Small festival attracts the big literary names
It could be the fabulous seaside location in Devon; the enthusiasm and passion of the organisers or the persuasive involvement of double Man Booker prize winner Hilary Mantel... or perhaps a combination of all three.
Whatever the cause, the effect is that this year's Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival has an incredible line-up, including a rare in conversation event with one of our best-loved crime writers, PD James.
Budleigh resident Hilary Mantel is Honorary President for the festival which was founded in 2008 by the late Susan Ward, with the aim of attracting acclaimed authors, playwrights and poets, whilst retaining accessible ticket prices and a friendly atmosphere.
It's certainly a plan that has worked as the festival, now in its fifth year, boasts some interesting speakers but still retains its intimate and friendly atmosphere.
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Hilary Mantel will be talking about her own work, including Wolf Hall and its best selling sequel Bring up the Bodies but will also be introducing new talent on the literary scene. She will be joined by Ed Hogan – shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize and winner of the Desmond Elliot Prize and Katie Ward, author of the highly acclaimed Girl Reading, winner of the Clarissa Luard Award.
PD James, pictured above, will talk about her long and fruitful career as a writer, her recent novel Death Comes to Pemberley and her passion for Jane Austen.
Another visitor to the four-day festival is Melvyn Bragg. A critically acclaimed author and broadcaster, Melvyn currently presents In Our Time on Radio 4 and will be reading and talking about his latest novel. Grace and Mary.
Lynne Truss, the journalist, playwright and author is well know for her humorous book about punctuation, Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.
She will be reading and discussing her radio monologues A Certain Age with actor James Fleet (The Vicar of Dibley, Four Weddings and A Funeral).
Other speakers include Irish writer Edna O'Brien, poet and novelist Jackie Kay, journalist Peter Snow, gardener Toby Buckland and Rachel Cooke, feature writer at the Observer, whose forthcoming book, Her Brilliant Career, tells the story of 10 pioneering women of the 1950s.
Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, September 19-22. budlitfest.org.uk.