Just over a week to go until Taunton Literary Festival 2015, in Somerset, kicks off. Organised by Lionel Ward, owner of Brendon Books – Taunton’s independent bookshop – Taunton Lit Fest is a great thing for the town and especially for local writers, which gives it a special place in my heart. Last year, I write one of my writing heroes, David Mitchell and this year, I’m making my fiction debut with my radio play, The Garden. Everyone is invited to help Taunton Literary Festival celebrate its fifth year, bringing Taunton alive with a love of books and storytelling from 7-28 November. Here’s the Writers Anon guide to the festival. Tickets are now on sale at www.tauntonliteraryfestival.net.
Family Fun and Kids Go Free
For families with a bookworm in their midst, Taunton Literary Festival has it all. On Saturday 21 November, Kerstin Muggeridge tells the story of The Day Granny Took Off. Older children will enjoy a
reading with Emma Carroll and her two Christmas tales, The Snow Sister and Frost Hollow Hall, thrilling historical tales of ghosts and secrets. At Taunton Literary Festival, kids events are free, ensuring the whole family can enjoy a storytelling experience.
Rachel Billington’s Glory: A Story of Gallipoli is a novel that takes the story of three people and their friends and families, as their lives are changed forever, with the echoes of war ringing through the years. Join Rachel for a reading and questions at Brendon Books on 28 November. And for more blood and passion in war-torn Europe, delve into the history of the Magna Carta with Sean McGlynn, at Brendon Books on 16 November.
Alternatively, you can join the Historical Fiction panel and fire questions at novelists, Michael Jecks and Karen Maitland or delve into the world of spies and espionage with a talk on MI9. And Martin Bell brings recent history to life, with tales of his time in Cyprus, as a young soldier.
This year Taunton Literary Festival has attracted a few familiar faces. Martin Bell, famous as the BBC war reporter, is hosting two events and Vince Cable is adding political gravitas. At lighter end of the scale, Gervase Phinn is promoting his new book, A Lesson in Love and star of Radio 4’s The Archers, Sunny Ormonde, better known as Lillian Archer. Bake-off finalist, Richard Burr (the builder baker) is also at the Festival, talking about his new book, as well as judging a bake-off competition at Somerset College.
Things to do at the Festival
Taunton Literary Festival wants people to get involved, so there are a number of workshops and associated events.
- Try your hand at book binding at Taunton Library
- Get inspired at the historical fiction workshop in the beautiful setting of Somerset Museum, with tutor Kate Lord Brown.
- Read Shakespeare Aloud in a friendly atmosphere, at Taunton Library. Between 10am and 2pm, you can just pop in to read the bard and gain an understanding of his work. The play is provided, you just join in and get your Shakespeare on.
- Quiz authors about their tricks of the trade at the crime fiction, historical fiction and romantic fiction panels. Added bonus, the romantic fiction panel is free, so book your ticket today.
- Discover new authors. With over 40 authors attending Taunton Literary Festival, it’s an ideal time to try something new or discover a new pet writer or book.
- Be the audience. Of course you can attend the broadcasting of my spooky play, The Garden on 22 November. But there’s also an interactive performance of the life of Dylan Thomas, using film excerpts and live actors.
Some events have already sold out, so make sure you book your tickets early at www.tauntonliteraryfestival.net or call 01823 337742 or pop into Brendon Books, in Bath Place, Taunton.