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Celebrating Women Past and Present with Roman Women, Women Today at Vindolanda and The Sill

Two of Bardon Mill’s most popular venues, The Sill and Vindolanda, have partnered with Hexham Book Festival to bring a series of women-focused events and activities to our wonderful County. The events and activities will celebrate women from the past: those who were alive during the Roman occupation of Britain and the present: those who live and work along Hadrian’s Wall today.

As part of Great Northumberland 2018, two writing competitions are being offered to young people across the County. The competitions are inspired by the discovery at Vindolanda of what is believed to be the earliest surviving female handwriting from Britain; in the form of letters (tablets) with a unique birthday invitation from Claudia Severa to Sulpicia Lepidina – who was the wife of the garrison’s commander in AD100!

The first of the two competitions will be judged by author, Caroline Lawrence, who created The Roman Mystery series. Students from Middle Schools across Northumberland have been invited to write a short story of up to 500 words about either someone from Roman times or someone living near The Wall now. And, on Monday 16 July, Lawrence will judge stories and present awards at The Sill. As well as this, a linked digital exhibition of the young people’s work will be on display at The Sill and Vindolanda.

For the second of the two competitions, the net has been cast far wider; Flash Fiction is open to all aged 16+ and involves writing 300 words (or less) with the title The Jewel of The Wall. Winners of this open-to-all competition will be chosen by renowned-Classicist, Natalie Haynes. Winners and runners up will be able to listen to Haynes reading out their fiction at a free event on Saturday 4 August at The Sill.


 Why not have a go at writing a short story? You could end up having your work read out by Natalie Haynes! For further details on how to enter, please visit Hexham Book Festival’s website:

Writing not your thing? You can still get involved in Roman Women, Women Today by going along to a judging event or by taking part in a workshop, designed for children aged 5+ and those who care for them!


The Middle Schools event with Caroline Lawrence at The Sill is on Monday 16 July at 10:30am.

The Flash Fiction Awards with Natalie Haynes is on Saturday 4 August at 11am. 

Join Haynes as she stands up for the Classics at 2pm on Saturday 4 August at Vindolanda.

Workshops take place on Saturday 4 August at 11am and 2pm with Michelle Wood at The Sill and also on Sunday 5 August at 11am and 2pm with Chloe Daykin at Vindolanda.


The Sill, National Landscape Discovery Centre, Bardon Mill, Hexham, Northumberland, NE47 7AN

Vindolanda, Chesterholm Museum, Bardon Mill, Hexham, Northumberland, NE47 7JN

Originally posted on the Great Northumberland 2018 website, here. Written on behalf of CRYSTLSD client, Great Northumberland.

Nicole MullenComment