Skip to main page content

Festival Events

Our Book Group Event

The Festival’s Book Group event is always a favourite, so it was no surprise that the 2023 event – Donal Ryan discussing his wonderful novel the queen of dirt island – was one of the early sell-outs.

The formula for this popular event is that of book groups up and down the country – namely a group discussion of a chosen book. In Wells we have extended the appeal – to include the author! It is a rare treat for readers to enjoy this privilege, so we are careful to ensure that the whole event ‘belongs’ to the audience.

Book Cover

This year we have invited Cecile Pin to share her debut novel, a heart-wrenching story about a family from Vietnam who are desperate to build a new life for themselves. Wandering Souls was shortlisted as a Waterstones debut novel in 2023 and was described by the Financial Times as ‘an enormously evocative portrayal of dispossession.’

Although created with book groups in mind, this event can be enjoyed by everyone. But we do recommend that you read the featured book in advance. If you belong to a book group, please make sure we have the details so that we can contact you.

We are very grateful to Waterstones Wells and Bailey Hill Book Shop Castle Cary who traditionally offer a 10% discount to customers who buy the Book Group Event featured book before attending the Wells Festival of Literature.

Literary Lunches

Our Lunches have been an integral ingredient of the Festival since the beginning, offering audiences the chance to meet the speaker in an informal and enjoyable way. After a delicious light lunch in the Cedars Dining Hall the speaker makes a point of moving around and talking to everyone. Equally important – the lunch itself makes a perfect appetizer for the talk ahead: a delicious bowl of home-made soup accompanied by freshly baked artisan bread and followed by a yummy dessert. Irresistible!

Doors open at midday with lunch beginning at 12.30pm giving you time to chat before tucking in. But please don’t be late for lunch! The event, which is just a short stroll from the Dining Hall, starts at 2.00pm.

Our Lunchtime speakers offer variety and choice. This year we will welcome Petroc Trelawny who will chat to Christopher Somerville about his beloved homeland Trelawny’s Cornwall.

Jonathan Dimbleby will be talking to William Waldegrave about how it was actually Stalin who ‘won’ the war; and William joins us again (those lunches are really very good!) to discuss with Geoffrey Wheatcroft the demise of the Tory party.

There’s plenty to get your teeth into, but please don’t leave it too late. Lunch tickets need to be booked by Tuesday 15 October.

‘I had an absolutely wonderful time at the Wells Festival of Literature. The beautiful scenery, warm welcome, and a truly enthusiastic crowd so passionate about all of the amazing authors and diverse talks really makes this festival one of a kind. I highly recommend it.’

Sander Van Der Linden

Wells Literary Quiz
Bigger, Better, and Back

Last year’s sell-out Literary Quiz moves to a bigger venue in 2024. We are delighted to welcome professional Quizmaster Gary Wigglesworth back to Wells, this year to The Swan Hotel. Successful author of The Book Lover’s Quiz Books, Gary has once again created a quiz especially for Wells and we eagerly anticipate his ‘delightfully twisty questions’ crafted with the aim of uncovering ‘who is greatest of the great book nerds …’

There will be a pay bar during the evening, and sandwiches and snacks will be included in the price of the ticket. Teams of six are preferred and there will be prizes for the winning team.

Quiz logo 2024