Sarah Salway

Sarah Salway


Forget Sticks and Stones, it’s words that are powerful. As a writer and poet, Sarah’s material is the individual word: what each one tells us about our history, and also what we lose when we let certain ones – conker, holly, turnip – get taken out of our dictionaries. Her talk is a love letter to words – to their meanings, as well as how they taste in our mouths and sound in our ears.

Sarah Salway is a novelist, poet and writing tutor based in Kent. Her novels have been translated into several languages, and her poetry has appeared in many unusual places including financial newspapers, displayed in public parks and on postcards. She was the Canterbury Laureate, RLF Fellow at the LSE, and is currently writing her fourth novel.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Geeky, enlightening, playful.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
Curiosity, as well as wanting to be part of the TEDx movement and to share my love of words.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
I hope they are interested to look at the words they use a little deeper, and to have learned at least one thing they didn’t know before.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Length, but I love that!

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
To do it. And to inspire at least one person to pick up a dictionary and read it afterwards.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Hannah Brencher: Love Letters to Strangers – I use it with the writers I work with to make them think about our writing being used beyond a book or the page.


Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
Having volunteered at our Oxfam Bookshop in Chapel Place and worked with many writers here, I know this is a town full of readers. I also live in Mount Sion, and was excited recently to see a plaque to H W Fowler, author of Fowler’s Modern English Usage appear just down the hill.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
I’ll tell you after!!!

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
That everyone takes note of the words they use, and also to remember the ones they particularly enjoy and love. 

You can find Sarah on Twitter, facebook, instagram, and her website.