Big names for 11th Petworth Festival Literary Week

The 11th Petworth Festival Literary Week will feature guests including Gyles Brandreth, Sebastian Faulks, Jeremy Vine, Jeffrey Archer, Tom Bradby and Geordie Greig.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 8:05 am
Gyles Brandreth
Gyles Brandreth

And for the first time, Lord Egremont will speak on home turf about his latest book, The Glass Wall, encompassing “everything Petworth” for the final event of the festival.

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 on demand for up to three weeks after the individual events.

“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!

“With 38 events over nine days in five venues, other top names feature 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 Bernieres.

“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, 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.”

The opening weekend of the festival sees:

Saturday, October 30:

Harry Potter Wand Workshop, 10am, United Reformed Church

Alison Weir,11.30am, St Mary’s Church

Workshop: How to Write the Perfect Memoir, 2pm, United Reformed Church

Kate Bailey, 2.30pm, St Mary’s Church

A C Grayling (via video link), 5pm, St Mary’s Church

Dan Jones, 8pm, St Mary’s Church

Sunday, October 31

Poetry Breakfast,10.30am, Leconfield Hall

Gyles Brandreth, 2.30pm, Seaford College

Jeffrey Archer, 5.30pm, Seaford College

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, 8pm, St Mary’s Church

The week concludes on Sunday, November 7.