Welcome to our programme of literary events for 2017 - another fantastic line-up of more than 20 authors over 9 days in venues around the historic town of Wimborne Minster. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Atmospheric, tense and thrilling. All the hallmarks of a top crime thriller. Sullivan and Broderick are destined to become two of our best-loved detectives' Adam Croft, bestselling author of 'Her Last Tomorrow'.
Robert is best known for his roles in long running TV series such as the award winning Outside Edge, Jeeves and Wooster, Roger,Roger, The Royal, Rock and Chips, Casualty, Midsomer Murders, Sword of Honour, Take A Girl Like You and most recently, as Dr Thomas Choake in Poldark.
His most recent theatre work includes Michael Frayn's Alarms and Excursions, The Secret of Sherlock Holmes and Yes Prime Minister in London's West End.
Journeying through time and place, from the ancient Egyptian pyramids to the soaring skyscrapers of Manhattan, renowned architectural historian Dan Cruickshank explores the most inspirational and characterful world buildings.
His selection includes many of the world’s best known buildings that represent key pioneering moments in architectural history such as the Pantheon in Rome, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Taj Mahal in Agra, and the Forbidden City in Beijing. But he also presents less obvious more surprising structures, the unsung heroes of this fascinating story like the Oriel Chambers in Liverpool, and the Narkomfin Apartment building in Moscow. Having visited all but three of the 100 buildings , even though some are in inaccessible and threatened locations such as the Hatra in Iraq and the currently threatened Palmyra in Syria, he speaks movingly about ancient artifacts some of which may never be experienced again first hand.
Sunday Times best-selling author Jane Corry is a writer and journalist and has spent time as the writer in residence of a high-security prison for men an experience that helped inspire My Husband's Wife, her debut thriller. Jane Corry runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals worldwide, including The Women's Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy. Until recently, she was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University.
A frank and funny memoir by a hugely popular actor, presenter and author. Sir Tony Robinson is a much-loved actor, presenter and author with a stellar career lasting over fifty years.
In his long-awaited autobiography, he reveals how the boy from South Woodford went from child stardom in the first stage production of Oliver!, a pint-sized pickpocket desperately bleaching his incipient moustache, to comedy icon Baldrick, the loyal servant and turnip aficionado in Blackadder. It wasn't all plain sailing though. Along the way he was bullied by Steve Marriott, failed to impress Liza Minnelli and was pushed into a stinking London dock by John Wayne. He also entertained us with Maid Marion and Her Merry Men (which he wrote and starred in) and coped manfully when locked naked outside a theatre in Lincoln during the live tour of comedy series Who Dares Wins. He presented Time Team for twenty years, watching countless gardens ruthlessly dug up in the name of archaeology, and risked life and limb filming The Worst Jobs in History.
Packed full of incident and insight, No Cunning Plan is a funny, self-deprecating and always entertaining read.
The Levellers, revolutionaries that grew out of the explosive tumults of 1642 and the battlefields of the Civil War, are central figures in the history of democracy. In this thrilling narrative John Rees brings to life the men – including John Lilburne, Richard Overton, Thomas Rainsborough – and women who ensured victory at war, and brought England to the edge of radical republicanism. From the raucous streets of London and the clattering printers workshops that stoked the uprising, to the rank and file of the New Model Army and the furious Putney debates where Lilburne argued with Oliver Cromwell for the future of English democracy, this story reasserts the revolutionary nature of the 1642-48 wars, and the role of ordinary people in this pivotal moment in history. The legacy of the Levellers can be found in the founding ideas of the American Revolution as well as in the strugglers for freedom and democracy across the world.
John Rees is a broadcaster and writer who is a national officer of the Stop the War Coalition (UK) and a member of the editorial board of Counterfire. He is the writer and presenter of the political history series Timeline. In 2011 he participated in the Egyptian Revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and his book on the Arab Revolutions, 'The People Demand, a short history of the Arab Revolutions’ was co-written with Joseph Daher. He is currently pursuing doctoral research on the Levellers and the English Revolution at Goldsmiths, University of London.
In 2006, John Pilger said: “I know of few who speak and write more wisely of the danger we face from rapacious power, and what we should do about it, than John Rees"
What is love? And how do we bring more of it into our lives.
Love gives us a kind of richness, depth, satisfaction, meaning and soul – we thrive on it and without it, can ask ourselves why we’re alive. We can understand all sorts of things, yet love remains a mystery. We all need love - but how can we bring more of it into our life? How do we find someone who really loves us? How do we ‘keep’ love around?
These and many other questions will be answered, so let’s begin...
'Is That A Big Number?' is a forthcoming book with a purpose, to intrigue and seduce the reader into a renewed relationship with numbers. If (as Adam Spencer says) numbers are the musical notes with which the symphony of the universe is written, and you're struggling to hear the harmonies you once loved, then Andrew’s soon to be published book will get you back in tune.
Numbers are all around us:
All these numbers. You know they're important - some more than others - and it's vaguely unsettling when you don't really have a clear sense of how remarkable or how ordinary they are. But life's too short, and you're too busy to re-educate yourself in all these topics. Written in a light-hearted style, 'Is That a Big Number?' helps you put numbers like these into perspective.
Open Mic Evening with refreshments - Warm, friendly, relaxed and welcoming. Speakeasy Wimborne is an informal spoken word group where you can read your own poetry, fiction, articles or drama or just come along to listen and enjoy.
Livi Michael talks about her Wars of the Roses trilogy: Rebellion, Succession and Accession. Margaret Beaufort and Margaret of Anjou - two women who have fought to the bitter end to see their sons take the English throne. But with her son Edward killed in battle, and imprisoned herself, what next for Margaret of Anjou? And will Margaret Beaufort live to see Richard III deposed, and her son Henry Tudor finally ascend the throne? In this powerful and dramatic conclusion to Livi Michael's Wars of the Roses trilogy, the stakes are higher than ever, the sides are ever-changing, and all will be decided at the Battle of Bosworth...
'She is the best of the modern chroniclers of these mediaeval wars . . . beautifully written, politically astute and full of insight into the moments when great history meets fragile human hearts.' The Times.
Perfect for Wimborne’s strong Margarette Beaufort connections.
C.S. Forester wrote the novel in 1934 based on two true naval stories from the First World War in East Africa. This is the fascinating background story to the book which after three rewrites led to the well known film with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. The true story proves that fact is better than fiction!
Kevin Patience grew up in Kenya and served in the Royal Air Force, who taught him how to dive. A Malta posting introduced him to many historical aircraft and shipwrecks. On leaving the service he completed a commercial diving course, returned to Mombasa and was involved in salvage operations on the Kenya coast. In 1976 Kevin published his first book on East African railway history. As part of his interest in military history he was involved in the restoration of British forces graves in Bahrain, and the recovery at sea of a propeller from a crashed Air France airliner as a memorial to those killed for which he was honoured by the French government. In the 1990s Kevin published a number of books on the military and transport history of East Africa and an acclaimed study of the German cruiser ‘Königsberg’, sunk in East Africa in 1915; later writing articles for a variety of aviation, medal and railway journals. In recent years he co-organised steam train safaris in East Africa and led World War 1 Kenya battlefield tours.
Now resident in the UK, writing and research continues, together with presenting talks on a variety of subjects.
Back by popular demand! This popular annual fun event finds Anna Scanna and Mike Lawrence in Cantina with some impromptu poetry and verse... it's different it's fun - and it’s ‘on the festival’...
Cantina is a charming and welcoming café delightfully situated in Church Street, Wimborne serving a range of tempting cakes & brownies, inventive sandwiches and sharing platters in addition to a superb range of fine coffees and hot & cold drinks. In the warmer months you can enjoy coffee al fresco in our chic furnished and covered courtyard.
In 'Never Fear: Reliving the Life of Sir Francis Chichester', Ian Strathcarron follows in the footsteps and wakes of Sir Francis' life of adventure, adversity and triumph. This is the first biography in 30 years and has a foreword by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Born in 1901 into a troubled childhood in rural Devon, he suffered through the sadism of the English public school system, then in 1918 left for New Zealand where he made his first fortune. There he took up flying and in 1930 became one of the first aviators to fly from London to Sydney. After being the first solo flyer across the Tasman Sea from New Zealand to Australia, he set off to circle the world, only to crash, nearly fatally, in Japan. After serving in the RAF in the Second World War, he took up sailing at the age of fifty-four and in twelve years became the most famous yachtsman in the world. Along the way there are struggles and triumphs, climaxing in being knighted with Sir Francis Drake’s sword in Greenwich.
Ian Strathcarron, himself an aviator, yachtsman and adventurer, follows him all the way, comparing what Sir Francis found then to what he finds now, meeting the descendants of the people who played important parts in his life and getting under the skin of what made the man, the man.
When Simon Cooper bought an abandoned water mill that straddles a small chalkstream in southern England, little did he know that he would come to share the mill with a family of wild otters. Yet move in they did, allowing him to begin to observe them, soon immersing himself in their daily routines and movements. He developed an extraordinary close relationship with the family, which in turn gave him a unique insight into the life of these fascinating creatures.
"I must admit I never thought I would write one book let alone two so it is wonderful to see The Otters’ Tale following on from Life of a Chalkstream. Life takes some odd twists and turns. Twenty five years ago with a passion for fly fishing and a yearning to return to the river valleys of my Hampshire upbringing I packed in a perfectly respectable career.
"Now, making a living out of fishing is no easy thing, but by dint of hard work and some spectacular strokes of luck I’ve managed to do it with many miles of the most wonderful chalkstreams now under my care. These are home to an astonishing collection of wildlife that is as precious and unique as any Amazonian rainforest.
"The creatures that inhabit this wonderful tract of the English countryside have inspired the words you will find between the covers of my books."
Be inspired to write 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. Sarah started and leads Wimborne Writing Group. Using the pen name, Sarah Barr, her poems and short stories have won prizes in national competitions and been published in many magazines and anthologies. She was a Bridport Prizewinner for poetry in 2010 and 2016 and won the Frogmore Poetry Prize in 2015.
Costa award winner Keggie Carew grew up in the gravitational field of an unorthodox father who lived on his wits and dazzling charm. As his memory begins to fail, she embarks on a quest to unravel his story, and soon finds herself in a far more consuming place than she had bargained for. Tom Carew was a maverick, a left-handed stutterer, a law unto himself. As a member of an elite SOE unit he was parachuted behind enemy lines to raise guerrilla resistance in France, then Burma, in the Second World War. But his wartime exploits are only the start of it...
Dadland is a manhunt. Keggie takes us on a spellbinding journey, in peace and war, into surprising and shady corners of history, her rackety English childhood, the poignant breakdown of her family, the corridors of dementia and beyond. As Keggie pieces Tom – and herself – back together again, she celebrates the technicolour life of an impossible, irresistible, unstoppable man.
For the times when you're driving past a lumpy, bumpy field and you wonder what made the lumps and bumps; for when you’ re walking between two lines of grand trees, wondering when and why they were planted; for when you see a brown heritage sign pointing to a ‘tumulus’ but you don’ t know what to look for…
Entertaining and factually rigorous, Hidden Histories will help you decipher the story of our landscape through the features you can see around you.
Mary-Ann Ochota is a broadcaster and anthropologist who gained her MA from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University in 2002. She’s a familiar face on archaeology shows including the cult show Time Team, History Channel’s Ancient Impossible, BBC specials on Silbury Hill and Stonehenge, and ITV’s Britain’s Secret Treasures, for which she also wrote the tie-in book in association with the British Museum.
Mary-Ann writes regularly for newspapers and magazines on the outdoors and adventure, including for the Daily Telegraph, Countryfile Magazine, Geographical and Summit, and has presented documentaries for Animal Planet, Nat Geo, Channel 4 and BBC4. Mary-Ann is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Hillwalking Ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council and an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion.
For thousands of years the magnificently brooding Badbury Rings and the surrounding countryside has been transformed
by human habitation, mostly ancient, and now shrouded to many of us, in mystery – but with a trained eye we can begin to
unravel and understand the secrets of its past. Arguably the keenest of trained eyes are those of archaeologist and
anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota.
‘Get Outside Champion’ Mary-Ann will pull on her boots and lead us on a ‘landscape spotting’ walk at Badbury Rings to explore
its ancient history and search out the clues that will help to decode its past.
Mary-Ann Ochota MA, is a British broadcaster and anthropologist specialising in anthropology, archaeology, social history
and adventure factual television.
Portland Place is the diary of Sarah Shaw for the year of 1971, which she recently uncovered whilst clearing out her loft. Working as a secretary for the BBC at the time, Sarah's diary describes the life of a suburban girl who certainly wasn't 'swinging' but who was, ironically, not only working on a cutting edge BBC survey on sex education but also in the throes of an unlikely affair with middle-aged, working-class Irish lift attendant, Frank.
Sarah talks humorously and frankly about what it was like to be a young, working woman at the time as well as life at the BBC during the 1970s and the difficulties of navigating her first romance. She is funny and self-effacing with a self-knowledge that only few attain. Her innocence and naivety are hugely charming and the diary forms a valuable snapshot of a time not so far away that is now lost to us. Sarah Shaw was born next-door to a bombsite in Purley, Surrey, and brought up amid books and newspapers. Early writing included a series of novels in which she and her friends enjoyed exciting and romantic adventures with the Beatles. These were circulated in exercise books and read under the desks during Latin lessons.
Sarah's first job was at the BBC in the School Broadcasting Council, after which she went on to work with John Parry on radio programmes for secondary schools. Later, she returned to the BBC's Television Plays department, working with Louis Marks on productions such as the BAFTA-winning The Lost Boys. In the 1980s she moved into academic librarianship, retiring in 2014, having spent the previous twelve years as Librarian at Selwyn College, Cambridge.
A talk by Dennis Andrew of the Dorsetgrove, A Druid Grove based in Dorset.
Dennis’s enlightening talk will be in two parts, the first part covering the demise of ancient Druidry as a result of the Roman occupation and the rise of modern Druidry from its beginnings in the middle of the 17th century up to the present day. The second part will deal with what present day Druids believe – their faith, their philosophy and their culture.
Carrying staffs of Oak and Yew
Birch and Beech, to tell the truth
Wearing cloaks of whites and blues
And the emerald of woods
Walking barefoot on the land
In the forest and the sand
On 21 August 2017, over 100 million people will gather in a narrow belt across the USA to witness the most watched total solar eclipse in history. Eclipse - Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon, written by the widely read popular science author Frank Close, describes the spellbinding allure of this most beautiful natural phenomenon. The book explains why eclipses happen, reveals their role in history, literature and myth, and focuses on eclipse chasers, who travel with ecstatic fervour to some of the most inaccessible places on the globe to be present at the moment of totality.
The book includes the author's quest to solve a 3000 years old mystery: how did the moon move backwards during a total solar eclipse, as claimed in the Book of Joshua? It is an inspirational tale: how a teacher and an eclipse inspired the author, aged eight, to a life in science, and a love affair with eclipses, which takes him to a war zone in the Western Sahara, to the South Pacific and the African bush. The tale comes full circle with another eight-year old boy - the author's grandson - at the 2017 great American eclipse. Readers of all ages will be drawn to this inspirational chronicle of the mesmerizing experience of total solar eclipse.
Frank Close is an eminent research theoretical physicist in nuclear and particle physics. Currently Professor of Physics at Oxford University and a Fellow of Exeter College, he was formerly the Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. He served as Chair of the UK Space Exploration Working Group 2007 which culminated with Tim Peake's launch to the ISS. He is the author of several books, including the best-selling Lucifer's Legacy (OUP, 2000), and was the winner of the Kelvin Medal of the Institute of Physics for his 'outstanding contributions to the public understanding of physics'. His other books include The Cosmic Onion (1983), The Particle Explosion (1987), End (1988), Too Hot to Handle (1991), and The Particle Odyssey (OUP, 2002). In 2013 Professor Close was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for communicating science.
It is difficult to think of a more quintessential symbol of the British countryside than the British Hedgerow, bursting with blackberries, hazelnuts and sloes, and home to oak and ash, field mice and butterflies. But as much as we might dream about foraging for mushrooms or collecting wayside nettles for soup, most of us are unaware of quite how profoundly hedgerows have shaped the history of our landscape and our fellow species.
One of Britain's best known naturalists, John Wright introduces us to the natural and cultural history of hedges (as well as ditches, dykes and dry stone walls) - from the arrival of the first settlers in the British Isles to the modern day, when we have finally begun to recognise the importance of these unique ecosystems. His intimate knowledge of the countryside and its inhabitants brings this guide to life, whether discussing the skills and craft of hedge maintenance or the rich variety of animals, plants, algae and fungi who call them home. Informative, practical, entertaining and richly illustrated in colour throughout, 'A Natural History of the Hedgerow' is a book to stuff into your pocket for country walks in every season, or to savour in winter before a roaring fire.
John Wright's publications include books on how to forage in hedgerows and seashores, on the delights and perils of gathering fungi and mushrooms, and how to make your own booze, all published in the popular River Cottage Handbook series
"Wimborne Minster is steeped in the most surprising history. Both ancient and modern – it seeps from the very fabric of the place – it is a town rightly described as a jewel in Dorset’s crown and likened to a near perfect cathedral city in miniature. I won’t argue with these analogies – the words form a fine frame encompassing a complex bustling market town, built around its fine minster church - a place of kings, queens, saints and miracles – a key town in the ancient kingdom of Wessex… dripping with history and extraordinary people who have shaped the modern world.
"This short book is a miscellany - it does not attempt to offer a comprehensive and precise history of Wimborne – to achieve that one would need several large volumes on the Minster church alone – however, it does set out to introduce a few of the significant structures, residents, periods, and upheavals in the life of the town, and the effects felt much further afield, in a chronological and hopefully readable order. Much happened, of course, between each of the subjects I have covered and I am aware that some of the town’s historical treasures are not yet covered – it is the nature of a miscellany. Hopefully there will be more to follow."
Malcolm has been giving talks in Dorset and the surrounding counties for many years. He wrote the 'My Wimborne' page for the Bournemouth Evening Echo’s Wimborne Life Magazine until its closure in 2014. As an author his books include 'In Search of Isaac Gulliver' and the best-selling 'Too Few Too Far', Royal Marine George Thomsen’s true story of grit and valour in the South Atlantic.
The Viking Conquest of England in 1016 – a far tougher and brutal campaign than the Norman Conquest exactly half a century later – saw two great warriors, the Danish prince Cnut and his equally ruthless English opponent King Edmund Ironside fight an epic campaign.
Cnut sailed in 200 longboats landing first in September 1015 on the Wessex coast with 10,000 soldiers and the two forces fought each other to the point of exhaustion for the next 14 months. It was a war of terrifying violence that scarred much of England, from the Humber to Cornwall. It saw an epic siege of the great walls of London - built by Alfred the Great to keep the Danes out - and bruising set-piece battles at Penselwood, Otford, and the conclusive Danish victory at Assandun on 18 October 1016. Edmund’s death soon after finally resolved a brutal, bloody conflict and ended with Cnut crowned king of England on Christmas day that year.
This book tells the extraordinary story of Cnut the Great’s life. Cnut was far removed from the archetypal pagan Viking being a staunch protector of the Christian Church and a man who would also become Emperor of the North as king of Denmark and Norway. Yet in other ways the older Viking attributes lived on, Cnut was a vicious fighter and a risk-taking adventurer. Cnut was also a man with fascinating family connections. His wife, Emma of Normandy, was a remarkable woman who would outlive the two kings of England that she married. His son Harthacnut would be the second and last Danish king of England, the greatness of his dynasty did not long survive his death.
This saga also features the incompetent Ethelred the Unready, the ferocious Sweyn Forkbeard and the treacherous Eadric Streona, recreating one of the great stories of the Dark Ages of English history and the tale of one of the few English monarchs of the time to have truly European significance.
Martin Brown was born and raised in Melbourne but took the opportunity to turn his love of cartooning into a career in the UK, working on magazines, greetings cards and children’s books where his drawing style and sense of humour found a home. In 1992 Martin teamed up with Terry Deary for a new book called The Terrible Tudors – the first of the Horrible Histories series. Twenty years, sixty titles and twenty-five million copies sold later, their books have gone global. His own fun, non-fiction book, Lesser Spotted Animals was published in 2016.
Kristina Stephenson is an illustrator of many non-fiction books was Inspired to write her first picture book by her son Charlie (who does not have Stinky Socks), she showed it to a friend in the book trade. Thankfully for us he recommended that she send it to Egmont. With a change in artwork style, the bold, brave Sir Charlie Stinky Socks embarked on the first of his many really big adventures – a great show for Children!
Richard and Judy Book Club Pick Claire Fuller's new book Swimming Lessons is set in Purbeck – wonderful! In this spine-tingling tale Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but she never sends them. Instead she hides them within the thousands of books her husband has collected. After she writes her final letter, Ingrid disappears. Twelve years later, her adult daughter, Flora comes home to look after her injured father. Secretly, Flora has never believed her mother is dead, and she starts asking questions, without realizing that the answers she’s looking for are hidden in the books that surround her.
John is a writer, stand up poet and entertainer. You choose the poems from a menu of popular pieces and some of John’s best!
A former company speechwriter for Marks & Spencer, John took early retirement in 1999 and moved to Wareham. For six years he wrote a light-hearted monthly column for the Purbeck Gazette. In 2005 John brought out a collection of poems called 'The Blood of Others'. He has won poetry slams in Poole and Bournemouth and was ‘Poet in Residence for Poole Word & Book Festival’ in 2004. He has also written plays, sketches, comedy material, song lyrics, newspaper and published a travel memoir 'Surface Male - Round the World Without Flying'.
It’s all free, come and go as you please.
If you have 30 minutes to spare why not come along and make a book? Drop in on the hour from 10am until 3pm and members of The Wessex Guild of Bookbinders will help you make a notebook to take away. Or just look in and learn a bit about the fascinating craft of bookbinding.
For the last 50 years, Clive James has been writing remarkable songs - witty, moving, sometimes satirical, often thrillingly poetic - with his musical partner, Pete Atkin. They've written more than 200 together, releasing the first album of their work in 1970 and the last in 2015. John Peel loved them. So did Kenny Everett. Stephen Fry is a huge fan. And Clive himself believes these songs are the best things he's ever done. Loose Canon explores the sparkling lyrics and brilliantly memorable tunes that have won Clive and Pete a fanatical cult following but still managed to remain the British music industry s best-kept secret.
"This is the work I'm known least for, but which is closest to my heart." Clive James
"Atkin and James have spent half a century turning the ironically melancholic and the ruefully funny (or is it melancholically ironic and funnily rueful? All permutations of the four, I think) into an art form" Stephen Fry
Ian Shircore is a sought-after ghostwriter and author of a dozen books in his own right, including 'Conspiracy: 49 Reasons to Doubt, 50 Reasons to Believe' and 'John F Kennedy: The Life, The Presidency, The Assassination'. He was once unmasked by Fleet Street newspaper reporters as the supposed author of Belle de Jour's best-seller, 'The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl', a charge which he and the actual author, Brooke Magnanti, both deny.
East Dorset Heritage Trust, Allendale House, Hanham Rd, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1AS