Somerset, Wells and a world of discovery

September 29 2021
Somerset, Wells and a world of discovery

EVERYONE likes to claim a link with Somerset. Centuries of myth and magic surround the county and for many it will always remain the heart of England.

So it’s no surprise that a number of the 2021 Wells Festival of Literature speakers are ‘Somerset folk’.

Lucy Pollock qualified in geriatrics in Cambridge and London but has spent the past 20 years living and working here.

Lucy Jago is also fascinated by the county, and having based her first YA book at Montacute House, she now lives here permanently.

Stephen Moss is president of the Somerset Wildlife Trust, and the hero of his latest book is The Swan, that iconic avian symbol of Wells and the Levels all around.

Isy Suttie had to delve into her past to find a link – but was delighted she had. Isy’s grandma and family were evacuated to Somerset during the Second World War which meant Isy’s mother found herself being born in Castle Cary.

But the real appeal of the Wells Festival of Literature is that it brings the whole wide world to Wells. That was proved last year when the organisers (all of them volunteers) arranged a hybrid festival with a mix of live, in-person events as well as virtual events which ‘beamed’ speakers from outside Wells right into Cedars Hall, while at the same time streaming events to audiences all over the globe. It is the smallest city in England yet its literature festival knows no bounds.

The topics being discussed during the festival will also take people out into new territory. Places to be discovered from the comfort of Wells in October include Beijing, America, Russia and China; Ancient Greece, Oxford, the former British Empire; the Alps, the Andes and the Himalayas. But people could also find themselves in more unfamiliar areas, discovering ideas and concepts perhaps not considered before such as plant hunters, whiteness, the hope of a New Age, moral barbarism, the lifecycle of a swan, super senses, talking stones, a novelist’s tricks and ploys, getting old, being you, being odd…

The full scope of this year’s festival can be found in the vivid blue and bright brochure as well as on the website. Spend some time exploring the various avenues along which a person can travel from a comfortable seat in Cedars Hall. But don’t linger too long; tickets are selling fast. For more information and to book, see www.wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk or call 01749 834483 (weekdays 9.30am to 12.30pm).

The festival takes place from October 15-23.