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Our Book Group Event

The Festival’s Book Group event has always proved immensely popular, providing as it does the rare opportunity to discuss the chosen book with the author him/herself. Although created with book clubs in mind, this event is open to all. We do however recommend that you read the featured book in advance so that you can gain the very most from the discussion. If you belong to a book club, please make sure we have the details so that we can contact you.

The 2021 Book Group Event, which featured Lucy Atkins discussing her runaway success Magpie Lane, was very well attended, and inspired some fascinating conversations on questions from the audience in the auditorium as well as from book club readers watching from home.

Magpie Lane is a riveting tale that became a best-selling thriller during the dark days of lockdown. What on earth has happened to the tragically disturbed eight-year-old Felicity who disappeared in Oxford at the dead of night? Felicity’s fate was the subject of much debate during the event giving readers a rare chance to discover from the author herself why the ending, despite being controversial, was inevitable. No other conclusion, assured Lucy, would have been possible.

Literary Lunches

These very special events were much missed in 2020 but we were delighted to welcome back our Literary Lunches in 2021.  Somerset author Lucy Jago, Professor of English Literature John Mullan and Dr Lucy Pollock, an expert on the complexities of getting older, were our lunchtime guests on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this year.

Each speaker joined audience members for lunch in the Dining Hall of Cedars House before their respective talks, which began at 2pm.  Lunches consisted of delicious homemade soup served with artisan bread, followed by a tasty dessert. This year all three speakers circulated among the tables, chatting to guests, before accompanying them across the lawn to the auditorium for the talk itself.

As always, it was also possible to purchase ‘talk only’ tickets and all three speakers attracted a large number of fans at the event itself as well as at the lunch.

Walk and Cream Tea

New for 2021 was the introduction of the ‘Sauntering’ event which involved a walking tour with author Duncan Minshull, followed by a very welcome cream tea in Cedars House Dining Hall.

Duncan led an exclusive band of walkers around Wells introducing them to the delights of the ‘ambulatory art’ as seen through the eyes of a range of well-known literary figures across the years who have meandered and marched, sauntered and strolled, in town and country, along coastline and riverbank, in rain and shine. For the Wells walkers of 2021 it was unremitting rain, but they were not deterred; a similar event has been requested for 2022! Watch this space…