MALPAS author Sian Hughes, whose first novel Pearl was longlisted for the world-famous Booker Prize, took part in a special launch event for the Wrexham Carnival of Words 2024 which is celebrating ten years.

The novel is set just over the border at Tilston in Cheshire and was described by the Booker judges as “an exceptional debut novel, both a mystery story and a meditation on grief, abandonment and consolation”.

It tells the story of Marianne who is eight- years- old when her mother goes missing. Left behind with her baby brother and grieving father in a ramshackle house on the edge of a small village, she clings to the fragmented memories of her mother’s love. As Marianne grows up, she struggles to adjust until she finds solace in an old poem, Pearl, but will it help to heal her and will her own future as a mother enable her to find peace?

Sian Hughes spoke about her novel with bookylicious podcaster Paul Jeorrett at the launch at Wrexham Library on Wednesday night.

Sian, who owns and runs Magpie Bookshop in Malpas explained how her three ambitions had been to get a book published, have a sticker on the front for making a shortlist and speaking at a book festival. All those have now been ticked off the bucket list!

Taking questions from the audience Sian explained her novel took around 30 years to complete as she kept putting it away and then going back to it with it beginning originally as a homework project. She said: " There was really no research involved, I just listened to my mother's stories."

The launch event also featured the announcement of the winner of the 2024 Murder Mystery competition.

The winning script was Murder Most Musical by Maddie Templeman and Gaynor Brooke.

The script will be performed during the Carnival week, on Wednesday April 24. They also receive £100 and four complimentary tickets to the event.

Maddie and Gaynor, who wrote the script over Zoom together, taking two characters each, said they were blown away by their success and hoped to turn it into a novel.

The announcement was made by the Mayor of Wrexham, Cllr Andy Williams together with million selling British crime novelist Simon McCleave. His first book, ‘The Snowdonia Killings’, reached No 1 in the Amazon UK Chart and his subsequent novels in the DI Ruth Hunter Crime Thriller Series have all been Amazon Best Sellers and many have hit the top of the UK Digital Chart. He has sold over two million books since 2020. The sixteenth novel in the series is, appropriately, The Wrexham Killings. The Ruth Hunter Snowdonia books are currently in development as a television series.

The Wrexham Carnival of Words is an annual literature festival and takes place during the week of 20th-27th April .

The full programme has now been published at and, among the myriad of authors taking part, are Joanne Harris, Catherine Isaac, Simon McCleave and Katy Watson, Suzan Holder, Mike Parker, Elen Caldecott and Vaseem Khan.

Tickets for all events can be booked online or obtained from Wrexham Library. The special Festival Ticket is available at an ‘early bird’ rate until the end of March.

There is a special event at Wrexham library on Wednesday April 3 at 1pm when Marie Ann Cope will be speaking about her book The Headhunter.