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First, second and third…

The beginning of July marks a few milestones in the run up to our 30th Anniversary Festival this October.

First, the anticipation of our many competition entrants has begun to bite as our panels of readers begin the difficult task of identifying the poems, short stories and books for children which deserve to be shortlisted – and then placed. All four categories closed on 30 June and early indications are that the standard is – yet again – extremely high. The Festival spreads its net wide: our competitors come from an ever-increasing number of countries with a diverse selection of topics to match. The lucky competitors who are shortlisted will be informed during September, and awards will be presented during the Festival itself – on Monday 17 October.

Monday 4 July also marks an important event – the date former Prime Minister Sir John Major CH KG joins the Festival for the official launch of its 30th Anniversary. Referring to his book, My Old Man, Sir John discusses the history of Music Hall, and the many characters who made it famous.

And to complete the hat-trick, we are also delighted to announce a trio of very different speakers who will be appearing at Cedars Hall during the first Saturday of our 30th Festival:

Janina Ramirez will be talking about the women who were written out of the Middle Ages; Justin Webb will be revealing tales from his extraordinary childhood, and Paterson Joseph, one of Britain’s best-loved actors, tells the captivating story of Charles Ignatius Sancho a former slave who became a man of influence in Georgian London. The full programme will be available here on the website from 11 July. Brochures will be published and distributed from 23 July. These are individually posted to Friends of the Festival who also benefit from Priority Booking. This begins an 18 July, a week before tickets are available to the general public. And it’s still not too late to become a Friend for 2022.
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