Last year’s inaugural Warwick Words History Festival went down a storm, with many events sold out. Now organiser Helen Meeke is aiming to repeat that success with a rich and varied programme totalling 40 events over 10 days, plus a few extras before and after.
The festival, from October 1 to 10, encompasses talks from guest writers, a Regency-style afternoon tea with dancing and music, walks in Warwick and Leamington Spa, a debate, a History Society Fair, a Bookstart Party for under-fives, an evening of song, a canal excursion, and a history pub quiz.
Helen says: “Last year’s festival was extremely well received - we had a fantastic response not only from our audiences but also from many local organisations, public and commercial.
“We listen to our audience, and have worked with publishers, local historians and writers to develop a packed programme for this year, with the aim of making history accessible to all.”
This year’s guest writers include: best-selling novelist Sarah Dunant, talking about her latest Renaissance novel; author and broadcaster Lucinda Hawksley, uncovering awful Victorian aspects of arsenic; historian and tv presenter Dan Jones telling the story of the Knights Templar; author Alexander Mccall Smith discussing his new collection of short stories; and biographer and novelist A N Wilson sharing his knowledge of naturalist Charles Darwin.
Looking ahead, Helen adds: Warwickshire is bursting with history so we are hoping to include more towns and villages in future festivals.”
If you can’t wait until October there’s an early taster in the form of a pre-festival event on Wednesday, August 16, when best-selling author Philippa Gregory will talk about the last novel in her Tudor series, The Lost Tudor, then the event proper gets under way with a History Festival Service at St Mary’s Church on Sunday, October 1, at 11am.
And while Leamington Literary Society has the honour of hosting the final Warwick Words talk (George Eliot & Warwickshire, on October 10), those pining for more literature can enjoy three autumn Tea Time Talks on October 28, and November 4 and 25.