I spent last weekend at the Dinefwr Literature Festival near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire with my husband, and we really enjoyed it. Of course, it helped that the weather was marvelous.
This was only the second time the festival has been held – the first was two years ago. The report of friends who came last time made me want to attend this time. I don’t know if it will be two years before the next one, but I will definitely go again.
It was not a huge festival – I overheard one of the security staff on the gate say that they had counted 2,600 people going in on Saturday, but some of those had come out to their cars or tents and gone in again, and he didn’t have the exit figure. It was busy, but not packed, and we didn’t encounter any queues, except short ones for the excellent food. There was a good choice of food stalls, from lobster through vegetarian to pasties and burgers – but very good ones.
There were always lots of staff members around to answer questions and sort things out, and they were very helpful. Events were held in Newton House, two big tops, open air in the courtyard, and at Dinefwr Castle ruins.
The festival encompassed a lot more than just literature, with music, comedy, cinema, and activities for children. My husband is not a fiction writer but found plenty of interest, although he did actually attend a writing workshop and enjoyed it. I attended two workshops: one by the Open University on showing and telling, and a taster from Ty Newydd on a sense of place in poetry. They were both good, and I had a chance to ask some questions about the courses they offer.
On the literature side, there were poets, novelists, short story writers and screenwriters from the UK and abroad, including Gillian Clarke the National Poet of Wales and Wales Book of the Year winners Owen Sheers and Rhian Edwards. Shaun Usher presented his hugely popular book Letters of Note, which started as a website and was crowd-funded and published by Unbound, which I will talk about in a separate post as it’s such a good idea.
I came home tired and sunburned but very happy. Added to the enjoyment of the festival were the beautiful views across Dinefwr Park, with the deer and the white cattle, and the oak woods in the distance.