WAMfest Felixstowe - a forum for women in literature


WAMfest Felixstowe (Women Arts and Music) was conceived over lockdown in 2020/21 initially to take place to celebrate International Women’s Day in March 2021. The event was intended to showcase women's enormous creative talent in the local area. Due to the pandemic the event was deferred to September 2021 and both the concept and event proved to be a great success. The vision was to create an festival that supports women (mainly musicians/performers, visual artists, authors), allowing there to be to a platform to present their performances/art/literary products.


Two sessions of 'Audience with Authors' were held at Felixstowe's Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe Town Centre and both received highly positive feedback. Ruth Dugdall, Amanda Hodgkinson, Cassandra Parkin, Jeanette Hewitt and Kate Sawyer were interviewed by local literary aficionado, Liz Rastrick. There were full houses of supportive and enthusiastic people there to hear about the women's passion for their craft and the process of their writing.





From an audience member:

‘Listeners were treated to a collection of women novelists talking about the art of storytelling. Conversations about writing women’s lives ebbed and flowed in the beautiful rooms of the Elizabeth Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe. Audiences delighted in joining together in safe, socially distanced spaces after such a long time in isolation to revel in stories of warmth and humanity of women's fictional and non-fictional lives’.


Ruth Dugdall said: 'WAMfest launched into the festival stage with a bang, bringing in authors from as far away as Hull, with Cassandra Parkin, and as esteemed as Dr Amanda Hodgkinson, author of 22 Britannia Road. Alongside crime writers Jeanette Hewitt, and myself, we offered a smorgasbord of literary pickings for every taste. This year we will build on that success, and we are in the process of inviting writers whose books are fascinating and original, promising more scintillating discussion’.


A last word from Liz Rastrick:

‘The two WAMfest author sessions proved to be delightful. They could have taken place in a café between a group of friends rather than in the formal setting of The Orwell Hotel, such was their free-ranging charm. The morning session comprised Ruth Dugdall and Amanda Hodgkinson; the afternoon saw a wider combination of Cassandra Parkin, Jeanette Hewitt and Kate Sawyer. Many points of contact emerged between the five different authors but the common factor was an overriding enthusiasm for reading and a compulsion to write. The discussions covered the background of the authors reading and writing lives and how these informed their divergent styles and subject matter. Both the informal conversations were co-operative and supportive, mirroring the spirit of the Festival’.


Laura Locke


For more information on WAMfest email Laura Locke of Felixstowe Festival Events lauralocke222@googlemail.com