Marking its 35th anniversary this year, the annual three-day Festival aims to nurture new and emerging creative writers from around the UK and overseas, offering access to established authors, literary agents and publishers.
Author of the best-selling trio of novels Birdsong, Charlotte Gray and The Girl at the Lion d’Or, Sebastian’s recent work includes an exploration of the origins of psychiatry in Human Traces, the James Bond Centenary novel Devil May Care, and his homage to PG Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells.
“The Festival embraces all genres and forms of writing, so Sebastian’s ability to engage with and adopt a variety of literary voices makes him the perfect choice for this year’s keynote,” said Judith Heneghan, Festival Director and Programme Leader for MA Writing for Children at the University of Winchester.
In his address, titled Making it Up, Making it Real, Sebastian draws on the experience of his own distinguished career to offer inspiration and advice to emerging writers.
“The title hints at the attention he pays to meticulous research combined with vividly imagined human predicaments and his extraordinary sense of time and place,” added Judith.
This year’s Festival sees more than 70 literary agents, editors and writers offering talks, workshops and one-to-one sessions with attendees.