I’m wondering which of you went to Cheltenham Literary Festival last October?

I did! It was fabulous as usual. Instead of being sited in both squares (Imperial & Montpellier) it was all squashed up in Montpellier, which I felt was a shame. But I’m sure the flowers will look beautiful in Imperial!

I went to hear a stimulating discussion on Brexit, was charmed and impressed by Chris Bonnington, and enjoyed a Scottish tea with music!




A pre-event was a visit by Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish Nobel prize winner, who came to introduce his new book, The Red-Haired Woman. (which I’ve yet to read)  He is an extremely erudite writer, and his talk was fascinating, concerning literature and being a writer in Turkey now.

Do read him if you haven’t—not easy but very worthwhile …




I was also extremely lucky to get a ticket for Hillary Clinton, who appeared at the Racecourse pre-festival. With an audience of 2,000, it was amazing – what an atmosphere.  She was marvellous and inspiring. Her latest book What Happened, is very readable, so don’t be put off.  A  great Christmas present.



I also spent a couple of days in Southwold for their literary festival, which takes place over a long weekend.

I was happy to hear A C Grayling (philosopher) discuss War – the Battle over justifications & prognostications.  His latest book is War, an enquiry.

Also Simon Thurley on Houses of Power-the places that shaped the Tudor World  (Inside Tudor Palace Walls) and also Roman Krznaric , who encouraged us all to Seize the Day !  (Carpe Diem Regained)

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If you’ve never been to a literary festival, then Southwold is a good place to start, being a lot less overwhelming than Cheltenham. So look for out for it next year (November)

Do let us know if you’ve been to a festival (or planning on it) Words on the Water in Keswick is in March and Oxford is in April.