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25th Ways With Words Festival at Dartington Hall

Press Release for Ways With Words’ 25th festival, Dartington, Devon.

10 days in July – Ways With Words Festival of Words and Ideas 

130 events, 10 days – talks, debates, music, performance, readings, workshops…
Once again the Ways With Words team have worked their magic and put together a dazzling programme for this year’s Festival of Words and Ideas (8-17 July). And this year the festival celebrates 25 years in the stunning setting of Dartington Hall.

Expect controversy, extra terrestrial wonders and radical thinking – for among the glitterati drawn to the deckchairs in the courtyard (and to the Great Hall) will be George Monbiot, Alice Roberts, Mark Watson, Helen Dunmore, Mark Haddon, Joan Bakewell, Shirely Williams, Rosie Millard, David Aaronovitch, Vince Cable and Ken Livingstone.

Some of you may have heard Joan Bakewell reading from her memoir Stop the Clocks on Radio Four. She looks back to the time in which she grew up, from being taught domestic skills at school, to the wider lessons learnt through politics, lovers and betrayal. Bestselling author, Helen Dunmore discusses forbidden love, cover-ups, and spying during the cold war – all themes in her latest novel, while George Monbiot asks ‘what is the dominant ideology that has penetrated so far into our lives that we can no longer see it?’

Presenter of The Food Detectives, Alice Roberts has found time in her busy schedule to write a book about the Celts and she reveals their remarkable story: their origins, how they lived and thrived and their enduring legacy. David Aaronovitch recalls a childhood among communists watching Russian movies and attending Socialist Sunday School, while Former BBC Arts Correspondent Rosie Millard has drawn from her experiences living in an affluent garden square in North London in her novel The Square.

Among local writers taking part in the festival are political commentator and presenter of Any Questions, Jonathan Dimbleby and Times Foreign Correspondent Anthony Loyd. The former explores the decisions that led to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic through the fascinating diaries and letters of both the Allied and German leaders and sailors, while Anthony Loyd tells of his experience as a war journalist covering conflicts around the world.

Events in the Barn meander around themes as diverse as International Politics, Ways of Seeing, Reporting Back, The Science of the Mind and Body, Writing about Writers, Inner Selves and In the Wild.
In the Wild encompasses themes to include reading water with the natural navigator Tristan Gooley, musings on the Raptor with James Macdonald Lockhart, and former palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum, Richard Fortey shares observations from a four acre beech and bluebell wood in the Chiltern Hills.

On the Inner Selves themed day Dr Julia Shaw explores the centrality of memory to our existence – and how it can go awry, while Polly Morland unravels the mysteries of human change and how the imagination can become the engine of metamorphosis and Charles Fernyhough assesses the importance of thinking – or as he calls it ‘inner speech’.

Word Circus and Word School are two new highlights to the 25th anniversary festival. Word Circus will present a programme of short, snappy, free fringe events in the Upper Gatehouse, and Word School, as its name suggests, will offer a series of writing workshops for those who want to improve, or make a start at, writing.
And in the balmy summer evenings, after a cocktail on the lawn, comedian Mitch Benn, poet Matt Harvey and science writer/comedian Ben Miller might make you laugh a lot and think a bit.

Ways With Words Festival of Words and Ideas, Dartington, Devon 8 – 18 July 2016.

Bookings open on May 18 (for Festival Friends it opens one week earlier).

Programmes are available in Tourist Information Centres in the South Hams, libraries and directly from Ways With Words (email 01803 867373)

For more information go to

ENDS 637 words

Notes for Editors:

• Events at the festival run from 10am‐10pm across the ten days and
visitors to the festival can buy individual, day tickets or packages.
You can download the .pdf of this year's programme here

• Individual tickets are available at £10. Concessions £5.

• General Booking opens on Wednesday 18th May when tickets will be
available online, by phone: 01803 867373 or email

• Three festival package options are available: 10‐day, 5‐day and weekend
or midweek ‐ which include on‐site accommodation and entry to all

• Ways With Words also runs literary events in Suffolk, Cumbria, and Italy
 For further press information, press passes, photography and interview requests
please contact:

Phil John on 01803 867373,

Download Dartington.Brochure.2016.v1.pdf

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