Hastings Lit Fest anthology

Literary Festival helps to fast-track new writers into print

One of the many successes of this year’s Hastings Literary Festival has been Dateline Hastings: 23-09-21, an event which brought together 12 Hastings LitFest competition winners to polish their stories and poems with the help
of experienced editors. Many writers wait years to see their work in print, but 12 authors and poets had a book
in their hands less than two days after finishing it at a special workshop.

The resulting anthology went off to the printers on the first day of the recent festival, and copies of the book were launched by leading playwright and Hastings Literary Festival patron Sir David Hare at a special event less than two days later. LitFest organisers ran a competition to find poetry, short stories and life writing based on current events from April 2021 onwards, and entries came in from throughout the UK as well as Europe and China. 

The writers of the 12 most promising pieces, including one who travelled from Germany, attended a workshop at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings. They worked with editors Christine Harmar-Brown, Antony Mair and Andrea Samuelson to get their work ready for print. Author, comic and spoken word poet Pete the Temp also gave his inspiration and encouragement to the participants on the day.

Eight of the finalists with Sir David Hare
CREDIT: Caitlin Lock for Hastings Literary Festival

Three of the finalists, Elizabeth Allen, Martin Rieser and Ryan Smith were chosen by the editors to receive a prize
of £100 each. 

Organiser Wayne Herbert says: “Our writers put in a hard day’s work and it got a little nail-biting at times, but they were excited about taking part in a unique project that reflects what they see around them right now.”

Details of how to buy copies of the Dateline Hastings: 23-09-21 anthology will be up on the Hastings Literary Festival website soon. The book cover was designed by local designer, Antonia Baker: antoniaulyana.myportfolio.com 

Christine Harmar-Brown is a writer and director and was head of development at La Plante Productions and script editor on Casualty. Antony Mair is the founder of Hastings Stanza group and has published three collections of poetry. He was longlisted for the Poetry Book Awards 2020. Andrea Samuelson’s short fiction and poetry has been published in literary magazines and she has won national competitions, most notably the Peterloo Prize.

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