It’s a well-documented fact that writing your first novel is a difficult, emotional but we hope ultimately rewarding journey. This week, we’re shining a spotlight on three first time authors who will be joining us at the Festival this year at three different events.

Whether you’re thinking of writing a novel yourself or looking to discover your new favourite novelist, don’t miss meeting these debut authors at this year’s Chipping Norton Literary Festival.

Harriet Cummings - We All Begin as Strangers

Harriet began writing as a freelancer with a background in art history and gender studies. She threw herself into her first novel, We All Begin as Strangers, while studying at the Faber Academy and hasn't looked back since. She lives in Leamington Spa with her husband and springer spaniel and is currently working on her second novel.

Meet Harriet at this year’s festival event New Voices, celebrating incredible new talents to watch out for this year. 10am Sat 29 April

Keith Stuart – A Boy Made of Blocks

Keith’s first novel, A Boy Made of Blocks, was informed by his own experience with his son who was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and the powerful, creative journey they took as together as a family.

Keith will be speaking at Unbroken Voices, 2pm Sat 29 April, an event featuring three writers all with their own experience of writing children or teenagers trying to find stability in a chaotic world.

Hannah Kohler – The Outside Lands

Hannah’s debut novel, The Outside Lands, is the story of people caught in the slipstream of history, how we struggle in the face of loss to build our world, and how easily and with sudden violence it can be swept away. It takes us from 1960s California to Vietnam, capturing what it means to live through historic times.

If you’re thinking of writing a novel yourself, don’t miss Hannah speaking at Trade Secrets, 10am Fri 28 April, discussing the journey of her novel from the first inkling of an idea through to publication, how to research a novel, and what the publishing process can be like for a first time author.

If you love discovering new authors, we recommend you check out Readers First, a new website where you can read the best books from debut talents and established favourites for free before they’re published.

The Readers First team will be at ChipLitFest next week giving away free books to everyone who signs up for the website. Look out for them at the information booth in the market square!