New Westgate Literary Festival to host debut event

Author Julie Wassmer Photo Peter Tarry

An afternoon tea and author talk in Westgate this weekend is the first event organised by a new literary festival.

The Westgate Literary Festival, organised by Dr Gina May, will run on September 14-15 but a taster can be found this Sunday (February 24) when Whitstable author Julie Wassmer talks about her career.

Julie has written for Eastenders, London’s Burning and Family Affairs. In 2010, her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence was published by Harper Collins/True, telling the story of how, 20 years before, she was reunited by an extraordinary quirk of fate with the baby daughter she had given up for adoption when she was a teenager.

The book entered the Sunday Times Best Selling Non Fiction Top Twenty and went on to become Mumsnet Book of the Year.

In 2015, Julie’s debut crime novel, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, was published by award-winning publisher, Little, Brown Book Group. Four other books have since followed, with number six, Murder Fest, due out in May. The television rights to the series have been optioned by the TV production company, Buccaneer.

She will be the guest of the tea and talk being held at the Function Room at the Westgate Town Hall building in St Mildred’s Road from 3pm.

Tickets are £17 per person and include the afternoon tea. To book call 07828199547, email [email protected] or visit

Westgate’s newest festival

The festival set up by Dr May, a former Classics lecturer at Kent University, will feature talks and activities delivered by writers and experts from the industry.

Running alongside the events for adults will be two days of activities for children. These include children’s authors reading from their stories and talking about the characters, dressing up, a writing workshop and much more. Whitstable Books will provide a pop-up bookshop where signed copies of the authors’ work will be available and there will be refreshments available across all the venues.

To encourage budding authors, there is a short story competition which has both adult and children’s categories. This year also sees the launch of a new literary competition specifically for authors aged over 65. The Dee May Prize for Fiction has a 5,000 word limit and must be on the topic of aging. All are open now for submissions.

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