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October and November Book Festival News. Harrogate History Festival, Bridport Literary Festival, Petworth Literary Weekend

Harrogate History Festival 20-23 October

history-logoNow in its fourth year, delivered by Harrogate International Festivals, giants of the history genre attending include Antony Beevor, Philippa Gregory, Tracy Chevalier, Joe Abercrombie, Nicholas Crane and Paddy Ashdown. The Harrogate History Festival cements Harrogate’s profile as a leading destination for book lovers. It takes place 20-23 October at the Old Swan Hotel.

Antony Beevor is a historian who has transformed the genre and inspired a generation. His history of the battle of Stalingrad catapulted him to international fame in 1998. His latest book Ardennes 1944 – Hitler’s Last Gamble went straight to No 1 on the Sunday Times Bestseller list.

Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring was snapped up by Hollywood, starring Colin Firth, catapulting Chevalier into the literary spotlight. Her latest novel, At the Edge of the Orchard, is a dark, evocative and sweeping story of a pioneer family in Ohio, 1838.

Another author who seduced the big screen with The Other Boleyn Girl – which starred Mark Rylance, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson – is Philippa Gregory. She returns to the Tudors, with her latest novel Three Sisters, Three Queens.

Sticking with the Tudors, Tracy Borman’s The Private Lives of the Tudors, looks at their domestic secrets, including intimate body servants who accompanied the king to the privy.

Special Guest, Paddy Ashdown, is one of the most respected political figures, and a former Royal Marine. The statesman and life peer proves the pen is more powerful than the sword. Game of Spies, tells the story of a lethal spy triangle in Bordeaux between 1942 and 1944.

Co-presenter of BBC’s Coast, Nicholas Crane, uses his on-screen charisma to take us on a journey with his latest book, The Making of the British Landscape – part journey, part history – exploring how geology shapes our cities, industry, climate, economy and lives.

Harrogate is a beautiful location steeped in its own history, so we hope to attract tourists, as well as giving local audiences a fantastic opportunity to be enlightened, entertained and inspired by some of the country’s leading literary minds. As a genre, history is hot, increasingly dominating our bookshelves and screens.

The Festival also features fantasy writer, Joe Abercrombie, singled out by Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin for his ‘terrific work’. Author and TV presenter Tom Holland discusses his latest book, Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar, a formidable account of Rome’s terrifying first dynasty. The academic, cultural historian and TV presenter, Dr Janina Ramirez, shines a light on the Dark Ages with The Private Lives of the Saints: Power, Passion and Politics in Anglo-Saxon England. Janina has also fronted two rock bands.

Panel events will explore themes including Spies: Beyond Bond, Sex and Violence, and Game of Thrones, with a Writing History creative writing workshop for aspiring authors.

The Friday night features a presentation for the Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction Award, and the Historical Writers’ Association Goldsboro Debut Crown. This coveted award is presented to the book judged to be the best debut in historical fiction and comes with a £1,000 prize.

For individual tickets, Day Rovers or Weekend Rovers and accommodation packages, visit or call the Box Office on 01423 562303 


The Bridport Literary Festival 6-13 November

The festival is now in its 12th year and goes from strength to strength. This year’s eclectic mix of speakers promises to appeal again to all those who read books and love literature. The programme of events includes a stellar cast of writers both of fiction and non-fiction. ‘We always plan to invite authors who will intrigue, enlighten and entertain’ says festival director, Tanya Bruce-Lockhart and this year’s line up certainly promises to banish away the dark and gloomy days of winter.






As well as National Treasure Alan Titchmarsh and best selling novelists Margaret Drabble and Salley Vickers,

the year cannot pass without a tribute to William Shakespeare, and Edward Wilson-Lee’s Shakespeare in Swahililand is a celebration of the great Bard’s influence in East Africa – part history, part travelogue. The intrepid Ben Fogle is the ultimate Land Rover, travelling the world in search of adventure – usually with a trusty canine companion at his side.   Tristan Gooley unlocks the secrets of How To Read Water to help we islanders understand the relationship between water, land, sea and sky and shares his own adventures of wild swimming. Robert Twigger’s biography of the Himalayas – White Mountain – reveals the home of mythical kingdoms, wars and expeditions and Charles Foster tells what its like Being a Beast. The week of words includes Jeremy Paxman talking about A Life in Questions, Simon Sebag Montefiore telling the triumphant and tragic story of The Romanovs and Paddy Ashdown revealing his novel A Game of Spies.   A N Wilson’s powerful new novel Resolution is based on the adventures of Captain Cook and crime writers, Sophie Hannah and Janet Ellis will keep us all guessing!

Full programme information Tickets: Bridport Tourist Information Centre 01308 424901


Click here for a chance to win 2 tickets to hear Frank Gardner on Friday 4 November at Petworth Literary Weekend

Petworth Lit logoPetworth Festival is hosting its 6th annual Literary Weekend from 2 November until 6 November at various locations in and around the town including the Leconfield Hall and St Mary’s Church. With tickets starting from as little as £8 for adults and £4 for children, the Petworth Festival Literary Weekend is a unique opportunity to see and meet a wealth of literary greats, up and coming authors as well as high-profile luminaries with fascinating life stories to share. Some of this year’s highlights include:

  • Sarah Raven, English gardener, cook, writer and TV presenter;
  • Top novelist and journalist Victoria Hislop;
  • BBC security correspondent, journalist and author Frank Gardner;
  • Former army Chief of Staff, Lord Richard Dannatt

Artistic Director Stewart Collins commented, “The Literary Weekend has proved itself to be a high point in the life of Petworth – and of course further afield. Coming as it does when the winter is just setting in, the kind of events we have been staging have really lifted the atmosphere and given a very dedicated and engaged audience the chance to mix it with some seriously interesting and successful authors right across the subject range from cooking to history to politics and to fiction.”

The Literary Weekend has already established itself as a hotly anticipated event on the literary circuit, with a solid reputation for securing an impressive line-up of authors. Lovers of the written word can come along to see an eclectic range of writers deliver thought-provoking talks, engage in interviews and participate in revealing Q&A sessions. In addition, each performance includes a book signing, kindly organised and managed by Petworth Book Shop, giving ticket-holders the opportunity to purchase the latest published work, signed by the authors themselves, a brilliant souvenir to take home with them.

For more information call 01798 343055 or email Tickets are available by telephone 01798 344576 or on-line at

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