Friday, 11 July 2014

Appledore Book Festival 2014

The Appledore Book Festival runs from 26 September to 5 October this year, and I'm not only holidaying in the area throughout, I'm attending at least one event every day.

This year I've been cunning, and I became a Friend of the Festival. This entitles me to a bit off the cost of events here and there, and exclusive participation in one lunchtime event (hosted by the 2010 Masterchef winner). But the chief advantage is that a Friend can get tickets before the general public is allowed to buy them. They went on sale at midnight, less than an hour ago, by which time I'd settled on my online bookings and was ready to pay at the checkout. A few minutes later I'd paid, and I've since had PayPal's confirmation of that.

Whether I've actually secured all the tickets I want is quite another thing, but hopefully an email confirming everything will reach me shortly. I mean, I could hardly have booked sooner; and in any case this isn't like applying for tickets to the Olympic or Commonwealth Games. I'm going to attend twelve events altogether, at a very reasonable total cost of £119.50, which includes a £1.50 booking fee.

So what have I signed up for?

Saturday 27 September: In the afternoon, Lord David Owen discusses the military situation before the First World War, and how that war might have been avoided. In the evening, Mark Horton of BBC's Coast programme, talks about his favourite places in the South West, and reveals how the programme is filmed.

Sunday 28 September: Terry Bailey, a local historian (I don't think it's Terry Bailey the renowned marine artist), leads an evening Ghost Walk around Appledore which starts at a pub (and no doubts ends at one!).

Monday 29 September: Dr Sally Flint discusses the techniques for writing short stories and poetry at a morning workshop. In the evening, Vicky Pryce speaks about her experiences of life in prison, and the human cost of keeping women locked up.

Tuesday 30 September: In the evening, all about being an agony aunt with Irma Kurtz.

Wednesday 1 October: A private reception for Friends of the ABF only: a two-course lunch (with wine) featuring 2010 Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker, who cooks recipes from his latest cookbook. Limited to thirty Friends - I do hope I get in.

Thursday 2 October: Local historian David Carter leads a morning walk around Instow, directly across the water from Appledore.

Friday 3 October: In the afternoon, BBC's Antiques Roadshow expert Paul Atterbury discusses the family stories behind World War I memorabilia.

Saturday 4 October: Professor Helen Taylor (whom I saw last year) talks in the afternoon about the special significance for women of the film Gone With The Wind. Followed shortly by Richard Madeley, explaining the background pressures behind his latest book.

Sunday 5 October: Fay Weldon talks about her latest novel, which completes her historical trilogy about aristocratic life around 1900.

All for the price of a tankful of diesel. And when not in Appledore, I can pop off and do other things in North Devon and North Cornwall (Bude anyway). Some people treat holidays as times to relax, drift away and do nothing. Not me.


  1. I'd sell the house if I were you Lucy, you're hardly ever there! LOL

    Shirley Anne x

  2. Very interesting, Lucy. The idea of a Book Fair has never appealed, but I must say that I'm impressed with this year's programme - particularly David Owen talking about the lead-up to WW1. Vicky Pryce could be interesting too, though something within my balks at the guilty capitalising on their prison experiences.

  3. Vicky Pryce has done what others before her have done - Jonathan Aitken comes to mind - and made good use of her prison time, and as a public figure can draw attention to an issue. But I agree it is indeed turning calamity into cash, although she can't possibly make a fortune out of this particular appearance at a modest West Country venue that charges the public so little.

    I mainly want to listen to her, and decide what I think about her for myself. And incidentally learn a bit more about women in jail.

    At one level, book fairs are about promoting books. They also let you get close up to interesting people who have something to communicate, but in a non-confrontational setting. I suppose that if you followed the 'book fair circuit' you'd encounter everyone who is well-known as a writer of some kind.



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