Literary Rye welcomes writers

Helen Simonson

Since Rye is a town with a huge and proud literary heritage, at the heart of the 2017 Rye Arts Festival will be a series of events featuring new and young novelists and playwrights which are not to be missed.

On Thursday September 28 at 3:10pm in the Kino Digital, the author Helen Simonson will be introducing a recent BBC TV documentary called the Writers of Rye that focuses on the likes of Henry James and EF Benson. Peasmarsh-born, but long-term US resident, Helen appeared in the programme and she will also talk about her new novel called The Summer before the War which is set in Rye just before the first world war.  Helen is a great speaker and last spoke at the Festival a few years ago following the publication of her brilliant debut novel, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.

Claire Fuller talks on Sunday September 24 at 3pm at Rye Methodist Church. She has also published a second novel, called Swimming Lessons, which cements her growing reputation following her award-winning debut, Our Endless Numbered Days. Having only started writing when she was 40 Claire is keen to share her experiences and give tips and guidance. She will also be announcing the winners of the inaugural Rye Arts Festival Short Story Writing Competition, which she judged.

Claire Fuller

Evie Wyld is another author who has appeared at the Festival in the recent past and who has published two novels. She will be at The Mermaid on Saturday September 23 at 3pm in conversation, talking about her second novel All the Birds, Singing and her first book After the Fire, a Still Small Voice. In 2013 Evie was selected for Granta magazine’s once in a decade best of Young British Novelists list, and her latest novel confirms her place as one not just one to watch but also one to read.

Evie Wyld

William Shaw is also at The Mermaid, speaking on Friday September 29 at 3pm about his crime novel set at Dungeness called The Bird Watcher and his latest novel, Sympathy for the Devil, which is the latest in a crime series set in 1960s London featuring a duo of detectives called Breen and Tozer. Val McDiarmid is a big fan of William, which provides an independent recommendation not to be ignored!

William Shaw

Just as we welcome some of the authors back this year we also say hello again to the fabulous Caravan Shorts. This really is what it says on the tin – short plays that take place in a small caravan. On Saturday September 23 Robin Linde productions will be opening their unique theatre in the Kino courtyard. From noon to 7:30pm, the troupe will be performing a 15-minute play on the hour and the half hour throughout the afternoon. And there will be two new plays: Maid of Kent written by Olivia Mace and Dust to Dust by Robin Steegman. Everyone who went last year to Caravan Shorts was thrilled by the quality of the plays, the professional acting and the up-close and intimate setting – the audience is a maximum of 10 and the actor is just feet away! The venue may be small but the impact on the audience will be huge. Don’t miss out on this theatrical experience of a lifetime!

To find out more about these and the other 60 events in this year’s Festival, as well as to book tickets online, go to or telephone the Box Office on 01797 224442.

Photos: Courtesy Rye Arts Festival and Ellen Shaw

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