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Words by the Water 6-15 March


Theatre By The Lake
6-15 MARCH

Words by the Water festival arrives in Keswick, Cumbria with a host of acclaimed authors.

Celebrated crime writer Val McDermid shares her skills as a storyteller discussing her work and in particular the much-anticipated thriller  ‘How the Dead Speak’.  Jenny Éclair joins us to explore with wit and humour, her latest novel Inheritance.

Political discussion is provided by Polly Toynbee and David Walker as they unpick the unprecedented political events that saw out the last decade. Whilst former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Ruth Donaldson reflects on her journey through the contemporary political landscape.

Detective Maggie Oliver details her One-Woman’s Campaign to Fight for Justice and reflects on the sacrifices she made to expose child grooming and sex trafficking.

The Profumo Affair is examined by Douglas Thompson as he reveals revelations that Christine Keeler did not want publishing in her lifetime. 

David Owen will be making sense of Donald Trump, Gavin Esler will be making sense of Brexit and Deborah Moggach who will be making sense of 'Growing Old'. 

Guardian sketch writer John Crace will also be on hand to take a sideways look at the whole state of play in the country we live in.

Festival President Melvyn Bragg reflects on the research for his next book, a personal memoir of Wigton, the town of his youth. Joan Bakewell joins Sarah Hosking in conversation about a unique set of short stories that focus on the disappearing culture of traditional village life.
The Studio space at the Theatre by the Lake offers an eclectic range of events with talks organized into theme days including Writing LivesCreativity and ImaginationHistories and Global Issues. From Quantum Mechanics to the woman who gave birth to rabbits. A day in the Studio will provide unexpected literary adventures. 

Nick Bilborough from the Hands Up Charity provides a live-link up with Palestinian children as they perform their own short theatrical works and take questions directly from the audience. 

The ever-popular Bookcase Day celebrates Cumbria, its history, culture and literature. A range of intriguing talks including Steve Matthews examining the life of the founder of the National Trust a most indefatigable man Canon Rawnsley. Sue Allan discusses The Cumberland Bard Robert Anderson. Michael Mullet meanwhile continues his fascinating delve into local history with a delve into Penrith in the 19th Century.

On the main stage, Keswick resident and author Kerry Irving charts the remarkable story of truly life-changing events and companionship with Max the Miracle Dog
Other speakers at the festival include A L Kennedy, Angus Winchester, Salley Vickers, Ben Okri, Kapka Kassabova, Dorian Lynskey, Dan Farnworth, Simon Heffer, Nicholas Crane, Paul Mason, Alister McGrath, Claudia Hammond, Julie Summers, Anthony Seldon, Julia Neuberger and many more.
This year Words by the Water and the National Trust at Wordsworth house have teamed up to launch the Wordsworth @250 Young People’s Poetry Competition, a free to enter poetry award. Judged by nationally celebrated poets Helen Mort and Rowan McCabe, the competition has two categories - 12 years and under & 13-18-year-olds. The subject can be anything to do with our natural world and there will be an award ceremony event at the festival.

For more information, budding wordsmiths should contact:

Tickets for the festival are available for Friends of the Theatre by the Lake and Words by Water on Monday 27 January.
General Booking begins on Monday 3 February.
Tickets are priced at £11. Day tickets & All-Festival Passes are also available to purchase.
For further information, images of speakers, press tickets and interview requests please contact Festival Producer, Phil John at the Words by the Water office


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