as Eliza Forder for ‘Hill Shepherd’, takes on a new direction as a novelist with ‘the Mystery of Martha’ set partly in Jerusalem and partly in Cumbria.

On Saturday evening, best-selling author, and one-time Cumbrian farmer Philip Walling will return to his roots to talk about the influence of landscape on his writing on his book ‘Counting Sheep’ and ‘Till the Cows Come Home', just out in paperback. David Clemson explores the catastrophic train crash which marked the landscape so deeply, close toCarlisleas troops travelled to the Western Front during the First World War, in his novel ‘Two Days in May.’  American actress, author, playwright and producer Susan Merson will discuss her recent biography. ‘Dancing in Daylight’, about growing up in a Jewish community in theUSA, and lead a Script Writing and Drama workshop.

Sunday will see a Poetry Workshop in the morning with the renowned Hebridean poet James Knox Whittet, also current President of the prestigious Suffolk Poetry Society. Karen Lloyd journeys roundMorecombeBayin all seasons in a triumph of nature writing, while Angus Winchester’s book, ‘Landscape and Inspiration’ will explore his love of the Cumbrian landscape. Retired GP Jim Cox, author of ‘Who Shot Percy Topliss?’ about the myth of the ‘Monocled Mutineer’, will talk about his work as a writer and his experiences as a rural GP in an award-winning rural practice inNorth Cumbria. Finally, the powerful ‘Plot 29 ‘ and the later ‘Mornings’ takes us to London for Allan Jenkins’ passion for his allotment, which gives solace in his hectic life as Food Editor of the Observer and acts as a counterpoint to his traumatic childhood as a Barnardo’s boy, as well as evoking the natural landscape of Denmark.

The Festival finishes with a poetry reading: 6+ poets with tea and cakes, including contributing poets to the award-winning Cumbrian anthology ‘This Place I Know,’ alongside James Knox Whittet, Angela Locke, Grevel Lindop, Kathleen Jones and Ian Taylor.

Lots of exciting stuff going on over the three days in November, against a unique background of the Roman artefacts in the museum, an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of an 18th century coffee shop with wine and chat about books, and a chance to get up close and personal with the authors. A ‘bijou’ Festival not to miss!