well read - Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival

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The 6th annual festival sees two weeks of author sessions, panel events, and workshops taking place in Stratford at venues such as Civic Hall and the Shakespeare Centre.


The 2013 Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival runs from April 21 to May 5 in venues around the Warwickshire town famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Different Worlds’, an idea that will be explored through poetry, short stories, art, and storytelling. The diverse range of authors attending also bring a taste of their Different Worlds through discussions on comedy, poverty, food, crime, and more. Headliners include author and traveller Michael Palin, elder statesman Tony Benn, best-selling creator of War Horse Michael Morpurgo, comedian Tony Hawks, and Costa-shortlisted biographer Artemis Cooper.

A variety of workshops, topics, and discussions range from the challenges of screenwriting Les Misérables with William Nicholson, to who was the better writer – Shakespeare or Marlowe. There’s plenty of inspiration for those who want to hone their writing skills and be published as well. Budding writers can learn the skills of the trade from award-winning crime writer Louise Welsh, and a top-level panel will advise on writing historical fiction.

Coffee Table Book

Illustrating Shakespeare
By Peter Whitfield

Painters as varied as Hogarth, Blake, Fuseli, West, Delacroix, Millais, and Waterhouse produced works of art that have strongly influenced our mental image of Shakespeare’s plays. This book shows how some artists succeeded in capturing the characters and the drama in images that are timeless and not bound within the walls of a theatre, while others merely reflect the taste of their time.
The British Library Publishing Division


Book reviews

The Heretics
By Rory Clements

The fifth in Rory Clements’s acclaimed John Shakespeare Elizabethan mystery series. England may have survived the Armada threat of 1588, but when Spanish galleys land troops in Cornwall on a lightning raid seven years later, is it a dry-run for a new invasion? Or is there, perhaps, a more sinister motive? From the wild coasts of Cornwall to the sweat and sawdust of the Elizabethan playhouses, The Heretics builds to a terrifying climax that threatens the life of the Queen herself.
John Murray


The Friday Gospels
By Jenn Ashworth

It’s Friday in the Leeke household, but this is no ordinary Friday: the Leekes are Lancastrian Mormons and tonight they will be welcoming back their son Gary from his two-year mission in Utah. His mother, Pauline, wants his homecoming to be perfect. Unfortunately, nothing goes according to anyone’s plan, and the outcome is as unexpected as it is shocking. Giving an unusual insight into the Mormon way of life, this is a story of human folly and foibles, and what counts in times of crisis.


The Cleaner of Chartres
By Salley Vickers

In the small French town of Chartres, Agnès Morel can be found cleaning the famed medieval cathedral each morning and doing odd jobs for the townspeople. No one knows where she came from or why. Not Abbé Paul, who discovered her one morning 20 years ago, sleeping on the north porch, and not Alain Fleury, the young restorer who works alongside her each day. She has transformed each of their lives in her own subtle way, yet no one suspects the dark secret Agnès is hiding.


The Expedition: Dark Waters
By Jason Lewis

The first in an adventure trilogy, Dark Waters charts one of the longest, most gruelling, yet uplifting and at times, irreverently funny journeys in history, circling the world using just the power of the human body. More than just a physical challenge, adventurer Jason Lewis used The Expedition to reach out to thousands of schoolchildren, calling attention to our interconnectedness and shared responsibility of an inhabitable Earth for future generations.
Billyfish Books


The Fabulous Baker Brothers: Glorious British Grub
By Henry and Tom Herbert

Fresh from inspiring a whole new generation of bakers, Tom and Henry Herbert are back to revitalise British heartland cooking. Taking traditional dishes – from coddled eggs, sausage rolls, and bourbon biscuits to shepherd's pie, sticky toffee pudding, and Welsh rarebit – the brothers show us how their unique, modern twists on old classics can turn familiar favourites into delicious treats. Throw away your takeaway menus and fall in love with British food.



Michael Palin

Michael Palin is a comedian, actor, writer, and television presenter. Since 1988 he has been travelling the globe, beginning with the book and television series Around The World In 80 Days. This was followed by a number of books to accompany his very successful travel series, Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya, New Europe, 80 Days Revisited, and his latest adventure, Brazil. He is also the author of a number of children’s stories, the play The Weekend and novels including Hemingway’s Chair and The Truth.


Sebastian Faulks

One of the most accomplished authors of literary fiction in the UK and praised as “one of the most impressive novelists of his generation“, Sebastian Faulks’s best-selling novels include The Girl at The Lion d’Or, Charlotte Gray, Devil May Care (a James Bond novel), Human Traces, and Engleby. Birdsong, his epic love story set against the First World War, was a major TV drama on BBC1 in 2012. He has been the British Book Awards Author of the Year and also won the Popular Fiction Award. At the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival he’ll be talking about his successful writing career and his latest novel, A Possible Life, which is formed by five short stories that span continents, centuries, and subject matter.


London, England
Distance: 5,219 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: 6 flights a day

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