16-19 Oct: Hungerford Literary Festival

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The attractive market town of Hungerford is all set for its fourth literary festival – a community event that also attracts non-residents to its ‘live library’ of author talks. Running from Friday 16th October – Monday 19th, this year’s line-up is already proving a hit.


Headlining this year are Sir Max Hastings, who will be talking about his newly published book , ‘Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerillas 1939-1945 ’ on Saturday evening, and Louis De Bernieres, author of the international bestseller ‘Captain Correlli’s Mandolin’. The celebrated novelist will be talking about his latest title, ‘The Dust that Falls From Dreams’ – a moving story of love against a background of war.


History buffs can look forward to hearing about ‘King John : England, Magna Carta and the Making of a Tyrant’ from Professor Stephen Church; and the Seventeenth Century local landowner Lord Craven in Robin Haig’s book ‘Knight Errant: Lord Craven and the Court of the Winter Queen’. He had two houses built for Elizabeth of Bohemia (sister of Charles I) – Hamstead Marshall Park near Hungerford, now demolished, and Ashdown House near Lambourn.


Stephen Knott will also be talking about his books ‘The Sketchbook War’ which explores nine courageous war artists including Eric Ravilious, Edward Ardizzone and Edward Bawden, and his latest book ‘The Trio’ which tells the story of three close war correspondents.


For fans of fiction the festival welcomes award-winning writer Piers Paul Read for his new book ‘Scarpia’ which brilliantly reimagines the infamous villain of Puccini’s opera, Tosca, telling a story that shines a light into the dusty corridors of history and the dark corners of the human soul. Festival-goers can also join novelists Vanessa La Faye (author of ‘Summertime’ – chosen as a Richard and Judy Book Club title this year) Kathryn Simmonds (author of ‘Love and Fallout’ which is set against the Greenham Common protests) and Magnus MacIntyre (author of ‘Whirligig’ – a comedic novel about the redemptive power of the countryside) at a literary supper next door to the bookshop.


Sports enthusiasts can expect an amusing talk from Edward Brooke-Hitching whose book ‘Fox Tossing, Octopus Wresting and Other Forgotten Sports’ takes us on a breathless romp through the back alleys of history to form an indispensable collection of the cruellest, most dangerous and downright ridiculous entertainments of our ancestors. He will be joined by Sunday Times sports correspondent, Martin Johnson. His book ‘Can I Carry Your Bags?’ recounts his glorious misadventures as a sports hack abroad.


Children can be entertained by Josh Lacey at the library (author of the very popular Grk and Dragonsitter series), and go on a nature writing workshop with RSPB writer and Newbury Weekly News columnist Nicola Chester.


For grown-up nature lovers we welcome Tim Dee, author of the acclaimed ‘The Running Sky: A Birdwatching Life’. Through his examination on four diverse fields he makes us look anew at where we live and how. ‘Four Fields’ is a lyrical and profound book by one of Britain’s very best nature writers – this is a must-see event.

Be inspired by Melanie Gow as she describes her journey across the Pyrenees and across Spain with her two sons for thirty-three days. Her story achieved national newspaper coverage, and her talks have had audiences captivated. ‘Life is a brief shot at something incredible’ she says.


Or stay closer to home with Nick Channer & Phillipa Lewis as they explore connections between writers and their homes. Join them for a lively discussion about houses, what they have meant to people and how they have contributed to the literary world.


Poetry in the Bookshop’ is a must for anyone who enjoys reading and writing poetry. Local poets Simon Carver and Danica Trim will start the evening off with a selection of their verse, and then it’s the turn of the audience. This is a relaxed event and perfect for anyone that just enjoys the craft of poetry and fancies sharing a piece of their work with others. There will be plenty of wine to help overcome any nerves.


For full details of all events and to purchase tickets please visit www.hungerfordlitfest.org or contact

The Hungerford Bookshop on 01488 683480 or email sales@hungerfordbooks.co.uk