Cambridge Literary Festival

One of the things I love most about writing for my blog and this column is the people I meet.  People who are getting on with their daily lives, have that light bulb moment and just go for it to create something wonderful in the city.  People like Cathy Moore, founder of the Cambridge Literary Festival.

Cambridge Literary Festival logo

Cathy first came to the city to read History at Newnham College and was only the second person from her Liverpool comprehensive school to make it to the University of Cambridge. She also loved English and books so after graduation, Cathy built a career in publishing before taking some time out to be with her young family.  A spell in teaching followed but Cathy returned to Cambridge and books, working part time in Waterstones and running their programme of events.  That’s where she met writer Ali Smith and as the two of them chatted about the Hay Literary Festival, they wondered why there wasn’t a similar event in Cambridge.

Cambridge Literary Festival
Image credit:  Chris Boland

Within months, Cathy had created Wordfest, doing everything herself and setting up twenty four events in three venues.  That was back in March 2003.  “There were about sixty literary festivals then”, Cathy tells me, “and now there are around four hundred in the UK, so we’re all in competition for the authors.”  Wordfest grew, events regularly sold out and initiatives like the debut writers panel made it truly a festival for writers as well as readers.  After gaining charitable status, Wordfest rebranded as Cambridge Literary Festival in 2014.  It now brings Spring and Winter festivals to the city as well as one-off events through the year and since 2017 has delivered the Wimpole History Festival in partnership with the National Trust.

These days, Cathy isn’t doing everything herself!  She and her small team have an office in Downing Place and they have strong support from patrons, media partnerships and sponsors.  A band of volunteer stewards welcomes the many thousands of festival goers and enables events to run smoothly for both authors and audiences.  More volunteers are always welcome so if you’re interested in giving your time (and enjoying some volunteer perks!), contact the team through the website.

Cambridge Literary Festival
Image credit: Chris Boland

 

Festival venues this year include several beautiful university spaces which are normally hidden from public view.  Refreshments will be available at most of these so you can grab a quick drink and a snack between events.  Heffers run a bookstall and there are author signings too.

I’m really excited for this winter’s Festival; it’s always a fun, buzzy weekend and the packed programme truly offers something for everyone, including a brand new Murder Mystery Musical from Sophie Hannah which sounds intriguing!  You’ll find details of what’s on and a booking facility through the Festival website at www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com

 

This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the November issue of Velvet Magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

Coming up in Cambridge …..

Cambridge International Jazz Festival runs from 13 – 27 November, bringing together the many strands of the city’s strong jazz scene and welcoming national and international jazz acts too.  With a crammed schedule of vibrant live music at locations across Cambridge and celebrating a wide variety of jazz styles, the programme includes workshops (if you want to learn how to Lindy Hop, now’s your chance!), talks, films, family events and free entry fringe events.  For full programme details and tickets, check out the Festival website www.cambridgejazzfestival.info

Cambridge International Jazz Festival
Image credit: Cambridge International Jazz Festival

“Buy less, choose well, make it last” is designer Dame Vivienne Westwood’s message.  With this mantra ringing in their ears, Cambridge Carbon Footprint brings us the Sustainable Fashion Festival on 17 November at St Barnabas Church on Mill Road, for all Cambridge fashionistas and for anyone who cares about the huge negative impact that fast fashion has on the environment.  You’ll find a clothes swap party, a sewing themed textiles repair cafe, an interactive fashion show, sewing skillshares, a styling zone, workshops, talks and pop up sustainable fashion stalls offering new and vintage clothing.  Take a look at www.cambridgecarbonfootprint.org for more.

Sustainable Fashion Festival Cambridge
Image:  Sustainable Fashion Festival

So it’s that time of year ….. I’m making a list and checking it twice before heading off to Cambridge Made Christmas Fair which is my go to for original Christmas presents.  The Fair is running from 29 November to 1 December at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church and will showcase the work of forty four designer-makers, artists and craftspeople.  You’ll find a huge variety of handmade goodies including ceramics, jewellery, textiles, quilts, botanical toiletries, cards, decorations, toys and homewares.  More details on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/927219054144713/

Cambridge Made Christmas Fair logo
Image credit: Purplespoon Design

This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the November issue of Velvet Magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

Sustainable Fashion Festival Cambridge

“Buy less, choose well, make it last” is designer Dame Vivienne Westwood’s message.  With this mantra ringing in their ears, Cambridge Carbon Footprint is bringing the Sustainable Fashion Festival to St Barnabas Church on Mill Road on 17 November.

Fashion-Fest-Poster-final-e1539695672279

Clothing accounts for around 12% of global greenhouse emissions and is the world’s second largest industrial polluter.  As clothing becomes cheaper, purchasing of fast fashion has increased but 30% of the clothing in our wardrobes is never worn.  By choosing what we buy and wear with care, we can help to tackle climate crisis, environmental problems and exploitation of workers.

This Festival has a packed programme of events to help us towards a more eco-friendly wardrobe …..

Sustainable Fashion Festival Cambridge AmaElla
Image credit: AmaElla

…..  a Pop Up Market and Fashion Show will include organic cotton lingerie and nightwear from AmaElla, socks which are guaranteed for 30 years from BuyMeOnce plus bags and accessories from Qhere who upcycle advertising banners and punctured bike tyre inner tubes into eco-friendly designs.

 

Sustainable Fashion Festival Qhere
Image credit: Qhere

…..  styling workshops with professional stylist Roberta Style Lee, founder of the Ethical Brand Directory.  You need to pre-book these workshops via the website.

…..  a panel discussion “Fashion the Future” with leaders from the sustainable fashion movement including the founders of AmaElla, BuyMeOnce, Petit Pli (who create ingeniously designed clothing that grows with your child) and Mamoq (a market place for sustainable, ethical clothing).

Sustainable Fashion Festival Cambridge Petit Pli
Image credit: Petit Pli

…..  upcycling workshops so you can create a Christmas jumper.  Just turn up with your own plain jumper and they’ll supply the bling!

…..  a sewing themed Repair Cafe and Sewing Skillshare for repairs to clothes (best to book in advance to avoid a wait) or for one to one help with your sewing skills.

…..  a women’s wear Clothes Swapping Party, so bring along a few bits of clothing with accessories and shoes too if you like.

Plus you can get creative at the Kettle’s Yard drop-in and refuel at the cafe which will serve homemade cakes from the Cambridge Ladybirds WI.

Sustainable Fashion Festival Cambridge Rakha
Image credit: Rakha

This is a brilliant free event for all Cambridge fashionistas and for anyone who cares about the huge negative impact that fast fashion has on the environment.  Full details of the day are on the website.

http://www.circularcambridge.org/fashion

http://www.amaella.com

http://www.qhere.net

http://www.petitpli.com

http://www.buymeonce.com

http://www.mamoq.com

http://www.robertastylelee.co.uk

Cambridge Film Festival

Cambridge Film Festival celebrates film past, present and future, showcases new talent and brings film makers to the city for eight glorious days of screenings and events from 25 October to 1 November.

Cambridge Film Festival logo 2018

I met with Kayleigh Barnes, Marketing Co-ordinator at Cambridge Film Trust to find out more about this year’s Festival schedule.  Every year (in what sounds to me like a really fabulous job!) the Festival programmers visit major international film festivals – think London, Cannes, Berlin and Venice.  Their quest is to discover the best new films and documentaries out there and to bring a varied line up back to Cambridge, giving us a rare chance to see great films that we might otherwise miss.

Cambridge Film Festival film reel
Image credit: Cambridge Film Festival

Kayleigh and I talked about the diverse strands of programming that run alongside the main feature films and documentaries.  The Family Film Festival offers daytime film screenings suitable for all ages, with linked children’s arts and crafts activities and a BAFTA workshop while the Short Film programme brings us shorts from around the world.  For a film maker, having your work shown in this category is very prestigious indeed; in a lengthy selection process, hundreds of submissions are reviewed by a panel of film industry experts and each film is watched by three reviewers before a final forty films make the cut.

For fans of old movies, there’s a Silence and Sounds classics programme, screening vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment.  Experimental film making is showcased in the Microcinema programme while the very popular Camera Catalonia screens a selection of the best Catalan films.  Partnerships with the Cambridge African Film Festival and the Korean Cultural Centre enrich the Festival programme with contemporary films from across Africa and Korea.

Cambridge Film Festival live band
Image credit: Cambridge Film Festival

Cambridge Film Trust, a charity founded to promote film culture and education in the East of England, runs this event under the leadership of Festival Director, Toby Jones.  The Festival’s main venue is the Arts Picturehouse Cinema in St Andrew’s Street with screenings also being held at Emmanuel College just opposite and The Light Cinema at Cambridge Leisure Park.

Check out the Festival website where you’ll find the full programme of screenings and events and through which you can book tickets.

www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk

This post is part of my October “New in Cambridge” column in Velvet magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

Coming up in Cambridge …..

 

Cambridge Festival of Ideas logo 2018

The University of Cambridge opens its doors from 15 – 28 October for the 11th annual Festival of Ideas which this year explores the theme of “extremes”.  Celebrating the arts, humanities and social sciences, a packed programme of over 200 events includes talks, exhibitions, films, debates and performances held in galleries, museums and lecture theatres across the city.  There’s something here for everyone, whether your interest lies in politics, history, the arts, literature or music or whether you just want to open your mind to new ideas and to question the status quo.  Most events are free, some need to be booked in advance which you can do through the Festival website.

www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk

 

Apples in a box
Image credit:  Will Greenfield

In this season of mist and mellow fruitfulness, don’t miss Apple Day at the stunning forty acre Cambridge University Botanic Garden on 21 October.  It’s a wonderful celebration of all things appley with tastings, advice on cultivation, children’s activities, free guided garden tours and a marquee full of locally produced edibles.  Come hungry as you’ll find a wide choice of refreshments from a variety of food trucks and the Garden Café.  And if you have a mystery apple tree in your garden, you need the apple identification service.  Just bring along a couple of apples with a leaf and stalk attached and who knows, you may bring a lost heritage variety to light!

www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

People apple tasting
Image credit: Will Greenfield
Autumn Botanic Garden
Image credit: Will Greenfield

This post is part of my October “New in Cambridge” column in Velvet magazine.  Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

Coming up in Cambridge …..

The River Cam will echo to the rhythmic beating of drums and splashing of oars on 8 September as the annual Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival returns, with more than forty teams battling it out along a 200 metre course, raising money for Addenbrookes Charitable Trust.  Dragon boat racing is a terrific spectator sport so head down to Fen Ditton Meadow from where you can see all the action on the water and enjoy entertainment, food trucks and a bar on the river bank.  Read more here

www.cambridgebid.co.uk/events/dragon-boat-festival

Dragon boats on the Cam
Image credit: Vanessa Barton Photography

Bridge the Gap on 9 September is a circular walk through the beautiful grounds of six Cambridge colleges, several of which are not normally open to the public.  Starting and finishing at Parker’s Piece, this annual event is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.  There’ll be music and refreshments along the way, Blue Badge guides in each college to answer your questions plus entertainment, competitions and a tea tent on Parker’s Piece.  Your entry fee goes to Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Romsey Mill to support their invaluable work in the city.  Read more here

www.arhc.org.uk/bridgethegap

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Sir Cam

Open Cambridge on 14 and 15 September sees the University and partner organisations across the city open their doors, offering special access to places often hidden from public view.  There’s an extensive programme of tours, talks, exhibitions and events offering captivating glimpses into Cambridge history and heritage.  Most events are free, some require pre-booking.

www.opencambridge.cam.ac.uk

Trinity College Cambridge

 

This post is part of September’s “New in Cambridge” column in Velvet magazine.  See more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk

 

Cambridge Festival of Cycling

Cambridge is a city of bicycles … it’s by far the easiest (and greenest!) way to get around and now the city’s cycling culture is being celebrated in the first Cambridge Festival of Cycling, brought to us by Camcycle, with events happening throughout September.

Cambridge Festival of Cycling logo

Launching the Festival on 1 September is a social ride from King’s Parade to Eddington.  This will be leisurely so think about packing up a picnic and you’ll be able to buy ice cream and coffee from cargo bike traders.  Further highlights in a packed schedule include a screening of the Dutch film “Why we cycle”, a family cycling event and the Cargo Carnival.  Decorate your bike and join this parade of cyclists on a ride through the city centre, starting and finishing at Lammas Land, showing what you carry on your cargo bike!

Cambridge Festival of Cycling
Image credit:  Lucinda Price

And in a look back at the cycling attire of Victorian women, the Cambridge Ladybirds WI and Dr Kat Jungnickel, author of “Bikes and Bloomers” will host a discussion and cycle ride and, this being the WI, there will of course be tea and cake.  Other partner organisations are joining in through September with many diverse events so for the full programme, check out the Festival website.

Cambridge Festival of Cycling
Image credit: Lucinda Price

Camcycle started out life as Cambridge Cycling Campaign in 1995.  Then, as now, it works for better, safer and more cycling in and around Cambridge and provides a voice for the concerns of Cambridge cyclists.  Its campaigning has resulted in more cycle parking on streets and at transport hubs, early start green lights to enable cyclists to clear a crossing before cars and much, much more.  Camcycle has also been heavily involved in planning for the “Chisholm Trail”, a proposed new 3.5 kilometre walking and cycling route which will closely follow the railway line and run between Cambridge Station and the new Cambridge North Station.

You can become a member of Camcycle for a modest fee.  Not only will you be supporting their work, you’ll receive six newsletters a year, a quarterly magazine, discounts at a large number of bike shops and access to an online discussion forum.  The monthly general meetings at the Friend’s Meeting House on Jesus Lane are open to both members and non-members.

Camcycle Cambridge
Image credit:  Lucinda Price

Camcycle is a non profit organisation with a very small team at the helm so it always needs and welcomes volunteers to help with a huge variety of tasks through the year, whether it’s working on the magazine, taking photos, organising and marshalling rides or manning the Camcycle stall at events, to name just a few opportunities.  For the Festival of Cycling, many volunteer roles are available so whatever your skill set, if you’re keen to offer support in this way, check out the “Volunteer” page on the Festival website.

Camcycle Cambridge

Take a look at the website as there is so much more going on than I have space to write about here.  Most events are free and you don’t need to be a Camcycle member to join in the fun, everybody is welcome.

http://www.cambridgefestivalofcycling.org

http://www.camcycle.org.uk

This event takes place at multiple locations in and around the city.