Literary titans, comedians, economists, environmentalists, historians, Turner Prize-winning artists, sports legends and politicians will gather to speak at this year’s 10-day, Telegraph Ways With Words Festival of Words and Ideas at Dartington Hall in South Devon from July 9 to 19.
More than 17,000 visitors are expected to attend the 150 events in the festival’s 19th year.
Programme highlights include Martin Amis on his 12th novel The Pregnant Widow and Ian McEwan on Solar. Veteran crime writer PD James is making a rare appearance in her 90th year to be interviewed on stage by friend and fellow author Penelope Lively.
Bestselling novelists Tracy Chevalier, Fay Weldon, Naomi Alderman, Marina Lewycka, Barbara Trapido, Allison Pearson, Rachel Billington and Jane Gardam also head up this year’s fiction writers line-up.
Non-fiction highlights include Lady Antonia Fraser on her 30-year marriage to the playwright Harold Pinter; Melvyn Bragg on more than 30 years as host of The South Bank Show; BBC wildlife cameraman, producer and presenter, Simon King; and political grandees Roy Hattersley and Shirley Williams. Former poet laureate Andrew Motion will talk about his forthcoming sequel to Treasure Island and Turner Prize winning artists, Richard Long and Martin Creed, will give audiences an insight into their different creative worlds.
Coinciding with the World Cup football final on Sunday, July 11, Ways With Words will become the most cultured spot in Britain to watch the big match live. A screen will be erected in the 14th century Great Hall and writers and footie fans Blake Morrison, John Lanchester and rugby legend Brian Moore will provide punditry and analysis.
South West writers appearing at the festival include: Somerset’s Gavin Pretor-Pinney, author of The Cloudspotter’s Guide, on his latest book The Wavewatcher’s Companion; Devon-based historian, Ian Mortimer, author of the international bestseller The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England and now a groundbreaking and ambitious reappraisal of Henry V; and James Crowden, editor of The Devon Food Book in which the late Carol Trewin, former Farming Editor and later Food Editor for the Western Morning News, traces the evolution of the local food movement.
Lady Victoria Vyvyan, who with her husband Sir Ferrers Vyvyan has restored the family estate at Trelowarren in Cornwall, will tell the entertaining story of wilful Aunt Clara Vyvyan who went travelling after the war with glamorous Daphne du Maurier. Alice Oswald’s prize-winning collection of poems, Dart, have been set to music and will be performed at the festival by Devon choirs Global Harmony, Viva and Shades of Blue.
With all that going on, you can see why Ways With Words’ Dartington festival has been described as ‘the Glyndebourne of literature festivals’.
(from a press release)