Another of Wrexham’s popular annual festivals – the Carnival of Words literary festival with a difference – was forced to cancel its live events at the end of April due to Covid-19. But thanks to the willingness of some of the scheduled authors, the organisers were still able to bring us a whole week of online entertainment – and with some staggering results.
The Carnival, now in its sixth year, is run through Wrexham’s Library Services and a small team of volunteers, supported by Waterstones, with donations from local businesses and Literature Wales. It aims to bring first-class authors to audiences across our various Wrexham communities and has gone from strength to strength each year.
Murder Mystery Session
And while it wasn’t possible to host the ever-popular Murder Mystery session, the line-up was still fabulous. On the opening night (Thursday, 23rd April), local author J Allan Longshadow brought us a Shakespeare quiz to celebrate the birth (and death) of the Bard as part of “World Book Night”. Over the following few days, David Ebsworth told the True Story of Elihu Yale; singer-songwriter Luke Gallagher talked about the stories behind his songs; Marie Anne Cope read one of her dark tales of horror, Dying To Be Scared; Jude Lennon told stories for children; and Paul Clifton read some of his own and others’ poems as a virtual Viva Voce show.
Marty’s Invisible Worlds
It was then the turn of nationally acclaimed historian, Miranda Kaufmann who captivated everybody with the background to her book Black Tudors: Three Untold Stories while, on Thursday 30th April, the Carnival linked up with the One Show’s resident scientist Marty Jopson for his Invisible Worlds show, Microminute – broadcast live from his kitchen and definitely going that extra mile by putting his own blood under the microscope!
The final couple of evenings saw more wonderful performances: the first from Paula Brackston, telling the astonishing story of nurse Kate Marsden in the 1890s, featured in her latest book, God’s Children. The second from rising poetry star Lara Edwards and the third from Halima Khatun, chatting about the background to her debut novel, The Secret Diary of an Arranged Marriage.
Those staggering results?
In total, the shows had almost 4,000 “views” and attracted audience members from as far away as Arizona, USA – a fan of one of the authors. Remarkable. Some of the events can still be seen on the Wrexham Carnival of Words Facebook page and the organisers are so pleased with the results, they promise to bring us still more virtual events through the year.
Yes, the Carnival will be back in full swing next year and we’ll keep you posted as the 2021 programme starts to take shape.
Review by Dave McCall