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RFest 2012 is bigger and better than ever

Posted on 02/04/2012
Andrew Motion

Sir Andrew Motion signs autographs at the Lunchtime Reading event.

The seventh Runnymede International Literary Festival took place from 8-17 March 2012, offering an even larger programme of events and creative workshops than in previous years, and drawing enthusiastic crowds both to the Royal Holloway campus and to the Centre for Creative Collaboration in Acton Street, London.

The festival highlights included readings from new novels by Susanna Jones and Kate Williams; from Creative Writing students and alumni; from contributors to the Bedford Square 5 anthology; and from major international poets such as Carol Watts and Tony Lopez, as well as a whole host of exciting younger poets. In association with the English Department’s Lunchtime Reading Series, former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion read from his new book Silver, the sequel to Treasure Island, on the day of its publication. The audience of almost 100 students, staff and local community also had the opportunity to ask questions and have books signed after the reading.

Supported by Procter & Gamble, the creative workshops brought in around 100 school children and sixth-formers from across the South East who visited the Royal Holloway campus to work with a premiership football club, a pop star and a graphic design company. The workshops, which have been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark, all had an Olympic theme in celebration of Royal Holloway’s role in the 2012 Games as an official Satellite Village.

Pupils worked with Arsenal FC to develop an exciting workshop that celebrated the history of the Olympics. Others attended a music production masterclass with singer/songwriter Matshidiso and produced an eclectic Olympic song. The final workshop used elements of the Alfred Tennyson poem chosen to motivate athletes in the 2012 Games, the global unity symbol of the five Olympic Rings, and images of athletes, to inspire students to create a visual graphic response that reflects their personal perspective of the Olympic ideals.

Festival Director, Professor Robert Hampson, said: “The festival was the most successful I can remember. We had large audiences at all the events, and they were wildly responsive. The quality of the work read this year was particularly high – from our own students as much as the high profile authors. I hope the event continues to grow and flourish year on year.”


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