The I AM Writing Festival 2022 bookings ARE NOW OPEN!

Welcome to the I AM Writing Festival! This hybrid event has 65+ talks and workshops, some online and some in-person at the University of Winchester, all designed to help you improve your writing and editing skills, find inspiration, pitch to an agent or better understand the world of publishing. Whether it’s voice and viewpoint you need help with, setting your scene, understanding your protagonist and antagonist better, writing a poem, or a song, connecting with more readers of your books, or pitching to an agent or publisher, you will leave the workshop knowing how to shape your career as a writer. And with nine (yes, 9!) package prices available ranging from £37 for a single workshop to £597 for an Access All Areas pass, there’s something for everyone.

The 11 live virtual talks take place 4-8 June 2022 – with access to recordings until midnight 8 July 2022.

The in-person event is at the University of Winchester 10-12 June 2022 – for those wanting to mingle with other creatives.

Who’s coming?

We are ever grateful for all the people who agreed to be part of our incredible line-up. Our keynote speakers are Philip Ardagh, Joanna Cannon, Lucy Diamond, Juliet Mushens and Adele Parks. And our workshop leaders include bestselling Rhoda Baxter, Helen Dennis, Karen Hamilton, Debbie Howells, Lauren James, David Litchfield, L.V Matthews, Nicola May, Jenny McLachlan, James Nicol, Neema Shah, Amy Sparkes, Bookouture, HarperCollins, as well as festival favourites Tracy Corderoy, Adrienne Dines, Simon Hall, Scott Pack and many, many more.


Of course, we couldn’t have a festival without bringing #Agent121 to the fore – so we have a multitude of in-person literary agents/editors for you to seek feedback from and 20 to choose from online!

How do I view the programme and book?

Our packages and what’s on offer can be viewed by clicking the links below. To book visit the Package Prices link or our FAQ page to find answers to questions you may have. With so many workshops and talks available, we think your biggest problem may be knowing what to choose – good luck! And we really hope to meet you, either online or in-person. (Online slots are now closed)

Elane & Sarah
I AM in print


Our Original Press Release

After ten years as the Event Manager and then Director of the Winchester Writers’ Festival and Writers’ Weekend, and keeping it going through a pandemic(!), Sara Gangai has decided to retire from the Writers’ Weekend to focus on her new business, Shared Memories (details below).

She has cherished her time helping writers hone their skills, meet other writers and, for many, gain publication. Sara says, ‘I have loved meeting so many talented and passionate writers and am proud of the tiny part that I have played in their writing journey, but I believe that now is a good time for new leadership that will bring fresh energy and enthusiasm to the event. I would like to thank the many attendees, literary agents, commissioning editors and authors that have supported the Winchester Writers’ Festival and Writers’ Weekend over the years. I think that the founder of the Winchester Writers’ Festival, Barbara Large, would be thrilled that the seed that she planted over 40+ years ago has continued to grow and flourish and has remained one of the top festivals for writers in the UK!’

After searching for the perfect new owners, Sara is delighted to announce that Sarah Post and Elane Retford of I AM in Print will take over as co-directors!  The new event will be named The I AM Writing Festival and will be held from 10 – 12 June IN-PERSON at the University of Winchester with virtual elements beginning on 4 June!

A bit about Elane and Sarah

Elane and Sarah have ‘words’ to thank for their friendship after being forced to sit in alphabetical order on the first day of secondary school. Elane remembers marvelling that Sarah was really cool and how lucky she was to be next to her. Sarah recalls a girl who wouldn’t stop talking, and has been trying to get a word in edgeways ever since.

More than thirty years later, words played a significant role in their lives again. While attempting a co-authored novel*, they set up I AM in print immediately after their third delegate visit to the Winchester Writers’ Festival. Feeling freshly inspired, they wanted to continue learning about the publishing world and to share this knowledge with as many people as possible.

‘We’ve created dream jobs for ourselves.’ Sarah says. ‘Who wouldn’t enjoy being able to read and promote books, and chat with authors, agents and publishers for motivation and writing advice?’

Now in their third year of business, they have hosted multiple virtual events, have amassed thousands of worldwide writerly connections and a very large contacts book filled with agent, publisher and author details. They recognised a need to connect writers with agents directly for manuscript advice and setup #Agent121 in 2019 before virtual events became the norm! They host weekly agent sessions online for writers to obtain feedback on their submission packages when they most need it, as well as quarterly #Agent121 Weekends. There will be plenty of opportunities for agent feedback at the I AM Writing Festival both virtually, for ease of accessibility, and in person.

We love talking to and cheering on writers from around the world,’ Sarah continues, ‘and YES, we are proud to say that agent representation has been made a number of times through our room.”

The pair are now beyond thrilled to announce they are taking over as owners and directors of the former Winchester Writers’ Festival and Virtual Writers’ Weekend as Sara Gangai hands over the baton after over a decade of running the annual event. Elane and Sarah recognise that Sara is a tough act to follow and are grateful for all her support and advice as they work towards hosting the festival in 2022. Having started their publishing venture as writers themselves (*there’s that book again) they want everyone to feel assured that the event will be in safe hands as they take it forwards.

“We are honoured to continue the good work of Sara Gangai, Judith Heneghan and Barbara Large and can’t wait to get started”, says Elane before adding, “Having attended this festival as both delegates and exhibitors we understand what it means to writers and what they want to get out of their time at the event. And we will do our very best to ensure everyone leaves the festival inspired by some of the best professionals the industry has to offer.”

The full programme is yet to be announced but it will take place physically, at its home, The University of Winchester from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 June 2022, with a virtual element occurring from 4 June. They have already made a start on what promises to be an incredible lineup sparking lots of literary conversation, so make a note of the dates in your diary now and the new name: The I AM Writing Festival. Register for the I AM in print newsletter to be first to know what’s happening and get ready to select your festival package as bookings go live in the Spring!


Sara Gangai’s new venture is a small business that interviews and video-records individuals to capture their personal memories. Sara has an MA in Regional and Local History and Archaeology from the University of Winchester and has always had a passion to meet new people and hear their stories.  She believes that everyone has a unique story within them and it is important that these recollections are captured for posterity before they are lost.

She says, ‘If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that nothing can be taken for granted. We think that we’ll have all the time in the world to visit with relatives and share family stories. But in reality, it hasn’t been so easy. The result is that older family members have felt lonely and isolated, and important memories are being lost. I hope to remedy the situation with Shared Memories and give people of any age an opportunity to talk about their past so that they’re captured for future generations.’

Sara is in the early stages of the new company, but you can be assured that she will provide the highest level of service and professionalism, just as she has done for the Writers’ Weekend. To build her portfolio, she is offering a reduced price to the first three people that would like to be interviewed.

Some of the services she intends to deliver:

  • Personal Histories
  • Living Wills or Last Wishes
  • Anniversary or Birthday Tributes
  • Memorial Tributes
  • Grandma’s Recipes – we film while Grandma/pa makes favourite family recipes!
  • Business or Career Histories
  • House, Village or School Histories

To learn more as she gets up and running visit

Please spread the word to your friends and family and follow Sara on Twitter: @MemoriesShared and Facebook

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