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With one month to go, author Linda Blair looks forward to this year's Ways With Words Festival.

Friday, 7th June 2019

Dartington Hall. The beautiful buildings, acres of walks and delightful gardens, great food and accommodation make this wonderful place well worth a visit on its own merits.But when you add the presence of some of the most creative and gifted communicators of our time, individuals who are looking forward to sharing their thoughts and dreams with you…

I’m sure you’re as excited about this year’s Festival of Words and Ideas at Dartington Hall as I am!

There’s a truly fresh look to what’s on offer, talks and events that will appeal to individuals of all ages and whose interests are as wide as your imagination. You’ll meet artists,broadcasters, historians, explorers, comedians, politicians, journalists and masters of fiction. The format ranges from talks to interviews; storytelling to pop-up theatre; films to workshops on travel writing, mindfulness and bookmaking; even a live drawing event and a guided meditation.  

I’ve been asked to choose some of the highlights this year. It’s hard to know where to start--I’d happily recommend every event! After much deliberation, however, I’ve chosen 10 events that illustrate the breadth of talent that’s waiting for you.

On Sunday the 7th of July, author and journalist Peter Stanford will tell us all about angels.Why are we so fascinated with them, and why do so many people (10% of Britons, according to a recent poll), claim to have experienced their presence?

Climate change is finally—and more than deservedly—constantly in the headlines. In a poll prior to Denmark’s recent election, for example, 46% of those interviewed said climate change was their top concern.  OnMonday evening we’ll be privileged to hear sustainability expert Mike Berners-Lee tell us what we can do to help save our planet--before it’s too late. (Note: If you’re booking from a printed brochure, this event has been rescheduled from Sunday to Monday).

If you follow my suggestions, I’m afraid you’ll be quite busy on Tuesday.  At 15.15, the renowned geneticist and expert on twin studies Robert Plomin will take a fresh look at the nature-nurture debate. Just how important is our input as parents when we raise our children? Earlier that day, Christopher North is offering a workshop on travel writing to help you find ways to enrich your writing as well as your actual experiences during the journeys you make. He’s giving a second workshop on Wednesday, about how to capture your experiences live.   

Feminist writers feature throughout this Festival, from MP Rachel Reeves on Saturday 6th examining the role of women in British politics, to chronicler Katie Hickman onSunday 7th describing the lives of the first British women to set foot in India, to Cambridge economist Victoria Bateman calling (possibly unclothed?) for the need to put sex and gender at the heart of our most burning economic issues. If that were not enough, how can anyone miss the Friday evening presentation on the 12th, when classicist and Radio 4broadcaster Natalie Haynes retells the Trojan War from an all-female perspective?

I could go on. I really could. However, I’ll close now I promise! But before I do, may I encourage you to take a look at the line-up on Saturday 13th, when you can discover how novelist and biographer Andrew Wilson created his latest murder mystery featuring Agatha Christie; then follow it—if you dare—with an interactive murder mystery featuring none other than Holmes and Watson.

See you next month,

Linda Blair



Tuesday, 18th December 2018

A perfect gift for your literary friends and relations.

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