Well, that was fun.
We’re slightly blushing at some of the very nice things people have said about this year’s Monty Lit Fest. We just thrilled that so many people enjoyed themselves over a beautiful weekend in such a magical place, with book lovers mingling with authors and authors meeting their readers.
We learnt from Pete Brown that there’s a lot more to beer than meets the eye, and, at our Late Lounge, found out more than we might have needed to know about Elvis’s hair, Keith Moon’s driving and that famous Bohemian Rhapsody piano.
We were encouraged to re-think received wisdom about Neanderthals with Rebecca Wragg Sykes, and talked fox-tossing and fireworks boxing with Edward Brooke-Hitching.
We were treated to the very best of creative non-fiction by the brilliant Mike Parker, Jon Gower, Gavin Plumley and Jasmine Donahaye.
We talked about writing journeys, plots, characters and inspiration with top fiction authors Clare Mackintosh, Lissa Evans, Annie Garthwaite, Alis Hawkins and Siân Llywelyn.
We met aspiring writers at our writers’ session as they learnt how to approach writing a sit-com with comedy legends, Sioned Wiliam and Ian Brown.
We found out how a mere scrap of a magpie chick – bird poo and all – changed Frieda Hughes’s life, and exercised our grey cells with one of Marcus Berkmann’s fiendish quizzes.
We explored the town-country divide with Anna Jones; the challenges of poverty in rural communities with Rebecca Smith and how to resolve the tensions between farming and conservation with David Elias.
We ended the weekend with a packed audience for Welsh rugby legend, Nigel Owens, who had plenty to say about the game – and so much more.
And we all bought far too many books at our Festival bookshops (come on: who can resist a signed copy?).
And that’s not to mention everything else going on in Montgomery over the weekend, from children’s storytelling to music and song; the brilliant poetry-themed art exhibition to street food vans and tapas; poetry readings to the rightly famous coffee and home-made cake at the Town Hall.
We’re not called the Friendly Festival for nothing. Monty Lit Fest was once again about our communities coming together to enjoy and spread the joys of the written word – and having loads of fun along the way. We could have no finer ambition.
See you next year!