Friday 26 – Sunday 28 November 2021 will see the market town of Machynlleth host its inaugural, bilingual literary festival named Amdani! Fachynlleth. Literature & Travel Festival.
This first festival, translated to Let’s Go! Machynlleth, will play homage to Jan Morris who was an award-winning Welsh historian, travel writer and author. She passed away in November 2019 so this event will take place on the second anniversary since her death. With her son Twm Morys’ blessing, and many of her author friends agreeing to take part, it’ll be a celebration of her life and achievements, as well as attendees hearing from acclaimed speakers on the theme of travel in Wales, and beyond.
Some of Jan’s sketches and paintings will also be on display for the first time ever, and artist Dan Llywelyn Hall will be unveiling a new portrait at the opening of the festival which will be on display for the duration of the weekend.
Writer and broadcaster Mike Parker is based in mid-Wales but his travel writing takes him all over Europe. Mike Parker’s most recent book is On the Red Hill, an evocation of the queer rural, which won the 2020 non-fiction Wales Book of the Year and was runner-up for the Wainwright Prize for UK nature writing.
Jan Morris once told Mike Parker that A Machynlleth Triad was her only book that had never elicited a single letter – of either praise or complaint – from a reader. Two years after Jan’s death, Mike will offer a belated love letter to the book, and place it within the context of other writings about Machynlleth, from George Borrow to Beatrix Potter, Peter Sagar to Byron Rogers. This is a town that so often punches above its slender weight, in words as in everything else.
In line with Government guidelines, as of 15th November 2021 you will need to use the NHS COVID pass show full vaccination status or a negative Lateral Flow Test to attend any events at the festival.
With venues including the home of the Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA) The Tabernacle, and The Wynnstay Hotel on board within the town, speakers confirmed for the bilingual event include:
Twm Morys, Jan’s son, writer, musician and poet will formally open and close the festival, Simon Jenkins (The Guardian) will talk about the neglected architecture masterpieces of Wales, a subject close to Jan Morris’ heart, Derek Johns (Jan Morris’ agent for 20 years) & Paul Clements (literary journalist and author of five travel books) who are working together as Jan Morris’s biographers and will be discussing their up-and-coming book Life from Both Sides about Jan, British writer Dea Birkett discussing female travellers, Ursula Martin will tell the story of walking 5,500 miles through 3 winters, 14 countries and a pandemic, and many more.
Charles Dark, owner, The Wynnstay Hotel in Machynlleth who was instrumental in the festival’s creation said: “Bringing together some of the UK’s most knowledgeable and acclaimed travel and literature experts is extremely exciting. This is very much a team effort between The Tabernacle and The Wynnstay, and we look forward to what is expected to be a weekend full of laughter, informative material and sharing of wonderful stories on the theme of travel. On top of the speaker events, we will also have opportunities for attendees to chat to speakers at dedicated meals, as well as exhibitions so there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
“I can’t thank the speakers enough for agreeing to take part, as they are the best of the best and we can’t wait to welcome them to the beautiful town of Machynlleth.”