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A host of celebrity writers will be appearing at the Frome Festival this year, in what the organisers describe as our “best ever literature line-up.”
As part of the festival’s “Overture” period, the controversial feminist icon Germaine Greer, author of “The Female Eunuch”, visits the Cheese and Grain on Sunday 25th June. Gyles Brandreth, author, broadcaster, and politician, will appear on opening night (Friday 7th July) in “Blah-Blah-Land”, an evening of hilarious memoirs. Another politician to have made her mark in writing, broadcasting, and not to mention “Strictly Come Dancing!” is Ann Widdecombe, who presents “An Act of Writing” at St. John’s Church on Saturday 15th July.
Historian and broadcaster David Starkey, presenter of the hugely-lauded TV series “Monarchy” will bring an insight to his new book “Henry VIII, Tudors, Tyrants and Today” to the Merlin Theatre on Monday 10th July.
Two distinguished actors will be entertaining audiences this year, having established a reputation in writing. James Hayes, who has performed with many of the all-time greats, Olivier, Hopkins, McKellen, Maggie Smith and more, threatens to pack out the Hunting Raven bookshop on Tuesday11th July with his memoirs “Shouting in the Evenings”; whilst Dudley Sutton, a familiar face on TV and film – (and the Frome Festival!) returns to present “Old Enough to Know Better” a collection of verse, prose and songs, appearing at the beautifully re-furbished Granary Club at the George Hotel.
The Festival will be running a number of events to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen including a flash fiction competition run by the Frome Writers’ Collective, in which participants write a monologue in the voice of an Austen character. The Words at Frome Festival organiser Brenda Bannister and her team are also organising the second annual Small Publishers’ Fair at the Silk Mill on Saturday 8th July; the prize-giving of the Short Story Competition; a talk by novelist Maria McCann, and more. Perennial favourites The Festival Poetry Café and the Hip Yak Poetry Slam will run on the 10th and 13th of July respectively, at the Garden Café and Archangel.
Actor and founding director of the Frome Festival, Martin Bax, returns to the stage at Rook Lane on Sunday 9th July to present a celebration of “The Life and Work of Edward Thomas” commemorating the poet who had many connections with Frome and the surrounding area.
Thomas died in 1917 on the Western Front. Martin will be joined by a stellar cast including actor James Laurenson, Thomas’s biographer Matthew Hollis, and the brilliant Stephanie Cole, famous as much for her stage acting as her notable TV roles in “Waiting for God” and “Coronation Street.” Other events on Edward Thomas will follow throughout the week organised by Martin Bax and Frome writer John Payne.
The festival will wind up with the annual Book Quiz on Sunday 16th July at the Corner House, hosted by book aficionado and former Frome MP, David Heath. Martin Dimery, creative director of the Frome Festival declared this year’s literary events as “Comparable with some of the best line-ups in specialist literature festivals in the UK – and it’s only part of our programme.
“This has been achieved by many local individuals and organisations having great ideas and being prepared to do the work required to see these events happen.”