Wells Festival of Literature: Eclectic line-up set to share thoughts

October 04 2018
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AN eclectic line up of authors at the 26th Wells Festival of Literature includes Max Hastings talking about Vietnam and Ed Stourton on the BBC during the Second World War.

There will be Alan Titchmarsh with his latest novel and Jonathan Miller’s son William telling the stories of his famous father.

Shrabani Basu wrote the book behind the successful TV production of Victoria and Abdul, and John Preston penned the scandal of Jeremy Thorpe and Norman Scott. Bishop Peter Price will talk on Conflict Resolution and John Gray on Seven Types of Atheism. In the 200th anniversary year of Women’s Emancipation, Lara Feigel tells the story of Doris Lessing, one of the first ‘Free Women’, and Anne de Courcy talks about the invasion of ‘Husband Hunters’ from America.

More than 20 other authors are listed on the festival’s website.

One of the main aims of the festival is to encourage a love of words and creativity with the English vocabulary. Great support is given to schools, with the festival funding writers, performers and even rap artists to speak to youngsters. Children from St Benedict’s in Glastonbury are taking a theatre trip, and Alex Montgomery returns to visit West Pennard School – all paid for by the festival.

The competitions have, over the years, given writers the start they needed, with some finding publishers after their work has appeared on the short lists.

A unique feature of the Wells Festival of Literature is Write Up! Speak Up!, a five-minute opportunity for local poets, artists, authors, musicians and wordsmiths to talk, sing and communicate in different media about anything that gets their goat, moves them or illustrates a different point of view.

Curator Bryony Jayne Brook, journalist, poet and radio presenter, will choose the 15 most talented who will perform in Cedars Hall. School-age to a 90-year old, the acts can be a stepping stone to a new career. BBC Somerset’s Simon Parkin, host of In the Morning on BBC Somerset, will again be compering the event. Contact bryonyjaynebrook@gmail.com for more details.

Cedars Hall is the venue for the festival, which takes place from October 19-27. More at wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk