The hero’s journey

We all know that the best stories have a hero and a quest. There will be that call to adventure that kicks everything off, our hero will find allies and encounter obstacles along the way but will ultimately return transformed, whether triumphant or in some way changed. 

It’s a formula that underpins everything from the biggest Hollywood blockbuster to the most intimate of stories. It’s the basis of bestselling fiction and some of the most compelling non-fiction too. And we have heroes and quests a-plenty at this year’s Monty Lit Fest.

Sometimes those quests are about real journeys.  Tom Bullough’s call to adventure was his long-held fascination with the old Roman Road – Sarn Helen – that runs from the south of Wales to the north.  His journey along the old Helen’s Causeway immerses him in the history, politics, culture and myths of the landscape he walks through, giving him a vivid sense of  the way in which we are shaped by place and in turn shape our places – for good and ill. We’re delighted to welcome Tom back to Monty Lit this year to tell the story of this quest, brilliantly evoked in his book, Sarn Helen

Quests, of course, come in all shapes and sizes . Who among us has not been mesmerised by Wrexham FC’s quest to return to football’s elite leagues, super-charged when Hollywood’s Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds bought the cash-strapped, non-league club from the group of supporters who had saved the club from bankruptcy a decade earlier.

Cue the hit TV series, Welcome to Wrexham, success on the pitch and a world that fell in love with the town, its club and its people. In Tinseltown, Wrexham fan and award-winning sports journalist Ian Herbert is our perfect guide to this extraordinary journey, told over a bumpy, nerve-crunching season with plenty of twists and turns along the way. Join him on Sunday 9th June at 3.30pm to find out more. 

Other heroes follow their quests in less public – but no less important – ways. The environmentalist, Dick Potts, spent many years counting the number of grey partridge at Peppering in Sussex as an indicator of the health of the land more generally. When he announced to the land’s owner, The Duke of Norfolk, that the partridge was threatened with extinction – an indicator of multiple threats to the land’s biodiversity – he set in train a twenty-year quest to reverse its decline and renature the farm at Peppering.

Writer and conservationist, Roger Morgan-Grenville, will be with us on Sunday 9th June at 1.30pm to talk about his book that tells the story of this quest, showing us how farming and renaturing can, with the right heroes, go hand in hand. 

Join us at this year’s Monty Lit Fest for many a hero’s journey, classic stories that will inspire and entertain us in equal measure. 

Tickets are all sessions are available online, or in person at The Montgomery Bookshop or Ivy House Café in Montgomery.