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Curtains down on the Dulverton Exmoor Literary Festival 2023

The curtain came down on the evening of Sunday 19 November on the Dulverton Exmoor Literary Festival 2023 to rapturous applause and fabulous feedback from the speakers, sponsors and members of the audience.  ‘The Exmoor event of the year’ according to Mrs W of North Devon and ‘thank you for two wonderfully interesting and stimulating days’ from Ms G of Somerset; and ‘congratulations on creating the most wonderfully diverse, yet completely connected literary festival’, from editor Mrs M.

From the ‘Survival and Adventure’ talk L to R: travel publisher Hilary Bradt, British explorer Belinda Kirk, festival director Ali Pegrum, UK military survival expert John Hudson

A wide variety of talks and topics

Michael Morpurgo’s talk on Sunday was an event highlight – where he chatted with writer Alice Thomson about his classic ‘War Horse’ and treated the audience of all ages to a reading of a poem about the tortoise and hare, and even sang a beautiful folk song.  ‘Morpurgo was a complete joy’ wrote Mrs B of Dulverton.


Rachel Johnson’s (pictured above) enlightening talk about her life in the political arena attracted another huge audience, in conversation with art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston.  Writers Julian Glover and Victoria Eveleigh discussed the complexities of the use and protection of the countryside, in the company of a fascinated audience that included many Exmoor farmers and landowners.


‘Duchesses Behaving Badly’ became the in-house title for a lively talk with historical biographers Andrew Lownie and Catherine Ostler.  Their books about Edward VIII and the Duchess of Windsor, and the 18thC Duchess of Kingston sold like hot cakes in the popup event bookshop run by Waterstones of Barnstaple.


Other topics in the weekend’s programme included railways, wine, the benefits of challenge and adventure, and creativity in its many forms – the latter with writer Albert Read, celebrity photographer Harry Borden and editor Miranda Taylor.  Lovers of fiction were treated to a talk with three remarkable novelists – Sarah Turner, Hannh Richell and Janet Ellis – all of whom have new books in the pipeline coming very soon.  Janet, a former Blue Peter presenter, said ‘the atmosphere couldn’t have been nicer and [the whole event] sparkled!’

The Dulverton Exmoor Literary Festival 2023 Children’s Writing Competition

Historical novelist Kate Lord Brown judged the festival’s Children’s Writing Competition and Michael Morpurgo handed the prizes to winner Fergus Brewer (age 6) and runners up Amelia Toms (age 12) and Jack Richards (age 6).  Fergus’ incredibly imaginative and creative story delighted the audience and can be found here on this website. Pictured above are L to R: Kate Lord Brown, runner up Amelia Toms, winner Fergus Brewer, runner up Jack Richards, Michael Morpurgo.


The event was sponsored by local businesses Tozers Solicitors, Amicus Law, Stockham Farm Exmoor, The Exclusive Cake Company, Exmoor Character Cottages, Exmoor News, First Design, Hedley Price, Jeff Pegrum Landscaping, Maitland Walker, Osteo & Physio Tiverton,  Risdon Hosegood, The Sip Shed, Town Mills, Ware Construction, Wellhayes Vineyard, Winsbere House, The Bridge Inn Dulverton, James Pryce Tractors, Masons Kings, Rothwell & Dunworth and Fabula Arts.