Fringe Box



The 11th Petworth Festival Literary Week Is Back Live And Online

Published on: 16 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 16 Oct, 2021

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Top authors from across the board will once again be heading to Petworth this coming autumn as the Petworth Festival celebrates the 11th edition of its now firmly established Literary Week.

Sebastian Faulks. Photo by Still Moving.

Following up on its track record of attracting the biggest names in publishing, audiences can expect in-person sessions with authors including Jeffrey Archer, Sebastian Faulks, Joan Bakewell, Alison Weir and Gyles Brandreth.

Stewart Collins, Petworth Festival Literary Week’s artistic director, said: “There is something incredibly special about hearing a well-known author – or even a not-so-well-known author – talking about their latest oeuvre.

“There have been so many wins from our previous literary weeks, but I don’t think I ever quite appreciated what a privileged opportunity we get when someone of Sebastian Faulks’ or Joan Bakewell’s stature comes to the festival and talks in detail and intimately about their lives, passions and – of course – their latest books.”

Following the considerable success of the 2020 edition when events were streamed live from Petworth, audiences have the choice of attending in person or watching online, either ‘live’ or the recording for up to three weeks after the individual events.

Stewart Collins added: “Although we were learning as we went along last year, we found a really successful formula for relaying last year’s programme and in so doing reached an audience that was considerably larger than could ordinarily be accommodated in our venues, so on the basis that there is both a market for the live and the online experience we are repeating the exercise and hope to spread the word this way – in more senses than one!”

Joan Bakewell. Photo by Sukey Parnell.

With 38 events over nine days in five venues, other top names featuring including historian Dan Jones, top journalists Tom Bradby, Isabel Hardman and Gavin Esler, science and philosophy from Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling with other events focusing on the natural world, fashion icons, and poetry from the acclaimed author Louis de Bernières.

Children’s events will include a Harry Potter wand making workshop for Hallowe’en and an interactive quiz based on Britannica’s compendium of “surprising, amazing and amusing” lists, Listified.

“I’m probably not the first to comment on the fact that it’s been a remarkable 18 months for everyone,” says Stewart Collins, “but what I do know is that reading has provided a fabulous alternative get-away for lots of people, and that the return of live events has been amazingly well received.

“Being in the same room with an author you know and admire is not an experience you can replicate in any other way.”

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