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About Us

Led by two friends, Sarah Conacher and Helen Clarke, Play on Words Literary Festival began in 2018, bringing together a small group of enthusiastic volunteers, supported by New Milton Town Partnership, New Milton Lions Club and Forest Arts with sponsorship from local businesses.

The steering group felt it important to provide and eclectic mix of events, open to everybody, including platforms for local authors to promote, share, and develop their work. In 2023, the festival received funding from Arts Council England to further its ambitions to:


  • Provide a platform for New Forest and Hampshire Writers to promote their work

  • To encourage residents of New Milton and surrounding areas to engage with literature and language through a variety of media

  • To encourage inter-generational engagement in literature

  • To build a sense of community around literature in all its forms


Play on Words is led by the community, for people living in and visiting the New Forest. We rely on support from volunteers to make sure our events reflect the interests of those we serve and to ensure everyone has the best time possible. If you have any suggestions about events you’d like to see, if you’d like to join our festival committee, or if you could spare some time to help us coordinate and deliver events, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch using the button below.

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