The inaugural Dulverton Exmoor Literary Festival on 19th and 20th November has been described as a “triumph” by MasterChef judge, restaurant critic and author William Sitwell.
With a packed programme of fascinating author talks in the Town Hall in Dulverton on the Sunday, culminating in a sellout event with Norman Scott sharing his extraordinary life story and how he survived a murder attempt on Exmoor instigated by 1970’s Liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe.
Norman Scott signing his book, An Accidental Icon.
Creative Writing Workshops
The Saturday programme was held in Dulverton Library with local children’s author Annabel Collis hosting creative writing workshops for adults and children. Much fun was had and storyboards created by all ages!
Children’s author Annabel Collis hosting the children’s creative writing workshop.
Children’s Authors and The Children’s Writing Competition
The Sunday began with a family audience being treated to a chat with two of Exmoor’s most loved children’s authors, Claire Barker and Victoria Eveleigh, followed by the presentation to Orla Scandrett, age 8, of the winner’s prize in the festival’s Children’s Writing Competition with her story, The Hungry Deer. The competition judge, author Kate Lord Brown had the tricky task of judging 22 entries from across Exmoor and beyond. The runners up were Thomas Hill, age 7, and Kirsty Tyrrell, age 10.
Orla Scandrett, age 8, with her winning story for the Children’s Writing Competition. With (L to R) authors Claire Barker, Victoria Eveleigh and Kate Lord Brown.
After a free yoga session at lunchtime with celebrated yogi Colin Dunsmuir, the audience was treated to a talk from William Sitwell about Lord Woolton’s task of feeding the nation during WWII.
William Sitwell gives a talk around his book, Eggs or Anarchy.
The Book Club Talk
The next popular talk was with three bestselling authors of fiction, Veronica Henry, Katherine Webb and Kate Lord Brown. Veronica latterly congratulated the festival organisers for the warm and inviting atmosphere they had created and, along with the other writers, was delighted to have signed and sold so many books via the festival’s popup bookshop hosted by Waterstones Barnstaple. The trio of authors were interviewed on stage by Poppy Flaxman, Manager of Waterstones Barnstaple.
Bestselling fiction authors (L to R) Katherine Webb, Veronica Henry and Kate Lord Brown.
Alice Thomson, Times columnist, then took to the stage to talk about her remarkable book outlining her many interviews with famous and successful people who had faced adversity in their early lives.
Alice Thomson signing her book, What I Wish I’d Known When I Was Young.
Rugby and the Exeter Chiefs
This illuminating talk was followed by Guardian sports correspondent and author Rob Kitson chatting with South West rugby legend Chris Bentley about all things rugby and the rise of the Exeter Chiefs. Gossip and laughter was shared by the rugby-loving audience!
Chris Bentley and Rob Kitson sharing rugby stories on stage.
Rob Kitson signing copies of his book, Exe Men, The Extraordinary Rise of Exeter Chiefs.
Ali Pegrum, Festival Director, was delighted with how the event had gone and said, “After a long year in the planning, it was wonderful to meet this extraordinary group of writers in Dulverton and bring this new event to Exmoor. Many complimentary comments have been received from the speakers and the audience, thrilled to have been a part of this inaugural event and hoping it will be repeated. I’m sure it will!”
The entire two-day festival had been supported by Dulverton Town Council and generously sponsored by local businesses Exmoor Character Cottages, Stockham Farm Exmoor, Exmoor News, Hedley Price Funeral Directors, Jeff Pegrum Landscaping, PFG Fabrication, Town Mills B&B, Tozers Solicitors, Ware Construction, Rothwell & Dunworth Books, Your First Book, Stags Estate Agents, Osteo & Physio Tiverton, Maitland Walker Solicitors, The Exmoor Feasting Company and The Exclusive Cake Company.