Berwick Literary Festival Blog
The Final Day: Bread-making, beating the IRA, Geordies buying a slave’s freedom and revisiting the 60s!
Timing is everything! There was a period early in lockdown when it seemed everybody was baking sourdough. Nobody knew that there was going to be a pandemic, however if some entrepreneurs were psychic they would have not only invested in PPE, but also in bread-making instruction books. Of course, lock-down is not merely a physical…Read More
If you were concocting a fantasy dinner party guest list, you’d want a good mix of people to keep the conversation flowing. A government minister, maybe. The CEO of a global bank for a view of how the world works, and a clergyman for a rather different perspective. Throw in a linguist who’s lived in the US, Asia and Saudi Arabia, a civil servant, an author, a chap who visited 56 countries in three years boosting UK trade, and… oh hell, we’re out of cutlery.Read More
Tim Binder writes about Anne Ryland’s poetry workshop Twelve of us “gathered” on Zoom for Anne Ryland’s delightful workshop on writing an Epistolary poem – or writing a letter in poetry. In addition to bringing a letter that meant something to us, Anne had asked that we read just such a poem by Neil Curry…Read More
On the third day of our festival: China the restless superpower, a world-class Berwick novelist, digging for victory, saving the planet and why Boris Johnson is unique.
Can this really only be the third day of our festival? We seem to have managed to pack such an extraordinarily diverse range of stimulating and entertaining material into such a short time. We are a festival of words and the first new word of the day arrived early in the first hour and was…Read More
If you heard Jessie Greengrass speak at today’s Festival, I’m guessing that you, like me, will be rushing to order her new book The High House. This deep-thinking, candid-speaking interview ranged over so many issues that worry away at us in today’s world: climate change, uncertainty, political turbulence, the pandemic, religion, the environment, parenthood and…Read More
A not so grumpy bookseller, a Wild Swimmer, a Royal Crisis, incredible Poetry and revolution in Russia – the second day of our virtual festival.
In his entertaining best-selling books Shaun Bythell portrays himself as the grumpiest bookseller in Britain, providing service with a scowl, but he seemed perfectly amiable at 10 AM this morning in his lovely bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland’s book town. In his 20 years in his shop he thinks he must “have handled a million books”. Be…Read More
Anna Edgar writes about Bea’s workshop. On Thursday afternoon Barbara Henderson – using her author’s name, Bea Davenport – presented an online creative writing workshop, “Writing about the Past”. In her introduction she touched on the range of interests and topics such a title could cover and gave a number of examples. She mentioned both…Read More
Ann Thwaite is one of Britain’s greatest biographers, so it was a privilege to hear her discuss her extraordinary literary life at our festival. She is however not only the author of highly regarded biographies, she has also been a prolific author of work for children. She gave much of the credit for her success…Read More
Hearing and seeing writers talk about or perform their work is always a great privilege. They have such interesting things to say. Biographer Ann Thwaite told some brilliant anecdotes today. From her childhood in New Zealand; to her travels to Japan (she’s been 11 times); and about her life in Norfolk. In Norfolk, she ran…Read More