Shrewsbury will be playing host to all things Darwin next month with a range of events designed to encourage “curiosity and independent thinking”.

More than 30 free events aimed at all ages are being organised by a variety of groups and individuals and will be taking place at venues around the town during the DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival from February 8th to 24th.

One of the events will feature a talk by Gwen Burnyeat, a great, great, great granddaughter of Charles Darwin, Shrewsbury’s most famous son who was born and lived in the town.

Aleks Vladimirov, partnerships manager at Shrewsbury BID which co-ordinates the festival, said: “The festival is hugely popular and we are very excited about what is on offer this year.

“The festival is now in its third year in its present format and will provide thought-provoking entertainment for all ages.

“I would like to highlight the efforts of all those people who are arranging events during the month and Shrewsbury BID is delighted to be playing a part by coordinating and promoting the festival.

“Darwin holds a special place in history, it’s right that we should pay this tribute and the festival is one of a number of events held through the year which bring tremendous benefits and are something our town can be proud of.”

The event featuring Gwen Burnyeat will be held at 37-38 High Street on Friday, February 22 and focuses on the Colombia peace process from 2012 to 2016 aimed at ending 50 years of war between the FARC guerrillas and the government.

This talk describes the government’s ‘peace pedagogy’ strategy, in parallel to negotiations, of informing Colombians about the peace process: a global innovation.

Other events during the month include The Shrewsbury Biscuit Podcast which offers regular updates on the festival through interviews with organisers of the many and varied events.

Guided tours of Darwin’s childhood in Shrewsbury will operate on February 9, 10, 11 and 16, 17, 18, meeting at St Chad’s Church. The tour will focus on his early years and parts of the town which acted as an inspiration for him to be curious and think independently.

The Shropshire Young Thinkers’ Competition is making a return this year – a creative competition which will result in three winners across different age groups. Under the title, Dear Darwin, this year’s challenge will be to write a letter aimed at enticing Darwin to take a journey into the past, present or future in the real world or an imaginary place.

The Darwin Park Run takes place in The Quarry Park over 5K on Saturday, February 9, an event where competitors are encouraged to enter into the spirit of the festival by donning fancy dress inspired by Darwin.

And on Saturday and Sunday, February 23 and 24 storytelling workshops will be held at the Flaxmill Maltings Visitor Centre when local storyteller Fran O’Boyle will talk about the secrets of good storytelling.

For more information on these events and to find out what else is going on during the festival, visit https://originalshrewsbury.co.uk/darwin-shrewsbury-festival