Five writers who will bring sense of fun

October 06 2019
Five writers who will bring sense of fun

SOMETIMES in these stirring times, Wells Festival of Literature attendees just want to sit back and enjoy a bit of light relief.

This is where writers such as Keggie Carew, Jasper Winn, Tracey Thorn, Felicity Cloake and Peter Hennessy come in.

Keggie Carew is the Queen of Misrule who never seems to learn from experience. A natural storyteller, her cheerfully haphazard anecdotes work like a perfectly paced stand-up routine, carrying audiences from Ireland to the Sahara, leaving them squirming at her predicaments while secretly hoping that she won’t escape them.

In contrast, Guardian food writer Felicity Cloake’s quest for exquisite croissants will make mouths water while ensuring no errors in the recipes. Felicity likes trifle, terriers, travelling, running, Riesling and reading. Festival-goers will be able to discover what she will serve up for the festival at Cedars Hall – anything could be on the menu.

Most of us live within five miles of a canal – writer and musician Jasper Winn spent a year exploring a thousand miles of Britain’s ‘wet roads and water streets’ on foot, by bike, in a kayak and on narrowboats, meeting the last working boat people, anglers, walkers, extreme kayakers and wildlife and eccentrics who live close to the water.

Jasper’s West Cork, childhood decision to quit school aged ten and educate himself by reading, riding horses and playing music might seem an error but shaped a lifetime of travel and writing, from Atlas mountains to the Danube. Be prepared for unexpected encounters on this watery journey.

Tracey Thorn is no stranger to festival-goers who hit the town in the Eighties when she was one half of the punk/new wave/latin/jazz duo Everything But the Girl. Tracey has produced solo albums, worked with bands like Massive Attack and writes, gardens and makes music. Was it an error to adopt Siouxsie Sioux as her main early influence? Her years as a teenage punk growing up in a stifling commuter village – and the first stirrings of her need to escape – should chime with many who were teenagers in the Seventies – or indeed any other decade.

Do not be deceived by Peter Hennessy’s Professorships into thinking that his event – Britain in the Sixties – will be heavy going. The Sixties was an age of upheaval when all it would have taken for the third world war to break out was for a jittery East German border guard to attempt to halt a western military convoy somewhere along the autobahn between the free world and Berlin: Peter does not downplay these tensions. However, his glorious stories from the National Archives, when Ealing film comedy daftness coloured dramatic national emergencies, will entertain as well as inform. Travelling from Ealing to Armageddon will keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

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• Picture: Tracey Thorn and Jasper Winn