LIT. on the LAWN


11am – Sam Adams
12pm – Rebecca F John 
1-2.30pm LUNCH 
2.30pm – Carole Hailey
3.30pm – Des Mannay
Quick break
4.10pm – Jon Gower and Mike Parker

 Returning for its tenth year, Literature Caerleon is a celebration of literature set within the beautiful grounds of Caerleon’s historic Priory Hotel. It brings together the cream of contemporary writers in Wales and offers a feast of discussion, ideas and thought. A pop-up bookshop will be provided by Chepstow Books.


Sam Adams is a distinguished former editor of Poetry Wales, and former chairman of the English-language section of Yr Academi Gymreig. He edited the Collected Poems and the Collected Stories of Roland Mathias. An author of three monographs in the Writers of Wales series. He is also a frequent contributor of poems, criticism and essays to a number of magazines. His ‘Letter from Wales’ column appears regularly in PN Review (Carcanet). Latterly he has also written three novels.

.Gilfach Goch born, Sam is now a long-standing resident of Caerleon.


Rebecca F. John was born in 1986, and grew up in Pwll. Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra. Her first short story collection, Clown’s Shoes, was published through Parthian in 2015. Her first novel, The Haunting of Henry Twist, was published through Serpent’s Tail in July 2017. It was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. In 2022 Rebecca published her first children’s book first children’s book, Shadow Order with Firefly Press. Her most recent book is Vulcana, a story about Welsh strongwoman, Kate Williams.

Rebecca lives in Swansea.


Carole Hailey completed the six-month Guardian/UEA novel writing course taught by Bernardine Evaristo who imbued Carole with such a love for writing fiction that she abandoned her career in law to undertake an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. She followed this by a PhD in Creative Writing at Swansea University. Carole was a London Library Emerging Writer for 2020/21.The Silence Project is her first published novel and was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award 2020 and highly commended by the judges.

She lives in Wales with her husband and two rescue dogs.


Des Mannay is a disabled Welsh writer of colour. Achievements include his first poetry collection, Sod ’em – and tomorrow  in Poetry Competition (2015) published by Waterloo Press. He is co-editor of The Angry Manifesto poetry journal. Winner of Disability -’rethinkyourmind’ Poetry Competition (2015), LIT-UP Poetry Competition (2019). 2nd/Highly Commended Disability Arts Cymru Poetry Competition (2015), ‘Gold Award’ – Creative Futures Literary Awards (2015); and shortlisted in 7 competitions. Des Mannay has performed at numerous venues/festivals, and published work in various poetry journals. His poetry has been a judge in the in the Valiant Scribe ‘Vultures and Doves’ poetry competition (USA). Has had work in or accepted for 38 poetry anthologies.

Jon Gower and Mike Parker, in conversation.

Jon Gower is a former BBC Wales arts and media correspondent who has over 40 books to his name. These include The Story of Wales, which accompanied a landmark TV series, the travelogue An Island Called Smithand Y Storïwr which won the Wales Book of the Year. His latest book is The Turning Tide a biography of the Irish Sea, an immersive history of a pivotal stretch of water described by Roddy Doyle as ‘fascinating, spellbinding, erudite and great fun’. The Turning Tide is a hymn to a sea passage of world-historical importance.


Mike Parker is a writer and broadcaster based in mid-Wales whose travel writing takes him all over Europe. His 2009 book Map Addict became a bestseller while his 2019 book On the Red Hill won the non-fiction category in the Wales Book of the Year for 2020. His latest book, All the Wide Border: Wales, England and the Places Between is the story of the Wales-England border – as a line on the map, an ongoing history, a thing in our heads and as something that roared unexpectedly into focus in the pandemic. It is a personal journey through places across the border between England and Wales.

Caerleon Festival Free Brochure obtainable from Caerleon P.O.

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