Ways With Words Courtyard courtesy of Oliver Edwards

Telegraphy Ways With Words celebrates 20th anniversary with biggest ever festival

Ways With Words Courtyard courtesy of Oliver Edwards

The Telegraph Ways With Words Festival is set to celebrate this July with a programme that is larger, more diverse and more global than ever before.

The 10-day festival, which takes place between July 8-18 has become established as a major literary fixture drawing thousands of festival-goers to its stunning setting within the medieval estate and gardens of Dartington Hall in South Devon.

Celebrating 20 years of debate, exploration, laughter and literary highs, the festival, which started in 1991, attracts world-class authors, media figures and thinkers.

Hear Alan Hollinghurst in conversation with fellow author Philip Hensher. And catch among others, Penelope Lively, Margaret Drabble, Justin Cartwright, Paul Torday, Esther Freud, Joanna Briscoe, Jasper Fforde, Helen Dunmore, Valerie Grove, Salley Vickers, Devon-based literary star Nicholas Evans and Blake Morrison who will deliver The Ted Hughes Memorial Lecture

Kicking off with Marcus Brigstocke, a host of funny and familiar faces at the festival will include; stand-up Shappi Khorsandi, TV Burp legend Harry Hill, Maureen Lipman, comic actress Arabella Weir, John Hegley adding a dose of the absurd and humorist Jon Ronson questioning if we are actually all psychopaths.

At this year’s festival informed voices will help unpack some of the biggest challenges facing our world. Shirley Williams and David Aaronovitch will question if nuclear weapons are right for our times. Former UN Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown will share his thoughts on new global politics. Former Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd will give his view on British policy making abroad and the war in Afghanistan will be discussed by senior US and British journalists Toby Harnden and Sean Rayment.

Motherhood in China will be exposed by Xinran, as will the plight of women in Afghanistan by fearless young journalist Zarghuna Kargar. India’s science boom will be explored by Angela Saini while historian Lord David Gilmore will tell us how Italy has became the country it is today. On a lighter note the world can be seen through the piercing eyes of AA Gill and Matthew Parris will entertain with colourful stories from British ambassador’s valedictory dispatches.

Newsreader Martin Bell will join BBC4 historian Lucy Worsley to discuss the future of monarchy, rugby legend Brian Moore and a host of Telegraph journalists will debate the value of arts versus sports, attitudes to spirituality will be argued from every angle from Melvyn Bragg on The King James Bible to philosopher A.C. Grayling on his Secular Bible via Rabbi Lionel Blue and Karen Armstrong on global compassion.

‘Moneyless man’ Mark Boyle will talk about a year without cash, environmental journalist Lucy Siegle will expose the true cost of cheap fashion, Lewis Wolpert will discuss ageing and festival favourite Ben Okri will close the week with his profound new essays A Time For New Dreams.

Festival president, Roy Hattersley, has programmed the Great Hall events on Saturday July 9 with speakers he admires including Mary Warnock, Robert Winston, Robert Skidelsky and James Naughtie. In the politics corner Polly Toynbee and David Walker will discuss the legacy of Labour and David Owen will examine Coalition politics.

Google also boards The Telegraph Ways With Words Festival this year as Online Partner co-hosting two timely discussions one on ‘Free Speech: The Great Middle East Revolution’ with Susan Pointer, Google Policy Director, South East Europe, Middle East and Africa, Libyan-born author Hisham Matar, the CEO of Index on Censorship, John Kampfner, and Tunisian blogger and activist Sami Ben Gharbia and the other throwing open the debate on ‘Google and Books: Good or Evil?’

These events jostle with many more on food, gardens, relationships, poetry, science, history, biography and philosophy.

The full programme for Telegraph Ways With Words is available online at www.wayswithwords.co.uk

(image: Ways With Words Courtyard courtesy of Oliver Edwards)