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Marlborough LitFest

Marlborough’s LitFest celebrates ten years with a special children’s competition

Gillian Macdonald with some of the entries for the LitFest Children's CompetitionGillian Macdonald with some of the entries for the LitFest Children's CompetitionAs part of the ten-year celebration of the founding of Marlborough’s LitFest, over a thousand local children have entered a special competition.  The first schools to sign up for the competition have also been awarded £200 worth of books to be chosen from the White Horse Bookshop.

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From chocolat to strawberries - the rich world of Joanne Harris' best-selling stories

oanne Harris (Photo: Kyte Photography)oanne Harris (Photo: Kyte Photography)When Joanne Harris first published Chocolat twenty years ago, she never thought that a novel about a chocolate shop and a small French village would achieve worldwide success and acclaim.  A very popular film adaptation and several awards later, Joanne has published the fourth book in the Chocolat series - The Strawberry Thief.

 

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Marlborough archaeologist's new book delves into a million years of our history - where does Marlborough fit in?

Mike Pitts at Avebury (Photo: Nicky Russell) Mike Pitts at Avebury (Photo: Nicky Russell) One of 2019 LitFest's most local authors will be Marlborough resident, archaeologist, writer and broadcaster Mike Pitts.  He will be talking about his new book Digging Up Britain: Ten Discoveries, a Million Years of History (to be published by Thames & Hudson on August 29).

 

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The Salt Path

 

Here's a variation on our competition - different but absolutely valid:  

Stopping off at Dyffryn Gardens near Cardiff on the way back from a walking week in Pembrokeshire, I came away with a plant I’d been looking out for and a copy of The Salt Path which I found on the shelves of a second-hand book shop. 

It somehow seemed the right sort of book to be reading after walking along short stretches of the Wales Coast Path, but I had to wait my turn as my husband got there first. 

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Alan Johnson: Very humbling, very moving, and very entertaining. The very best of Marlborough Lit Fest

 

To sit in front of Alan Johnson at Marlborough Lit Fest in 2018 and hear him so gleefully describe his joy at discovering music was an absolute privilege.  The charisma of this man - slum inhabitant, orphan, postman, union rep, MP then Secretary of State - shone from the Town Hall stage as he enthralled us all with his tales of playing his first ever discs to being a band on the run.  

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Amy Sackville's vivid story of Velasquez & King Philip IV

 

For me the recent discovery of a lost portrait by Diego Velasquez revived memories of the talk given at last year's Marlborough LitFest by Amy Sackville.

Her novel Painter to the King is a fictional account of the artist's life at the Madrid court of Philip IV.  Amy Sackville gave a brilliant talk and showed how Velasquez continues to play on her imagination.

Painter to the King is a breath-taking book.  It works wonders with words and speech patterns, and it successfully takes you into Diego Velasquez' inspiration and his way of painting - at time almost brush stroke by brush stroke.  It certainly confirms the critics' view that Amy Sackville has extraordinary gifts as writer.

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An Evening with William Boyd by ‘Nat Tate’

 

If you were in the LitFest audience of the Memorial Hall last year, you may have caught a glimpse of me.  I was hovering in the wings while William Boyd, the great author, told the story of my artistic struggles and tragic demise to a spellbound audience.

 

I get the applause, but why the laughter?  

 

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Simon Russell Beale - LitFest 2016 by Tony Smith

 

In the late 80s or very early 90s, it was a warm morning in Avebury that I came across a young man, mug of tea in one hand and sheaf of paper in the other, leaning on the front fence of his parents’ house, learning his lines.  He was still in his pyjamas and dressing gown.

I didn’t take a lot of notice.  I was new to the area and supposed Avebury people might be a bit odd.

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My Favourite Visiting Author of Marlborough LitFest

 

I had been asked to have the author of the 2017 Big Town Read to stay at my B&B, and was delighted to be able to offer her a room.

 

‘I’d better read her book before she comes’, I thought, and so picked up a copy of The Bees by Laline Paull.

 

‘Oh, my goodness! This really isn’t my usual choice of genre’ I thought, ‘but I must persevere so that I appear knowledgeable when she stays with me’.  So I battled through the first chapter or so wondering how anyone could write a book from the point-of-view of a bee!  

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LITFEST 2019: children's programme revealed - with wizards, naughtiness, magic, bears...Cressida Cowell, David Baddiel, Chris Riddell an' all

Marlborough LitFest aims to promote a love of books and reading in its younger audience and this year’s children’s line-up is more packed than ever, with a host of headlining children’s authors including Cressida Cowell, David Baddiel and illustrator, Chris Riddell, as well as events and new outreach programmes to cater for all ages at this year’s10th anniversary Festival. 

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