Local artists create shrines to authors during literary festival

Unique ‘shrines’ to a group of authors and their work will be created during next month’s Margate Bookie literary festival.

On Saturday 29 September, local artist Elspeth (Billie) Penfold and the group Thread and Word will lead a creative walk around Margate. Drawing inspiration from Dee Heddon’s walking libraries and the book Home Altars of New Mexico by Dana Salvo, special shrines will be assembled at locations on the route. These will celebrate the work of four writers who are appearing at the Bookie – Jess Kidd, Elise Valmorbida, PJ Whiteley and Owen Lowery.

The shrines are known as ofrendas, the Spanish word for offering, and will incorporate materials from local artists and the authors themselves. The monuments are temporary and will be assembled, photographed and taken down as part of the walk.

Elspeth Penfold said: “The walk is taking the form of a pilgrimage. It will be a journey through poetry, books and the passion and following these provoke.”

Elspeth has collaborated with the filmmaker Anna Bowman to create a short film called Ofrendas. It documents the route, explaining how it was selected, and the items supplied by the four authors, including notes, research, items of clothing and details of music they listen to while working. The film will be shown several times between 10:30am and 11:15am in the Foyle Room at Turner Contemporary. The walk will then get underway at 11:30am.

The walk will last for approximately 90 minutes and the route is mostly flat. Participation is free, but places must be booked in advance as there is a limit on numbers.

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