It’s our tenth anniversary! See what’s on!

Booking information – prices are advance/on the door.  Click on the link to book through Eventbrite where relevant or purchase tickets from the Coleford Tourism Office

Lots of our events are free and don’t require booking....

Our free events at Coleford Library for children and young adults are shown at the end of the programme.

Main Festival event venues:

Coleford Library, The Main Place, Old Station Way, Coleford GL16 8RH
The Main Place, Old Station Way, Coleford GL16 8RH
Coleford Baptist Hall, 27 Whitecliff, Coleford GL16 8AJ

📚 This symbol indicates the Festival bookshop is open, thanks to Chepstow Bookshop.

You can also download the programme in print format to browse at your leisure:

CFOW Programme 2018

Monday 2 July

5.30 pm Festival Launch and ‘Ten’ Writing Competition
Coleford Baptist Hall 
Taking the theme of ‘Ten’, the Festival supports new writing with first chance to hear shortlisted competition entries performed by their authors. With host Jo Durrant of BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Jo covers many of the major festivals in the county and can also be be seen and heard out and about every Saturday reporting live from a wide variety of events big and small.
£2/£3/under 16 free (Please note that only adult tickets can be booked through eventbrite as it is not cost effective for us to have multiple tickets sold there. Please collect under 16 tickets from the Coleford Tourism Office.)   BOOK HERE

7.00 pm Open Mic – details to be advised – please join our mailing list or check back here to find out how to be part of this event!


8.00 pm Festival Literary Quiz
Coleford Baptist Hall – we are unable to sell alcohol at this venue but you are welcome to BYO for this event 
… authors, films, first lines, characters, hidden objects … puzzle your way through with your hand picked team …Bookings only through Coleford Tourism Office, Lords Hill, Coleford GL16 8BD Tel 01594 837135
£5 per table (max 6 per table) 

Tuesday 3rd July

2 pm Rollercoaster Ten ….?
Coleford Town Council, 2, The Town House, Lords Hill Walk, Coleford GL16 8BD
Coleford-based peer led mental health support group Rollercoaster shares their take on ‘Ten’ – the Festival’s theme for 2018. Come and see what they’ve come up with!
Free – no booking required

6.30 pm ‘A night at the Bardic Arms’ with PIPs
The Dog House, 13-15 St John St, Coleford GL16 8AP
A prose-poetry piece on the theme of relationship and the flawed nature of humans – a stormy night, and a soaked Myr- tle Wilson-Hogg walks into the Bardic Arms. Looking for a mechanic and a stiff drink, she instead finds elements of herself in one of the locals who, appalled by Myrtle’s manner, sees aspects of himself there…. Join us as Bardic’s denizens drink and divulge their thoughts on it all.
PIPs are Poets In Progress, the Forest’s foremost peer-learning poetry group.
Free – no booking required Doors open 6.30 pm, performance 7.00 pm


7.30 pm Taste ’n Tales – Birthdays around the world
Coleford Library
Bring your favourite birthday food, recipes or tales of birthdays from here to there to share with all.
Free – no booking required

Wednesday 4 July

4 pm ‘Meet the Author’ with Sarah Franklin
Bream Library, High St, Bream, GL15 6JW 📚
Sarah grew up on the southern edge of the Forest of Dean. Her first novel, Shelter, was published in 2017 and is set in the Forest. When Sarah’s not writing stories set here, she lectures in publishing at Oxford Brookes, is the host of ‘Short Stories Aloud’ and a judge for the Costa Short Story Award. She has written for the Guardian, Psychologies magazine, The Pool, the Sunday Express and the Seattle Times.
Free – no booking required

7.00 pm ‘An owls nest in poetry, story and film’
Le Petit Hibou, 5-6 Market Place, Coleford GL16 8AQ
After last year’s success, they decided to do it again! Join local writers and artists as they talk about their work. With Mollie Meager, Jane Spray & friends. Open mike.
£3 on the door – no booking required

7.30 pm Katie Fforde comes to the Festival!   THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED
The Main Place, Coleford 📚
Katie Fforde lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with her family, and is a true country girl at heart. Each of her books explores a different profession or background and her research has helped her bring these to life. She’s been a porter in an auction house, tried her hand at
pottery, refurbished furniture, delved behind the scenes of a dating website, and she’s even been on a Ray Mears survival course. She loves being a writer; to her there isn’t a more satisfying and pleasing thing to do. She particularly enjoys writing love stories. She believes falling in love is the best thing in the world, and she wants all her characters to experience it, and her readers to share their stories. £6/£7 BOOK HERE


Thursday 5 July

7.00 pm Forest Bard Maggie Clutterbuck
Coleford Baptist Hall
Maggie is a well known part of the contemporary writing scene in the Forest of Dean today. Forest born and bred, she has seen life, having travelled widely in her youth. Maggie will talk to us about her new book, Full Circle, published by Yorkley A&E, and about old favourites as well.
£2/£3  BOOK HERE

7.30 pm The Festival on Tour
Newnham Community Library, Armoury Village Hall, Dean Road, Newnham
Live readings by our competition entrants and others! Join the discussion!
Free – no booking required

8.30 pm ‘Aye, Coyote’, with Tim Dalling
Coleford Baptist Hall
A theatrical entertainment with song and dance and a sacred ritual of purification. Tim Dalling, former kilted fall guy from the New Rope String Band, tells autobiographical tales of brotherhood alongside myths of Coyote, the creative master of thoughtless self-destruction and crazy rebirth. Ghosts are healed with songs and laughter.
“Aye Coyote was absolutely stunning · the hall was full to capacity, people were completely absorbed by this beautiful, emotional piece of theatre … it was definitely a highlight of the festival.” Rachael Clarke • Director of Priddy Folk Festival
£9/£10  BOOK HERE


Friday 6 July

4 pm ‘Venerable Trees’ with Verderer Ian Standing
Start point: The Arboretum (Speech House Road)
The Festival is ten years old, so we’re celebrating longevity! Learn about even longer longevity with this one hour ramble through our native trees and ancient oaks and back through the Arboretum to view some non-natives. Join us afterwards for tea with Fiona Stafford (see below).
Free walk – no booking required

5.30 pm ‘Tea and Trees’ with Fiona Stafford
Hopewell Colliery Cafe, Cannop Hill, Speech House Rd, Coleford GL16 7EL 📚
Tea with Fiona Stafford who will talk about her recent book, The Long, Long Life of Trees, The Sunday Times’ Nature Book of the Year. Fiona is Professor of English at the University of Oxford, where she works on Romantic literature, place and the environment. She has written about poets with a special feeling for nature and has broadcast three series of BBC radio programmes on ‘The Meaning of Trees’ and two on ‘The Meaning of Flowers’.
£6/£7 includes cream tea. Other refreshments available  BOOK HERE


7.30 pm Poetry and Folk Cabaret-style
Coleford Baptist Hall – we are unable to sell alcohol at this venue, but you are welcome to BYO for this event
Forest of Dean based poet, performer and writer, Sally Jenkinson hosts an evening with Ben Ray, Malaika Kegode and The Six Foot Way.
Ben is a rising young poet from the Welsh borders whose work ‘reveals a canny understanding of life and language’ (Nancy Campbell). Since his first collection After the Poet, the Bar
was released in 2016 his work has appeared in a wide array of journals and websites.
The Six Foot Way played for the Festival last year and we wanted them back! Their mix of songs and tunes from around the world, both traditional and contemporary, comes with their own twist. Think the Pogues, The Dubliners, Fairport & The Levellers.
Malaika Kegode cut her teeth as a poet and performer opening for bands in music venues such as Exeter Cavern and LeftBank. Since then she has performed around the country at theatres, music venues, literary events and festivals such as WOMAD and Boomtown. She is creator and host of Bristol’s thriving Milk Poetry. Her debut collection Requite is now available from Burning Eye Books.


Saturday 7 July

10 am – 4 pm Writers’ Day School
The Main Place, Coleford 📚
A chance for aspiring writers to pick the brains of those who have made the heady world of being published! Offering a choice of four workshops: crime with Matthew Hall; historical fiction with Alis Hawkins; relationships in fiction with Deborah Gregory; and young adult fiction with Bryony Pearce; followed by an interview by Val Ormrod with Cass Green and an afternoon of panel discussions on practical topics such as editing your work and how to go about getting the right agent. Follow this link to learn more about the authors.  Inquiries tel Cheryl on 07919251771.
Cass Green is an award-winning author of fiction for young people. She is the Writer in Residence at East Barnet School and teaches Writing for Children at City University. Her debut adult novel The Woman Next Door was a Number 1 e-book bestseller and her second, In A Cottage, In A Wood was a Sunday Times top ten and USA Today bestseller. Her next thriller Don’t You Cry is out on September 6.
Booking essential. Only through Eventbrite. Your ticket is valid for the whole day, but please book according to the workshop of your choice. Places limited. £15, includes tea, coffee and lunch.  

BOOK HERE  Alis Hawkins

BOOK HERE Deborah Gregory

BOOK HERE Matthew Hall

BOOK HERE Bryony Pearce

10.30 – 12.00 ‘Playing with Poetry’ with PIPs 
The Main Place, Coleford
PIPs showcases the magic that happens when different heads interpret the same theme. Followed by fun, friendly workshops creating your own poems. No experience necessary. All materials provided. Suitable for over 16’s especially the curious! PIPs are Poets in Progress, the Forest’s foremost peer-learning poetry group. For more info phone Vicky 01594 542974.
Free – no booking required

1 pm – 6 pm Wyldwood Arts at Scarr Bandstand, Sling
Wyldwood welcome you to an afternoon of storytelling workshops, music and cabaret. Come for a BBQ from 1pm and sing the songs of the land as we celebrate the history of the Forest. Join author Andy Seed between 3-4pm for jokes, poems, games and challenges with a woodland and wildlife theme. Hear a magical forest tale, create your own nature sound effects, try the animal weight challenge and join in some wacky outdoor games. And finally, warm your toes with a fireside cabaret performance from 5pm. Suitable for all ages.
Free but ticketed. Visit Wyldwood’s Eventbrite page to book

5.30 Andy Seed’s Wild and Wacky Facts
Coleford Baptist Hall 📚

Andy is an author and poet who lives in Gloucestershire. He writes memoirs, funny poems and humorous non-fiction books. His best-known title for adults is All Teachers Great and Small and his most popular book for children is The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, which won the 2015 Blue Peter Best Book Award. Join him for some family fun based on his best-selling children’s book series. A mix of facts, jokes, challenges, wildlife quizzes, games, riddles and giggles plus a chance to see the winners of the 2018 Forest Poetry Slam.
£5 per family/£3 per adult. Under 16 free(Please note that only family tickets can be booked through eventbrite as it is not cost effective for us to have multiple tickets sold there. Please collect under 16 tickets from the Coleford Tourism Office.) BOOK HERE


7.00 pm Winners of ‘Ten’ Writing Competition with Baroness Jan Royal
Coleford Baptist Hall
Jan Royall, Baroness of Blaisdon, former leader of the Labour Party in the Lords, devout supporter and native of the Forest of Dean, announces the winners of the Festival’s writing competition as decided by best-selling local author, Andrew Taylor. Hear the winning entries. Prizes courtesy of the Chepstow Bookshop, Dean Writers’ Circle and the Festival.
£2/£3 – free with John Hegley ticket (see below). Under 16 free  (Please note that only standalone adult tickets can be booked through eventbrite as it is not cost effective for us to have multiple tickets sold there. Please obtain free adult and under 16 tickets from the Coleford Tourism Office.) BOOK HERE


8.00 pm John Hegley’s ‘New and Selected Potatoes’
Coleford Baptist Hall 📚
Some fully grown fully formed produce of the vegetable patch alongside some freshly planted seedlings. Songs, poems, drawings and joining-ins devised with adults in mind but acceptable to many nine year olds wearing spectacles. New and Selected Potatoes includes work from a dozen of Hegley’s genius collections 1984-2013. ‘Fabulously funny’ – Time Out.
Adult £10/£12. Under 16 £5/£6  (Please note that only adult tickets can be booked through eventbrite as it is not cost effective for us to have multiple tickets sold there. Please collect under 16 tickets from the Coleford Tourism Office.) BOOK HERE

Sunday 8 July

12 noon – ca 3 pm Tenth Birthday BYO picnic
Angus Buchanan Recreation Ground, Victoria Road, Coleford GL16 8DS
Berry Hill Silver Band opens the proceedings! Celebrate the end of a fun-filled tenth Festival of Words with a picnic on the grass. Refreshments also available in the Pavilion, prosecco and cider, ice cream …. and frequent entertainments from John Hegley, the Forest Mummers, Samba Band … and Ten-themed activities for kids and adults.
Free family event! Free birthday cake!  Come along and join us!



Events for children and young people proved popular last year. They continue to be hosted by Coleford library and are free events thanks to the support of Create Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire library service as part of the Art of Libraries project funding. In order to continue this high quality work we will ask for donations on the day.

Tuesday 3 July

4 pm – 5 pm Kev F’s Comic Art Masterclass
Kev F Sutherland writes and draws for The Beano, Doctor Who and Marvel comics, and now he’ll teach you how easy it is. Learn everything he knows, so you can leave school and steal his job! For age 7 and upwards.

Wednesday 4 July

4 pm – 5 pm Rob Etherington’s Comic Art Masterclass
The Etherington Brothers have created comics, stories and art for Star Wars, How to Train Your Dragon, Transformers, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Wallace & Gromit and James Bond. Over the course of 60 frantic laughter-filled minutes, Rob will share tips and tricks for making your own truly AWESOME comics!



4 pm – 5 pm Time Travelling Toby with Graham Jones
Toby has a humongous secret – a Time Machine! Join children’s author, Graham Jones to journey back to 1805 and help Nelson defeat the French and Spanish navy in the Battle of Trafalgar – and how to fire a flintlock musket and flag a signal!
Come and join the fun! For 4 to 8 yr olds.



Thursday 5 July

4 pm – 5 pm Horrifying Horror with Bryony Pearce
Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and spiders; clowns and snakes the darkness inside us … what terrifies us and why do we so enjoy being scared?
How do writers make us frightened? What are the scariest teen horror books?
Feel the shivers up your spine listening to the scariest of horror stories….
Bryony is the author of, amongst other works, Phoenix Rising and Phoenix Burning (award-winning dystopian adventures about pirates who sail on a junk-filled sea), Windrunner’s Daughter, Wavefunction, and Savage Island – a horror novel based on the question ‘what would you do for £1million?


Friday 6 July

4 pm – 5.30 pm Trees and Stories with Adam Blake
Adventurers (that’s you!) join an Explorer, sent from the Adventure Bureau, to create our own adventure through streets, woodland, fields, rooms, mountains, caves, parks, gardens… well, anywhere! For ages 4 upwards