Registration for all free events is now open at our Friendly Festival in a Walled Town – so get booking!
Headliners Simon Armitage, Gordon Brown, Salley Vickers, William Dalrymple and Hollie McNish are already attracting lots of traffic.
Topical events are also high on the audience agenda – including Simon Akam on the state of the British Army and its role in Afghanistan, Gemma Milne on the influence of technology hype and conspiracy theories, Gavin Francis on the effect of coronavirus on GPs and the communities they care for and Simon Garfield on the history of the intense bond between people and their dogs.
All events at the Festival are free except for the Festival’s writing workshops. Plus there’s a charge for the Festival’s in-person events in association with Berwick’s Maltings Theatre: poet laureate Simon Armitage reading works from Magnetic Field inspired by his childhood in West Yorkshire; and Dyad Theatre Productions’ atmospheric Female Gothic.
Trending topics abound in this year’s programme: Gordon Brown aims to fix the world’s most pressing problems in his powerful book Seven Ways to Change the World; William Dalrymple comprehensively addresses the story of the world’s first global corporate superpower in The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of The East India Company; Michael Taylor’s The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery investigates the 19th-century British pro-slavery lobby; and Alwyn Turner’s All in it Together: England in the Early 21st Century tackles the erosion of public trust in ‘authority’ – from government to the BBC and the Church to law enforcement.
Poetry highlights include Hollie McNish performing work from her frank, funny and poignant new collection Slug. The Bloodaxe poetry session offers readings from David Constantine and Heidi Williamson exploring the nature of memories and Tishani Doshi’s film A God at the Door featuring her 2021 Forward Prize shortlisted collection. Meanwhile, Barry Morgan will question the meaning of life through faith in RS Thomas’ poems.
Best-selling literary novelist Salley Vickers – author of Miss Garnet’s Angel – will discuss her new novel The Gardener which resonates with her hallmark psychological insight and sense of power of place.
Sporting polymath Lottie Dod is Sasha Abramsky’s subject: she won Wimbledon aged 15 in 1887 and is still the youngest ever female champion – Dod was also a supreme golfer, ice skater, hockey player and much more… Spying, double dealing and delusion all play a part in Tim Tate’s exploration of one of the West’s most important Cold War spies, Michal Goleniewski. And Vicky Allan and Anna Deacon have an original take on love and the environment in For the Love of Trees.
Broadcaster and journalist Steve Richards takes an entertaining and informed look at The Prime Ministers We Never Had – From Butler to Corbyn. Andrew Lownie turns back the clock in Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, arguing that the Windsors actively intrigued against Britain. Diarmaid MacCulloch steps further back in time to cast fresh light on the life of Thomas Cromwell in his new biography of the self-made statesman.
Steve Richards Diarmaid MacCulloch
Our celebration of words – written, spoken and performed – runs from 14-17 October. There really is something for everyone so do get booking. See you in October.