See below for our latest round up of Book festivals for the late Summer and Early Autumn. Click on the links below or scroll down to find out more.
Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature and Thought – Scottish Borders 22-23 Aug
Bewdley Book Week – Worcestershire 7 – 13 Sept
The International Agatha Christie Festival – Torquay, Devon 11-20 Sept
Bloody Scotland – Stirling 11 – 13 Sept
Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival – 17 – 20 Sep
Henley Literature Festival – 28 Sept – 4 Oct
Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature and Thought Traquair House, August 22-23
First Ministers Past and Present Gather at Traquair House
Beyond Borders Scotland has launched the programme for its sixth International Festival of Literature and Thought – held at Traquair House on August 22 & 23 – welcoming three First Ministers, past and present, to the platform to share their personal experiences and future hopes for Scotland in the UK and the wider world.
Mark Muller Stuart, Executive-Director of Beyond Borders said; “We believe there is something for everyone in this year’s programme. Whether you are interested in politics, literature, art, music or spellbinding stories from around the world, Traquair House and its beautiful grounds offer the perfect setting for a weekend of vibrant public debate, walks, rides and food tasting. We urge everyone to come and travel beyond borders.”
This year the Scottish political landscape takes centre stage with panels uncovering the lives of some of Scotland’s foremost politicians. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond MP join the Festival on different days to discuss the impact of the Referendum and the General Election as well as what it means to be the First Minister of Scotland, while Lord Jack McConnell reveals what happens when you lose high office in ‘What Jack did Next: Life after Politics’.
Looking further afield, 20 years on from the tragic events in Srebrenica, Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson MSP goes back to her roots in journalism to interview veteran foreign correspondents Janine di Giovanni and Allan Little about reporting from international conflict zones in ‘Srebrenica Remembered’. This panel will be accompanied by all-day screenings of Srebrenica Survivors, a documentary film directed by Bosnian Samir Mehanovic, which tells the stories of those who survived the genocide.
Other international talks feature Magnus Linklater on the rise of Islamic State, veteran UN diplomat Staffan de Mistura on the search for peace in Syria, and Indian politician Shashi Tharoor on the future of India.
The programme also encompasses numerous literary talks from celebrated poet Blake Morrison, novelist Rachel Cusk, Palestinian writer Raja Shehadeh, as well as historical tales from William Dalrymple about “Mughals in Kilts” and Andrew Duff on a Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom. Away from the main stage, Stuart Kelly talks to Murray Pittock in the Traquair Chapel about the Jacobite Uprising, while Mary Kenny takes walkers on a Jacobite romp, and food writer Fiona Bird goes foraging with local writer Fi Houston.
On a more light-hearted note Steve Richards returns for a satirical look at the UK’s political classes with Sir Menzies Campbell, while Yasmin Alibhai-Brown performs her Fringe show ‘Promiscuous England.’ Other theatrical performances include Guy Masterson’s award-winning rendition of Under Milkwood, and Gerald Gifford plays a unique collection of 18th century pieces on the Traquair Rucker’s harpsichord.
Richard Demarco, Director of the Demarco European Arts Foundation, who will speak about his life in the arts in celebration of his 85th birthday, said of the Festival, “This Festival puts Traquair on the international map and gives a new and dynamic beating heart to international arts festivals.”
The full Beyond Borders Scotland Summer Events Programme and Box Office is available online at www.beyondbordersscotland.com Tickets: Weekend Pass £45/Day Pass £24/Individual Events £9/Walks and Cycle Rides £6. For more information, email email@example.com or call 0131 557 7775.
Bewdley Book Week 7-13 September 2015
Poet Laureate Star of Bewdley Book Week
In what is a major coup for a literary festival of its size, Bewdley Book Week has secured an appearance by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
The week-long festival of writing is only in its fifth year but the appearance of the internationally recognised wordsmith this September marks a step-change in its growth. In this eye-catching event, Carol Ann Duffy will perform her work in a distinctly informal setting in tandem with traditional music from Worcester-based band Bitterroots. There’s support from Malvern-based poet Michael Woods. The show is on Friday 11th September and tickets (only £12) are on sale now. It’s bound to be a sell-out so the organisers are encouraging everybody to book early to avoid missing out on what promises to be a lively and stimulating evening.
There’s something for everyone in the eclectic Book Week 2015 programme from a philosopher talking about life from the point of view of death (Raymond Tallis – Monday 7th September) to a music biographer talking about shady goings on in the world of pop music (Clinton Heylin – Wednesday 9th September). Somewhere in between, a BBC foreign affairs producer lifts the lid on his turbulent relationship with the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, John Simpson (Oggy Boytchev – Tuesday 8th September.)
Another event that is already proving to be hugely attractive, the Saturday afternoon event ‘Tea and Cake with Katie, Jo and Rachel’, Heart FM’s breakfast show co-presenter Rachel New, herself an aspiring author, will moderate a conversation with bestselling romantic novelists Katie Fforde and Jo Thomas.
There’s lots more besides and the full programme can be found at http://bewdleybookweek.org.uk. Tickets can be purchased on-line from this website. Alternatively, they’re available from Bewdley’s Tourist Information Centre 0845 607 7819.
THE INTERNATIONAL AGATHA CHRISTIE FESTIVAL 11-20 September in Torquay, Devon
Fresh insights into the life, literature and legacy of the world’s best-selling author are promised to visitors of all ages when the expanded 125th anniversary edition of the International Agatha Christie Festival (IACF) takes place in her home town of Torquay in Devon, from September 11-20.
Upwards of 10,000 people are expected to be drawn in by the festival’s nine days of talks, tours, book launches, exhibitions, theatre, films, writing workshops, vintage entertainments and by a celebrity guest list which includes broadcaster Kate Adie; novelists Martin Edwards, Sophie Hannah, Bonnie MacBird and Ali Sparkes; Christie scholar John Curran, theatre expert Julius Green and artist Tom Adams, among many others.
Speaking as the full programme was published online, Dr Anna Farthing, director of the 2015 festival, said: “As well as being the world’s best-selling author, its most translated novelist and the UK’s most successful woman playwright, Dame Agatha Christie was a fascinating character, whose work was shaped by her life and times and whose enduring impact reaches much further than her writings. In programming this 125th anniversary festival, my aim has been to fully reflect this breadth and depth by supplementing favourite and familiar stories with new viewpoints and fresh insights – some of them never made public before – in ways that will appeal as much to younger people and newcomers as they will to lifelong fans.”
More than 100 events will be on the festival menu with each day taking a special theme, starting on Saturday 12 September with a Family Day of children’s author-led workshops, trails, stories and an outdoor show on the lawns where a young Agatha herself performed. The week then continues with focuses on the First World War years; Miss Marple; the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, International Agatha, Agatha & Theatre and Agatha For Everyone.
At the heart of the programme will be a birthday party on September 15 at the festival’s main venue, Torre Abbey, while other highlights and locations will include:
- an exhibition of previously unpublished photos from the Christie family’s private archives;
- book talks and launches by, among others, Kate Adie (discussing Agatha & WW1); Sophie Hannah (whose new novel A GAME FOR ALL THE FAMILY was written while she was also working on her recent Poirot best-seller), crime writer Martin Edwards sharing episodes from his factual account, THE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER and Julius Green, whose latest title CURTAIN UP, explores Agatha Christie’s output as the world’s most successful female playwright;
- French cookery writer Anne Martinetti, author of a series of recipe books linked to writers/film-makers, preparing food from Christie stories in the kitchen at Agatha’s long-time Devon home: Greenway on the river Dart, near Brixham;
- John Curran leading an illustrated Q&A with the artist Tom Adams, 90 next year, who between 1963 and 1975 designed around 100 covers for Christie’s paperbacks
- daily workshops led by leading authors and publishers
- a series of vintage and social occasions – among them a vintage fair, a tea dance, a cocktail party and a grand ball at Greenway
- an introduction to poisons by A IS FOR ARSENIC author Dr Kathryn Harkup and a guided tour of the potent plants garden at Torre Abbey
- A resident company of professional actors giving pop-up performances and readings
- Events linked to the BBC’s new David Walliams and Jessica Raine series, PARTNERS IN CRIME, based on Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence stories plus a rare silent film featuring the same characters showing with a live piano accompaniment
- A gala evening marking the 80th anniversary of the RNIB’s Talking Book for the Blind service and its choice of Christie’s THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD as its first work of fiction.
For full programme details, including venues, ticket prices and bookings, please see: www.agathachristiefestival.com
BLOODY SCOTLAND 11-13 September in Stirling
As the literary world celebrates Agatha Christie’s 125th anniversary, this year’s Bloody Scotland festival pays homage to crime writing past, present and future. Martina Cole, Linwood Barclay, Ian Rankin, Arne Dahl, Val McDermid, Lindsey Davis and Ann Cleeves are amongst the major names confirmed to attend the most star-studded edition of the Stirling-based crime writing festival to date.
The festival, which showcases the best of Scottish and international crime writing in the historic and ancient town centre of Stirling, will run from 11 – 13 September this year. The science behind crime writing comes to the fore in a number of events, some of the most famous crime authors in the world are coming to Stirling to talk about their books, and the festival joins in the Agatha Christie celebrations with an extra special event.
In a huge coup for the festival, Martina Cole, one of the biggest names in international crime fiction, whose books have sold over ten million copies in the UK alone, will offer Bloody Scotland audiences an exclusive sneak preview of her soon-to-be-published novel Get Even, in conversation with Guardian columnist Erwin James.
Linwood Barclay, author of thirteen novels including the international best-sellers Trust Your Eyes, A Tap on the Window and No Time for Goodbye, comes over from Canada for a UK exclusive event, to close the festival in style. Lindsey Davis, the phenomenally popular creator of Roman dectective Falco, is guaranteed to fill Stirling’s Albert Halls as she introduces her new novel Deadly Election. Arne Dahl, possibly Sweden’s most famous crime fiction export, returns to Bloody Scotland following the huge success of his series about the Intercrime Unit on BBC4. Ian Rankin teams up with Philip Kerr, author of the Bernie Gunther novels, to discuss what happens when your lead detective becomes even more popular than you are. Ann Cleeves will not only be appearing at the festival, but will be taking a group of readers on a trip to Shetland immediately after the festival proper finishes for a tour of the landscapes that inspired her Jimmy Perez novels and the hugely-acclaimed BBC TV series. Denise Mina teams up with award-winning South African-based novelist Belinda Bauer to discuss the creations of intelligent, character-driven fiction.
The science of crime comes under the microscope this year. The festival celebrates Agatha Christie’s anniversary with an exciting event looking at the grande dame of crime fiction’s obsession with poisons. Dr Kathryn Harkup, author of the book A is for Arsenic, and Christie expert Ragnar Jonasson, who has been Christie’s Icelandic translator since he was seventeen, will discuss the art of chemistry Christie used to kill the vast majority of her ‘victims’. Leading authors Val McDermid and Lin Anderson discuss the science of forensic evidence: Anderson’s Rhona MacLeod novels show her years of research into forensic and scientific detection, while McDermid has recently published a fascinating non-fiction work, Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime.
As ever, Bloody Scotland includes lots of events that don’t quite conform to the standard book festival template. After its huge popularity in 2014, the festival restages its Scotland vs. England all-crime-writers football match, with team captain Ian Rankin and star strikers Chris Brookmyre and Doug Johnstone already confirmed for the Scotland squad. Whose Crime Is It Anyway? sees comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli and a live audience force authors Caro Ramsay, Kevin Wignall and Chris Brookmyre to improvise the plot of a novel live onstage. The festival will also be taking over Stirling’s famous Curly Coo pub for a night of song and comedy hosted by a number of authors.
Scottish crime writers including William McIlvanney, Doug Johnstone, Craig Robertson and Neil Broadfoot look at what make Glasgow and Edinburgh such distinctive settings for noir fiction, while a special true crime event looks sees Tom Wood, one of the leading officers in Edinburgh’s notorious World’s End Murders case, in conversation with journalist Bob Smyth, who covered the case extensively.
There are also a number of events celebrating crime fiction’s next generation. Bestselling author Alex Gray presents her choice of the best new crime books around (and their authors); highly acclaimed debut novelists Lucy Ribchester (The Hourglass Factory) and Not The Booker Prize-winner Simon Sylvester (The Visitors) make first-time appearances with their alternative takes on the genre, and the Pitch Perfect event offers new writers the chance to pitch their novels and get advice from a panel of publishing experts. The festival also teams up with other established crime writing organisations, including Nordic Noir, Brighton’s Dark & Stormy Festival and the authors’ collective Killer Women.
Finally, the festival will also include the fourth annual Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year Award – a gala dinner in the company of major crime writers. Last year’s winner, Peter May, will be opening the festival in conversation with Val McDermid.
Tickets are on sale from www.bloodyscotland.com or at the Box Office in the Tolbooth, Stirling, from Tuesday – Saturday (10-6am) on 01786 27 4000. Free standby tickets are available to the unemployed or those on a low income, on the day of the event if there is good availability. Proof of eligibility is required: visit www.bloodyscotland.com/standby.
BUDLEIGH SALTERTON LITERARY FESTIVAL 17-20 September
This year’s festival reveals a diverse selection of critically acclaimed, award-winning authors who are set to descend on the East Devon seaside town for the festival’s 7th consecutive year.
Appearing on Thursday afternoon will be celebrated children’s author and artist, Judith Kerr, creator of iconic books such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit and the Mog series. Judith will be discussing Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work, which celebrates her impressive 45 year career.
Also making an appearance on Thursday afternoon will be British actress, comedian and writer Helen Lederer who will discuss her debut novel Losing It, and her colourful career. Returning to the festival line-up is double Man Booker Prize winner and long-standing Honorary Festival President, Dame Hilary Mantel DBE, who will give an account of the literature that has shaped her life and writing, in an event entitled My Life in Books, the first of two appearances over the four days.
On the Friday, acclaimed biographers Ruth Scurr and Rachel Holmes will discuss their weighty biographies of 17th century English gentleman John Aubrey and radical feminist, campaigner and biographer Eleanor Marx.
Legendary artist and textile designer Kaffe Fassett will share his love of colour and bold patterns, whilst former cricketer turned cricket commentator David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd will talk about his forthcoming memoir and thoughts on the game. Debut authors Paula Hawkins and Renee Knight will also wax lyrical about their exceptional and bestselling, debut thrillers, The Girl on The Train and Disclaimer.
Following the success of her debut novel Tigers in Red Weather, former New York Times journalist and Sunday Times bestselling author, Liza Klaussman will be discussing her latest book Villa America. Set on the French Riviera in the 1920s, the novel focuses on Gerald and Sara Murphy; the couple that inspired Tender is the Night, and the distinguished guests that visited them, including Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and Pablo Picasso.
Friday evening closes with an exciting event that celebrates the BBC’s television adaptations of Winston Graham’s much loved Poldark. His son Andrew Graham will discuss the process of bringing the characters, stories and rugged Cornish Coast to life with the series scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield (Making Out, Cutting It, Sex, Chips and Rock’n’Roll). There’s also a strong possibility that members of the cast or crew will join this event.
Also on Saturday is acclaimed British dramatist David Hare who will be making a special appearance at the Festival to talk about his exceptional life writing for theatre, film and television. A BAFTA winner, he will be discussing his forthcoming memoir, The Blue Touch Paper, with Observer writer Rachel Cooke.
British-Chinese writer and Radio presenter Xinran will be talking about her thoughts on China and her eye-opening new book Buy Me The Sky: the Remarkable Truth of China’s One-Child Generation. Eminent philosopher John Gray will be discussing free will and pondering the timeless question: Do human beings want more choice in their lives…. Or do they really dream of being free from the burden of choice altogether?
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland and explore what makes Lewis Carroll’s magical tale of Alice so unique and distinctive, whilst Bookclub favourite Patrick Gale will talk about the mysterious family history that inspired his wonderful new novel, A Place Called Winter.
Dame Margaret Drabble will discuss her fantastic latest novel, The Pure Gold Baby and her thoughts on storytelling and great literature, whilst Man Booker Prize winner Ben Okri will wax lyrical about creativity, transformation and his first new novel in seven years, The Age of Magic. Bringing the festival to a close on Sunday afternoon will be much loved author Sarah Waters who will read and talk about her acclaimed latest novel, The Paying Guests.
The Festival will also feature three local authors. Christine Lee will discuss her relationship with her sister Jennifer Worth (author of Call the Midwife) and her debut novel The Midwife’s Sister. Budleigh author and artist Jed Falby will talk about his debut graphic novel, Le Train de Michel, with renowned comic expert and author Paul Gravett. And Peter Nasmyth will share his passion for the Literature and Landscape of East Devon with an illustrated talk.
For information and to purchase tickets visit www.budlitfest.org.uk . Tickets can be booked in person or by phone from The Tourist Information Centre: 01395 445 275.
HENLEY LITERARY FESTIVAL 28 September – 4 October
Actors, adventurers, comedians, cooks, politicians And sports stars join bestsellers at Henley Literary Festival
This autumn’s Henley Literary Festival is the biggest yet with 170 talks, Q&As, performances and workshops with speakers including Brian Blessed, Jane Hawking, Lynda La Plante, Sue Perkins and the Archbishop of York.
Henley Literary Festival, in association with Baillie Gifford, takes place at venues across the picturesque riverside town from September 28 to October 4, including one of the UK’s oldest theatres, a boat on the Thames and the historic Fawley Court, which is opening its doors to the public for the first time in 175 years for a special event with Downtown Abbey writer Jessica Fellowes. Jane Hawking will discuss her memoir, which formed the basis for Oscar-winning film The Theory of Everything. Adventurers Ranulph Fiennes and Ben Fogle will be returning to Henley after sell-out events in the past, while the world of religion will be represented by Cormac Murphy O’Connor, former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.
Fiction events range from international bestsellers Louis de Bernieres, Lynda La Plante, SJ Watson, Deborah Moggach and Sex & The City creator Candace Bushnell to newer talents including Emma Hooper, Sunny Singh, and Vaseem Khan. Festival favourites Rachel Johnson, Melvyn Bragg, Gill Hornby and Princess Michael of Kent will also be discussing their latest novels.
History will loom large as ever, including Max Hastings on World War Two, Peter Snow on Waterloo and Bonnie Greer on Rosa Parks. Food-writers Ella Woodward, Prue Leith, Shivi Ramoutar and Celebrity Masterchef winner Lisa Faulkner will all be appearing at the festival, as will music stars Tracey Thorn, Bob Harris and Dean Friedman.
From stage and screen there is Brian Blessed, Virginia McKenna, Sue Perkins and Pam St Clement, while sport will be represented by former England cricket coach David Lloyd and Australian Rugby World Cup winner Michael Lynagh. Politicians past and present include Vince Cable, Caroline Lucas, Charles Clarke and William Waldegrave. Other speakers over the week include columnists Polly Vernon, Bryony Gordon, Yasmin Alibhai‐Brown and Will Hutton, campaigner Caroline Criado‐Perez and raconteur Gyles Brandreth, who hosts the Festival’s first literary lunch at Henley’s Hotel du Vin.
For tickets and further information visit: www.henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk.
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