The third instalment of the Sidmouth Literary Festival has proven to be quite a success as writers had an opportunity to talk about the stories behind their stories. The festival took place over three days i.e. Friday to Sunday and included talks from authors, workshops on how to become a published writer and awards for poetry. Judi Spiers and Christopher Biggins started off the event and after the dual act, there were several talks on the other side of town.
Novelist Sophie Hannah who is known for her Queen of Crime book, in association with Winstone’s Books had a chance to talk about the amazing coincidences that resulted in her being asked to write a new series of books featuring the infamous Poirot by the Agatha Christie estate.
The Daily Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon talked about how she struggled with mental issues and drugs before talking about Prince Harry’s call to her to congratulate her after finishing the London Marathon.
Valerie Grove talked about what life was like in The Oldie magazine and how it felt to be writing obituaries for The Telegraph. Adele Parks, Lee Weeks and Lesley Pearse, all Sunday Times best-sellers, talked about their novels and delved into the passion, domestic suspense and romance. Afterwards, Time Pears went on stage and spoke about how his writing was influenced by growing up in Devon. Laurence Anholt also took the chance to reveal that ‘The Hypnotist’, his new novel, had won a major award.
There was a fascinating talk touching on women in history from Anne Sebba that also spoke about the Duchess of Windsor and Julia Creek opened up Sidmouth’s literary past to the audience. Anne Swithinbank, the writer who focuses on gardening, talked about a number of tips with Sidmouth in Bloom’s Lynette Talbot. There was also a major treat for the audience from Sarah Obermuller Bennet as she revealed the actual story that led to Jerome K Jerome.
However, the event wasn’t just an adult affair as children also had a few ways of getting involved. There was a How to Get Published Workshop and several teens and young kids had a chance to compete for the poetry awards. The writer in residence for the festival, Jane Corry, took some time to thank everyone who had sponsored the event she also thanked the volunteers who had done a lot of work to ensure the festival went on without a hitch.