WiLF - Wimborne Literary Festival 2018

Wimborne Literary Festival : 12-22 May 2018


Hello and welcome to the 2018 Wimborne Literary Festival which, thanks to the support of our patrons, is now into its eighth year. Our ethos remains unchanged and that is to bring Wimborne an eclectic, informative programme of authors, poets, workshops and events during the day and most evenings. Scroll down to see events taking place across the festival - and book soon, as many events are likely to sell out fast!

Tickets and printed programmes are available from Gullivers Bookshop in Wimborne, or Westbourne Bookshop in Bournemouth. Call Gullivers on 01202 882677 for more information, or email info@gulliversbookshop.co.uk.


The Wessex Guild Of BookbindersThe Wessex Guild Of Bookbinders:
Wessex Bound

Sat 12th May 10:00am - 3:00 pm,
Allendale House, FREE

The Wessex Guild of Bookbinders is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and invites you to come along and see a display of books bound by its members, demonstrations of bookbinding skills and generally find out more about this absorbing craft.

David Young and Jane Thynne:
Spies, Seduction, the SS and the Stazi: Berlin in Fiction

Sat 12th May 2:00 pm,
Allendale House, Tickets: £6

Authors David Young and Jane Thynne celebrate Germany’s fascinating capital and its inspiration for their novels. David’s female protagonist Karin Müller is a detective for the People’s Police in his award-winning Cold War-era crime thrillers (which began with Stasi Child and Stasi Wolf), while Jane’s bestselling Clara Vine series follows the fortunes of an Anglo-German actress and British spy in pre-war and wartime Nazi Berlin. Their talk will include world exclusive photographs and a chance to volunteer for a communist v. capitalist taste test.

David Young was born near Hull and lives in Twickenham. After dropping out of a Bristol University science degree, he studied Modern History at the city’s Polytechnic. Temporary jobs cleaning ferry toilets and driving a butcher’s van were followed by three decades as a journalist on provincial newspapers, a London news agency, and international radio and TV newsrooms. Now a full-time author, his debut novel Stasi Child – the first in a series of Cold War era crime thrillers set in East Germany – is published by Twenty7 Books (Oct 2015 e-book, Feb 2016 paperback). Books 2 and 3 in the series have also been sold as part of a 3-book deal with Bonnier Publishing Fiction. In his spare time, David supports Hull City AFC.

Jane Thynne was born in Venezuela and educated in London. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English and joined the BBC as a journalist.

She has also worked at The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, as well as for numerous British magazines. She appears as a broadcaster on Radio 4. Jane is married to the writer Philip Kerr.

Comedy Night

Sat 12th May 8:00 pm,
The Butcher's Dog, Tickets: £6

Comedy Night in the room above The Butcher's Dog

Great Three Act Line-up!

The Butcher's Dog Bar and Bottleshop is a craft beer bar hidden on a back street in Wimborne, Dorset.

Choose from fourteen different craft beers on tap, over fifty different bottles in our bottleshop, a selection of organic wine and fine spirits and some butcher's bar snacks to nibble on.

Clare Mulley:
The Women Who Flew for Hitler

Mon 14th May 2:00 pm,
The Allendale, Tickets: £6

Clare Mulley is the award-winning author of The Woman Who Saved the Children, which won the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize, and The Spy Who Loved, now optioned by Universal Studios. Clare's third book, The Women Who Flew for Hitler, is a dual biography of two extraordinary women at the heart of the Third Reich, but who ended their lives on opposite sides of history. A regular contributor to TV and radio, Clare also lectures in London and Paris on wartime female special agents, and reviews non-fiction for the Telegraph, Spectator and History Today. Clare was chair of the judges for the Historical Writers Association 2017 Non-Fiction Prize, and has recently become an honorary patron of the Wimpole History Festival.

Rory Clements:

Mon 14th May 4:00 pm,
Wimborne Methodist Church, Tickets: £6

1939. In a summer of crisis and fear, England is partying like there is no tomorrow. Meanwhile the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, Jewish persecution intensifies in Germany and, closer to home, the IRA has embarked on a major bombing campaign in mainland Britain.

But perhaps the most far-reaching event goes largely unreported: in Germany Otto Hahn has produced fission, which means an atomic bomb is now possible. German High Command has set up its so-called Uranverein, a team of scientists dedicated to producing a nuclear device. But they are concerned that Cambridge's Cavendish laboratory might also be getting close - and so they must discover its secrets before it is safe to wage war.

When one of the Cavendish's finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is drawn into the investigation. He soon discovers that the fate of the world depends on the recovery of a kidnapped child.

Rory Clements won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award in 2010 for his second novel, Revenger. A TV series of the John Shakespeare novels is currently in development by the team behind Poldark and Endeavour.

Kevin Patience:
The Man Who Never Was

Mon 14th May 7:00 pm,
Wimborne Library, Tickets: £6

On the 23 April 1943 the body of a man dressed in the uniform of a Major in the Royal Marines was recovered in the sea off the Spanish town of Huelva by fishermen and handed to the Spanish authorities together with its briefcase. Landed from a Royal Navy submarine earlier that day the body was given a military funeral and the contents of the briefcase examined and photographed by the Spanish military with copies going to Adolf Hitler. It was a cover plan to indicate to the Germans that the proposed invasion of Sicily would in fact take place in Greece or Sardinia. The Germans believed it and moved men and armour. The invasion took place in Sicily and the casualties were less than anticipated. The code name for this bizarre deception was ‘Operation Mincemeat’, and the identity of the body was the one of the best kept secrets of the Second World War.

'The Man Who Never Was' was published in 1953 and later made into a film without releasing too many details. For years the body defied identification until historian Roger Morgan read a recently released Intelligence file in the National Archives in 1995. His ffifteen year research quest was over. The details of the body and the background story made interesting reading. Together with material from Roger’s archive and the grand daughter of a German spy, Kevin tells the story of ‘Operation Mincemeat’ from its beginning to the present day and its outcome on the invasion of Sicily.

Dennis Andrew, Senior Druid of the Dorset Druid Grove:
Both Doors Open

Tues 15th May 11:00am,
Allendale House, Tickets: £6

A journey of mysticism and awareness - renewing the boundaries of belief...

Dennis Andrew is the author of 'I am Druid': He explores not only what it means to be a Druid in the modern world but also his own Druidic journey over the last five decades. He is also the author of 'Fleggum', a journey of escape from the harshness of humanity.

Timothy West:
Our Great Canal Journeys: A Lifetime of Memories

Tue 15th May 2:00 pm,
The Allendale, Tickets: £6

For more than half a century, a shared love of canals and narrowboats has been inseparable from the marriage of Timothy West and Prunella Scales. The two iconic actors have spent many of the happiest days of their life together enjoying the calming pleasures of watching land and nature unfold before them at four miles an hour.

In 2014, Tim and Pru took to the canals of Britain and beyond with a television crew and a brief to record their best-loved trips along the most beautiful waterways they could find. Little did anyone guess that their seemingly light-hearted travelogue, and the story of their lives that it revealed, would transcend the programme's gentle façade, becoming something entirely more powerful.

From the outset, the reflective undertones of the possibilities of later life, and the realities of Prunella's dementia, struck a chord with viewers around the country. Now in its seventh series, the show has been described as 'beautiful and meditative' by the Guardian, 'touching' by the Independent and 'a hymn to the possibilities of later life' by the Telegraph, there is no finer, nor more thought-provoking, travelogue on British television.

By turns humorous and poignant, Our Great Canal Journeys is at once a beautifully observed ode to a unique, magical method of travelling the world, and a warm meditation upon love, learning and life.

Natasha Solomons:
House of Gold

Tue 15th May 7:00 pm,
Allendale House, Tickets: £6

'Such is the power and wealth of the Goldbaums that on dull days, it’s said, they hire the sun just for themselves.' The Goldbaums' influence reaches across Europe. They are the confidants and bankers of governments and emperors. Little happens without their say-so and even less without their knowledge. But Greta Goldbaum has no say at all in who she’ll marry.

While power lies in wealth, strength lies in family. Greta’s union with cousin Albert will strengthen the bond between the Austrian and the English branches of the dynasty. It is sensible and strategic. Greta is neither.

Defiant and unhappy, she is desperate to find a place that belongs to her, free from duty and responsibility. But just as she begins to taste an unexpected happiness, the Great War is looming and even the Goldbaums can’t alter its course. For the first time in two hundred years, the family will find themselves on opposing sides. The House of Goldbaum, along with Europe herself, is about to break apart.

Natasha Solomons is the author of the internationally bestselling novels Mr Rosenblum's List, The Novel in the Viola, which was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club, and The Gallery of Vanished Husbands. Natasha lives in Dorset with her son, daughter and her husband, the children's author, David Solomons with whom she also writes screenplays. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages. When not writing in the studio, Natasha can usually be found in her garden.

Malcolm Angel, Anne Peterson & Mike Lawrence:
So, What's New Walt?

Weds 16th May 11:00 am,
Wimborne Library, Tickets: £6

A light hearted poetic glimpse into the life of the medieval Wimborne schoolmaster and renowned satirical poet Walter of Wimborne...

Akin to the court jester, Walter it appears enjoyed the freedom in Medieval England that we simply take for granted – the right to think and then say what we like – but perhaps to do so much easier through the written word, in cartoon or in jest.

He enjoyed the relative wealth afforded to a member of Wimborne’s college of cannons and from his salary as a teacher of ‘small boys’ of whom in his verses he frequently beseeched to pray for his soul...

Sarah Steele:
Get Creative

Weds 16th May 2:00 pm,
Allendale House, Tickets: £6

Develop your skills at writing short stories and poems in a workshop suitable for beginners and more experienced writers ...

Sarah Steele works as a creative writing tutor for The Open University and freelance, and is experienced at running workshops for all sorts of writers - from complete beginners to those further along the journey who have been published. She started and leads the local Wimborne Writing Group. Using the pen name, Sarah Barr, her poems and short stories have won prizes in national competitions and been published in a range of magazines and anthologies. She was a Bridport Prizewinner for poetry in 2010 and won the Frogmore Poetry Prize in 2015. Sarah is the profiled poet in 'South' poetry magazine issue 43 which includes a selection of her poetry. See: www.sarah-barr.com

Tamsin Treverton Jones:
Windblown: Landscape, Legacy and Loss - The Great Storm of 1987

Weds 16th May 2:00 pm,
Wimborne Library, Tickets: £6

Tamsin Treverton Jones takes as her starting point, the devastating storm of 1987, when fifteen million trees were destroyed across southern England, transforming the English landscape in a way not seen since the Blitz.

Thirty years on she travels across the country following the path of the storm to evaluate its effects, weaving history and memoir, recalling the lives of those who were affected and exploring how woodland and the countryside have recovered since then. Despite the loss and devastation, it soon became clear that the storm had been a catalyst for positive change. Experts began to see opportunities for regeneration and realised that what remained was more important than what had been lost.

At Kew Gardens and in other arboreta, tree roots were examined, which brought new understanding and a completely different approach to planting. In woodlands, where wind thrown trees were left to lie, and nature left to take its course, plants like bilberry, clematis, honeysuckle and heather began to grow again. Whole new vistas opened up, influencing re- planting programmes and in Kent, woodlarks and nightjars, unseen for decades, returned to live and breed.

The incidence of severe weather events in the UK is on the increase and these may well impact on our landscape in the future. But after the extreme events of 1987, we now know that great storms are not imposed on nature, they’re part of it. Though catastrophic, they occur within the natural course of events and are part of a naturally unstable and ever-changing environment.

Windblown is a celebration, both of the English landscape and of nature’s extraordinary capacity for regeneration.

Tamsin Treverton Jones is a writer and poet. She studied French at Bristol University and went on to be Head of Press at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court Theatre and Bath Literature Festival. She has produced and presented features for radio, programmed literary events for digital broadcast and published two oral histories for The History Press. She lives in Gloucestershire.

Iain Gately:
The Secret Surfer

Weds 16th May 4:00 pm,
Wimborne Library, Tickets: £6

"You can stare at the sea and pretend to be moved, but imagination has its limits... your feelings about the sea change when you’ve been in it and over it and under it. You can’t learn much about it from the shore."

Having been a keen surfer in his younger years, Iain Gately didn’t take kindly to the brutal realities of middle age. In the wake of hip replacement surgery, he began to wonder: would armchair sports and idle chit-chat about box-sets represent the sum total of his life from here on in?

In The Secret Surfer Iain rides the wave of a midlife crisis and embarks on a personal journey of recovery, setting out to realise a lifetime’s ambition: to catch a tube, that evanescent space inside the unfolding wave, of which the surfer’s dreams are made.

Beyond his own personal quest, Gately also aims to demystify the often-murky world of surfing: he explains the tribal divides between longboarders, shortboarders, bodyboarders and kneeboarders; describes how obsessive weather-watching can rule a surfer’s living hours; debunks the mythology of wave-counting; and muses on whether it’s a sport, a way of life… or a religious experience.

The Secret Surfer is an energetic and often humorous exploration of an activity that attracts loners, obsessives and eccentrics; and a lyrical evocation of places in Dorset and Devon, Cornwall, Galicia and the Canary Islands. It’s also a rousing call to all of us not to give up too soon. Gately’s quest for self-knowledge and physical endeavour will appeal not just to surfers and would be surfers, but to all lovers of the outdoors and adventure.

W. B. Bartlett:
Richard the Lionheart: The Crusader King

Wed 16th May 7:00 pm,
Wimborne Library, Tickets: £6

Whilst Richard I is one of medieval England’s most famous kings he is also the most controversial. He has variously been considered a great warrior but a poor king, a man driven by the quest for fame and glory but also lacking in self-discipline and prone to throwing away the short-term advantages that his military successes brought him.

In this reassessment W. B. Bartlett looks at his deeds and achievements in a new light. The result is a compelling new portrait of ‘the Lionheart’ which shows that the king is every bit as remarkable as his medieval contemporaries found him to be. This includes his Muslim enemies, who spoke of him as their most dangerous and gallant opponent. It shows him to be a man badly let down by some of those around him, especially his brother John and the duplicitous French king Philip. The foibles of his character are also exposed to the full, including his complicated relationships with the key women in his life, especially the imposing contemporary figure of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his wife, Berengaria, with whom he failed to produce an heir, leading to later suggestions of homosexuality.

This is a new Richard, one for the twenty-first century, and a re-evaluation of the life story of one of the greatest personalities of medieval Europe.

Dominic Couzens:
Songs of Love and War

Thu 17th May 11:00 am,
Community Learning & Resource Centre, Tickets: £6

The dawn chorus: a single voice cutting through the morning mist soon develops into a symphony of different songs hailing the new day. Many of these songbirds are familiar and iconic features of British wildlife, and yet much about their lives remains mysterious, even to scientists. There is a simple pleasure in listening to birdsong, but curiosity on this enchanting phenomena will soon see you asking questions about every aspect of these birds lives from courting a potential mate and defending a territory, to mimicry and migration.

Dominic Couzens is a writer with nearly 30 book titles to his name. A lover of Britain's wild places, he leads birdwatching field trips all over the UK where he shares with others all the things that excite him about nature. Dominic lives in Dorset with his wife Carolyn and their two children.

Treleven (Trev) Haysom:
Purbeck Quarryman, Master Mason, artist

Thu 17th May 2:00 pm,
Community Learning & Resource Centre, Tickets: £6

Treleven Haysom is an authority on Purbeck stone and especially its marble, and is distinguished in the world of historic building restoration.

Universally known as Trev, he was born at Langton Matravers, where he still lives, and went to Swanage Grammar School. He trained as a stonemason at Weymouth College and was apprenticedto his father and with the leading firm of Benfield and Locksley at Chichester and Oxford. His gifts and skills were recognised early in his career when he received the City and Guilds Silver Medal.

Trev advises conservators, architects, academics, students and others on all aspects of Purbeck stone and marble and their uses in new construction and in the restoration of historic buildings. He has given lectures including the annual Donavan Purcell memorial lecture and briefly taught at Oxford Brookes University when it was a polytechnic. He has advised the authorities of Westminster Abbey and other cathedrals on their legacy of stone and marble,and their restoration projects. Indeed, in some cases he has done much of the restoration work himself, and has acquired a well-deserved personal reputation as an artist in stone work. In addition to Westminster, his work can be seen in Chichester Cathedral and (locally) in the Studland Church cross.

Steve Etches:
Stories From Deep Time

Thu 17th May 4:00 pm,
Community Learning & Resource Centre, Tickets: £6

Stories From Deep Time with Steve Etches founder of The Etches Collection Museum of Jurassic Marine Life, Kimmeridge

One man's passion

It was long thought that the local Kimmeridgian clays had little to yield by way of evidence via well-preserved fossils. A belief that was changed by the amazing discoveries of Steve Etches, local to Kimmeridge, fossil collector and expert who over the last 30 years, has discovered, collected and researched over 2000 incredible late Jurassic Kimmeridgian specimens.

An achievement that has resulted in a collection of the most extensive and finest fossil specimens ever found in the Kimmeridgian Clay Formation. The Etches Collection is the result of one man’s passion. Over 30 years of discovery and diligent research, dogged determination not just to find and collect specimens, but also to bring to life the amazing stories of the creatures that existed in the Kimmeridgian.

Harry Sidebottom:
The Last Hour

Fri 18th May 3:30 pm,
The Allendale, Tickets: £6

For readers of Bernard Cornwell, Ben Kane, Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggulden, this is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. A lone figure stands silhouetted atop the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Behind him, the sun is setting over the centre of the known world. Far below, the river is in full flood. The City of Rome lies spread out before him on the far bank.

Footsteps pound up the stairs. He's been set up. An enemy is closing in; he is cornered. He jumps.

Bruised and battered, he crawls out of the raging river. He is alone and unarmed, without money or friends, trapped in a deadly conspiracy at the heart of the Empire. The City Watch has orders to take him alive; other, more sinister, forces want him dead. As the day dies, he realises he has only 24 hours to expose the conspirators, and save the leader of the world. If the Emperor dies, chaos and violence will ensue. If the Emperor dies, every single person he loves will die.

He must run, bluff, hide and fight his way across the Seven Hills. He must reach the Colosseum, and the Emperor. He must make it to The Last Hour.

'Absorbing, rich in detail and brilliant' The Times

Billy Bragg:
Roots, Radicals and Rockers

Fri 18th May 7:00 pm,
The Allendale, Tickets: £6

Emerging from the jazz clubs of the early '50s, skiffle - a uniquely British take on American folk and blues - caused a sensation among a generation of kids who had grown up during the dreary post-war years. These were Britain's first teenagers, looking for a music of their own in a culture dominated by crooners and mediated by a stuffy BBC. Sales of guitars rocketed from 5,000 to 250,000 a year, and - as with the punk rock that would flourish two decades later - all you needed to know were three chords to form your own group, with your mates accompanying on tea-chest bass and washboard.

Against a backdrop of Cold War politics, rock and roll riots and a newly assertive working-class youth, Billy Bragg charts - for the first time in depth - the history, impact and legacy of Britain's original pop movement. It's a story of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy Boys and beatnik girls, coffee-bar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthyite witch-hunts, who between them sparked a revolution that shaped pop culture as we have come to know it.

Against a backdrop of Cold War politics, rock and roll riots and a newly assertive generation of working-class youth, the songwriter and political activist Billy Bragg charts the history, impact and legacy of skiffle - Britain's first indigenous pop movement.

Minette Walters:
The Last Hours

Sat 19th May 2:00 pm,
The Allendale, Tickets: £6

Minette Walters is England's bestselling female crime writer. She has won the CWA John Creasey Award for best first crime novel, the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best crime novel published in America and two CWA Gold Daggers for Fiction. Minette Walters lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.

The Last Hours is Minette Walters latest book.

June, 1348: the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in the county of Dorsetshire. Unprepared for the virulence of the disease, and the speed with which it spreads, the people of the county start to die in their thousands. In the estate of Develish, Lady Anne takes control of her people's future - including the lives of two hundred bonded serfs. Strong, compassionate and resourceful, Lady Anne chooses a bastard slave, Thaddeus Thurkell, to act as her steward. Together, they decide to quarantine Develish by bringing the serfs inside the walls. With this sudden overturning of the accepted social order, where serfs exist only to serve their lords, conflicts soon arise. Ignorant of what is happening in the world outside, they wrestle with themselves, with God and with the terrible uncertainty of their futures.

Lady Anne's people fear starvation but they fear the pestilence more. Who amongst them has the courage to leave the security of the walls? And how safe is anyone in Develish when a dreadful event threatens the uneasy status quo..?

'Atmosphere, imagination and narrative power of which few other writers are capable' - The Times

Adam Hart-Davis:
Very Heath Robinson: Stories of His Absurdly Ingenious World

Sat 19th May 4:00 pm,
The Allendale, Tickets: £6

Adam Hart-Davis is the irrepressibly enthusiastic presenter who romps across our television screens bringing excitement to all manner of scientific and technical subjects. Instantly recognizable in his bright and eccentric clothes, he has enlightened his viewers on all manner of topics from the development of nuclear fusion to boiling the perfect egg.

'I have been ill and frightfully bored and the one thing I have wanted is a big album of your absurd beautiful drawings to turn over. You give me a peculiar pleasure of the mind like nothing else in the world.' - H. G. Wells to W. Heath Robinson (1914) This book takes a nostalgic look back to the imaginative and often frivolous world of William Heath Robinson, one of the few artists to have given his name to the English language. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the expression Heath Robinson is used to describe 'any absurdly ingenious and impracticable device of the kind illustrated by this artist'. Yet his elaborate drawings of contraptions are not the only thing to make this book very Heath Robinson. Full of quirky images from Romans wearing polka dots to balding men seducing mermaids, Very Heath Robinson presents an unconventional history of the world in which technology and its social setting get equal billing.

David Starkey

Sun 20th May 7:00 pm,
The Allendale, Tickets: £16

It's the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. But religious history isn’t just for the religious. It deals with one of the central strands in human experience, past and very much present. The reformation was Europe’s Jihad: there was the same violence, the same literalism in the interpretation of scripture and the same principled destruction of works of art as idolatrous. It used the instruments of an earlier media revolution with printing and representational portraiture acting much as the social media and the selfie do today. And in England it led to the first Brexit as Henry VIII’s determination to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn turned the king from the Pope’s loyalest ally into his bitterest enemy. The parallels are disturbing and they are intended to be.

An Evening with Pam Ayres

Sun 20th May 7:00 pm,
The Tivoli, Tickets: £27.50 - Book Here

Pam Ayres has been making the nation laugh for over 40 years. She returns to the Tivoli with her current show, and to talk about her latest book, The Last Hedgehog. Pam has written a poignant farewell from ‘the last hedgehog left on earth’ – a delightful and thought-provoking elegy to that most beloved inhabitant of the British countryside, the common hedgehog. Pam Ayres’ spiky and wonderful creation reminds us that unless we take steps to prevent it, they will soon be very far indeed from ‘common’. Beautifully illustrated by Alice Tait, the book sees our hero tell of all the terrible ends his family have come to at our own hands – and exactly what we can still do to keep them alive, and see them thrive once more.

Each ticket for Pam’s concert includes a free signed copy of Pam’s book The Last Hedgehog




The Allendale

Allendale Community Centre, Hanham Rd, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1AS


Allendale House

East Dorset Heritage Trust, Allendale House, Hanham Rd, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1AS



41-44 King Street, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1EB


Gullivers Bookshop

47 High Street, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1HS


Wimborne Methodist Church

4A King St, Wimborne Minster BH21 1DY


The Butcher's Dog

6 East Street, Wimborne Minster BH21 1DS


Wimborne Library

Crown Mead, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1HH


Westbourne Bookshop

65 Poole Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth BH4 9BA

© Copyright Wimborne Literary Festival 2018