Spotlight on Charles Fuge: Illustrating for Children • BridLit Kids

Charles Fuge has illustrated nearly fifty picture books! He started his journey at Camberwell School of Art, and won the Macmillan Prize and the Mother Goose Award for his illustrations in 1988. Since then, he has produced beautiful and well-loved books such as “Sometimes I like to Curl Up in a Ball“, and “I Know a Rhino“. He is a nature lover, splitting free time between growing organic food and chairing a local recycling charity, and themes of wildlife are often seen in his art.

Juggling delightful creatures and their colourful adventures, Charles’ illustrations are a treat. Reviewed as “adorable”, “funny”, and cited by J F Bailey as having “directly strengthened our family relationships” due to the discussions they prompt, these illustrations prove that pictures can be just as expressive as words. Favouring mischievous animals, Charles is an expert at bringing characters to life on paper.

You can catch him at the BridLit Kids event on Saturday the 12th of November during the workshop for children of age 8 and up! There he will join several other fantastic guests in sharing his tips, knowledge, and experience and he will be guiding participants in creating their own illustrations.

Limited spaces remaining! A day that promises to be wonderfully fun.

Saturday 12th November / Event 22
Time: 12pm-1pm
Tickets: £5 (pencil and sketchbook included)
Location: The Lyric Theatre

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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The BridLit Explorer • Chapter 2: Libreria

Welcome back, readers! The BridLit Explorer brings you a second chapter. This instalment is set in London, so reach for your Oyster cards…

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London’s Brick Lane has long been known as a place for mavericks. In the average mainstream bookshop there are often a select few authors you expect to be confronted with on arrival. Aphra Behn isn’t one of them. I am greeted by a book of hers at eye level as I step through the threshold of Libreria, which leaves me impressed and sorely wishing that I had known about this shop while at university. By exercising scrutiny I find that the neighbouring novels are of no alphabetical relevance to Behn, and from this I know I can believe the chatter that led me here. Somebody tipped me off about a new bookshop in Shoreditch, known strikingly for organising its books by interest.

No alphabet, no chronological ordering, and no displays prepped for flashes in pans. Instead, the keepers of this shop have perfectly strung rings of shelves together with genre, theme and topic alone. Searching like this, one could theoretically find George Orwell’s Animal Farm next to a book detailing proper care for your goats. As a reader, this is the kind of assistance in exploration I have longed for.

After asking Belinda Zhawi, a writer who works at the desk of the shop, I learn that the flow of genre starts transitioning horizontally, in the manner that one reads text on a page. She tells me that the lay of the shop (from the undulating stacks to the mirror wall at the back) is “like Borges’ Library of Babel, infinite.” Everything here works at subverting the rigidity of standard bookshops, right down to how customers choose their reading material.

It feels refreshing and doubtlessly well calculated. If you are near, or need to travel like myself, it is worth stopping by Libreria. You will not leave empty handed.

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Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited – Philip Eade’s Revealing Biography

Described as ‘the greatest novelist of my generation’ by Graham Greene but thought to have been possessed by the devil by the likes of Hilaire Belloc, early twentieth-century author Evelyn Waugh can perhaps only be agreeably called unforgettable.

Having tasked himself with the biography of someone so controversial and complicated, Philip Eade presents Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited. Philip has researched and chronicled story after story, secret after secret. By accessing Waugh family archives and unearthing primary sources, he offers a new perspective of someone known by history as notoriously undefinable. The Financial Times writes that ‘Eade shows just how hard-won his effortless brilliance really was’, and The Wall Street Journal commends the book with the promise that ‘Mr Eade does not fail to entertain’. Dancing between the characters on and off paper that were instrumental to Waugh’s life, Philip leaves no stone unturned in his quest to straighten out the cacophony of rumours that surround such an impressive figure.

Truly fascinating, do not miss out on this intricate, admiring exposé.

Thursday 10th November
Time: 11.00 am
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bull Hotel

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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Pot Luck: Flash Interview with Nick Fisher

Depravity, desperation – and crab fishing. Pot Luck is a Rime of the Modern Mariner, and Nick Fisher holds nothing back in his crime novel about the underbelly of Weymouth’s fishing scene. Preceding his highly-popular event, I caught him for the delectation of you readers.

Opening up about his writing process, Nick answers five questions…

I: I know that your writing accolades so far have been earned through scriptwriting. How has writing this novel differed from writing for television?

NF: It’s really a sort of antidote to scriptwriting; there’s a huge machine of people employed around you, and so many real factors that have to be addressed in the script. Writing feels like only 20% of the actual task. Writing a book is different – no one sitting over you, no deadline, no budget, no policies – you can enjoy yourself. The most joyful thing for me was no planning. I would think “what do I write now? I wonder what’s going to happen now.”

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I: Many of your characters are “untrustworthy”. What attracts you to turbulence? Do you believe that it is necessary in a story?

NF: You look for the colour in a character, and colour is often deviousness. Contradictions and surprises are really what dramatic literature is about. Even [Pot Luck’s character] Helen, she was golden in my eyes. She was honey – I couldn’t work with it. It’s about being flawed. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people, just look at where Donald Trump is right now! I think turbulence has to drive things.

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I: This brother dynamic between the main characters, Adrian and Matty, is entirely fraught. Do you know it personally?Where did you draw from to portray this?

NF: Oh, I always wanted a brother. I’m surrounded by bad realities of it, however. My neighbour hasn’t spoken to his brother for decades. The differences I see in my three sons, magnified, could be an Adrian and Matty relationship. Older and younger sibling relationships I can really see. The younger one is fun and negligent, and the older one is responsible and less amused. Closeness of two people with a shared history, I think, is a very good purchase point for a story.

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I: Do you subscribe to the idea that you must love all of your own characters?

NF: That’s an interesting question… No, I think, not at all. You just have to manage them. You must be interested in them; some get under your skin and others just don’t connect. I’ve written for characters I can’t remember, or have even hated.

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I: I have seen Pot Luck reviewed as “the Fargo of Dorset”, and I was wondering if this was intentional. Who has inspired you creatively and is this what you set out to do?

NF: George V. Higgins and Carl Hiaasen for a start. Those sort of fleet-of-foot American books did it for me. I had an idea, an event that would be the start of the story. I thought about doing it as a screenplay, but I had never tried to write a book before, why not take that path? So it was an experiment, very much so. If you transferred it to New England this plot would seem so normal, but as it’s something new to me, it grew itself, and this seemed natural. I didn’t anticipate it growing into what it is.

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Thank you Nick Fisher, there’s food for thought. Seafood, perhaps.

 

BridLit Kids: Events for young Bookworms!

Do you know a flourishing illustrator? A storyteller-in-training? Somebody creative who is entranced by wild tales?

BridLit Kids is back after last year’s success, and it is aiming for bigger and better. On Saturday the 12th of November, we’re taking over The Lyric Theatre for the day and hope to provide something special for everyone, with three fantastic events for children.

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At Event 22a (10am – 11am) Prepare for the astonishing duo of Storyteller Martin Maudsley and Musician Declan Duffy to delight our youngest audience with tales of mysterious creatures to ignite the imagination. Guaranteed to entertain all who enter, and suitable for ages 3 and up.
Tickets: Children £3/ Adults Free!

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At Event 22b (12pm – 1pm) Charles Fuge will take over and help to bring some of those stories to life with an illustration workshop for slightly older children. Courtesy of Bridport Arts and Crafts, children will get a notepad and pencil to take away, and guided by Charlie’s skilled hand, will produce some amazing illustrations of their own. A great opportunity to learn from a successful and working local illustrator, suited to ages 8 and up.
Tickets: Children £5 (sketchbook and pencil included)

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At Event 22c (2pm – 3pm) We will welcome Angie Sage, hugely popular author of the Septimus Heap series, who will talk about her latest addition to the series, Todhunter Moon, and answer and questions from the floor. We’re so lucky to have such a wonderful writer come to Bridport and introduce her work. Get reading and come prepared to find out how Angie’s ‘magykal’ ideas make their way on to the page! Best suited to ages 8 and up.
Tickets: Children £3/ Adults Free!

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Be sure not to miss out, it will be a day to let your imaginations loose! Tickets are selling fast.

Saturday 12th November / Event 22
Location: The Lyric Theatre

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

The BridLit Explorer • Chapter 1: Beerwolf Books

Welcome to a new bi-weekly article! As the blog director and freshly termed Bridlit Explorer, I will be featuring a selection of the country’s finest, most peculiar book shops. Without further ado, enjoy the first instalment…

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A steep street winds back from between two high street shops in the heart of Falmouth, Cornwall. At the end of this tiny, hidden hill, is Beerwolf Books, appearing much like J.K. Rowling’s Room of Requirement; unexpectedly large and quite astounding to imagine that you could have missed it before. ‘Beerwolf‘ is what the locals and students nickname it, and it does (as the name suggests) combine a desire for a softly-lit, bring-your-own-food bar, and the insatiable hunger for a good book to disappear with into the folds of an armchair.

The bar itself is rustic and bizarre. In keeping with the rest of the eclectically-unified interior design, one may see fairy lights, modified dolls hanging from exposed beams and vintage posters of cult-favourite books peppered across the walls. There is an arrangement of well-worn cushions, squeaky barstools and a ping pong table for the entertainment of patrons. All of this, however, is eclipsed by the crown’s main jewel.

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Poised cooly atop the imposing staircase that seems plucked from the architecture of a Jane Austen novel, the bookshop sits. Book-alcove, possibly. As I stroll between the shelves, I can’t help but be surprised at the brazen lack of bestsellers upon the stacks. No featured novel from a popular author, no highly anticipated sequel to a successful franchise, no corporation-sponsored display. Beerwolf steers clear.

When I ask, the barkeep tells me that the owner is a woman with discerning taste who “actively tries to avoid bestsellers”, and that this year marks Beerwolf’s fourth. Situated close to two universities, it is a clear favourite among bookish students and professors alike, and more discover it each year. The attitude of the management must be something that resonates with these people. Perhaps the appeal lies in an appreciation of things that take effort to know and to understand, or perhaps it’s simply the uncomplicated fun of anachronism; the ‘no cards accepted’, creakily floorboarded, an are-we-in-a-tavern atmosphere. Regardless, it remains a well loved destination for those that know the route.

Beerwolf Books is a hidden treasure. Go find it, wayfarers.

 

Mr. Gandy’s Grand Tour, Alan Titchmarsh’s Voyage of Rediscovery

One fractured family, one surprise redundancy, one big leap, and one huge world just waiting to be seen. Alan Titchmarsh‘s novel, Mr. Gandy’s Grand Tour, is a touching story of a one-man mission to finally connect with his home planet, and delve into the wild, whimsical and joyous experiences that all corners of it offer.

Presenter of Gardener’s World and Ground Force, all-round national treasure Alan Titchmarsh brings forth a novel of personal and global exploration. His protagonist, Timothy Gandy, feels stumped. His role in life appears stagnant, useless, and there seems to be something just out of reach. After tragedy strikes, he finds the motivation to change his fate; to no longer resign himself to an uninspiring, uneventful existence. Perfect for the globetrotting reader and for those who dream about our own peregrinations, Alan offer’s Mr. Gandy’s adventure to sate our thirst. Stumbling across J Addison’s account of his own Grand Tour in the early 18th century, Mr. Gandy sets off with a renewed sense of purpose. Leaving a family’s worth of mixed opinions, his doldrum life, and embracing the world with open arms, it’s a story not about the destination, but about the journey. This is an enchanting and empowering novel.

Miss his talk at your own peril, it’s set to be a fantastic journey.

Wednesday 9th November / Event 15
Time: 6.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Electric Palace

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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The Crime Thrillers – Dark Tales from Sophie Hannah and Janet Ellis

Agatha Christie once said that “very few of us are what we seem“. Sophie Hannah and Janet Ellis are two writers that know this well, and we welcome them together to the festival lineup this year.

Bestselling author of 10 books, Sophie Hannah presents two novels. The Narrow Bed revolves around a string of murders; best friends are killed with only a series of little books containing cryptic poetry to link them all. Sophie’s protagonist Kim has one of these books, yet no best friend. Running out of time and answers, she must discover why she has been singled out in a journey that The Independent thinks treads “the delicate line between the ordinary and the monstrous”. Secondly, and with the blessing of the Agatha Christie Estate, Sophie contributes an instalment of Hercule Poirot’s adventures. Termed “delicious” by The Financial Times, Closed Casket sees the famous detective struggle to understand the motive behind a murder victim’s apparent desire to provoke the crime.

Joining these books is the debut novel from multi-accomplished Janet Ellis. Praised by bestseller Hannah Kent for being “strange, dark, and utterly mesmeric”, The Butcher’s Hook is a compelling historic thriller set in Georgian London. Taken advantage of by her mentor, Janet’s protagonist Anne is brought face to face with her powerless reality. She is comforted by the presence of butcher’s apprentice, Fub, and when she resolves to pursue him despite her parent’s wishes, Anne must prepare for the consequences. Dealing with the obsessive, destructive and ensnaring nature of love and envy, this novel climaxes in an enthralling denouement. Neither of these authors are to be missed and luckily they are set to speak together – so you needn’t fear.

Catch them while you can, tickets are still available for a limited time. Be prepared for an utter treat.

Wednesday 9th November / Event 14
Time: 2.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bull Hotel

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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White Mountain, Robert Twigger’s Journey Through Himalayan History

Hotbed of myths, setting of wars and kindler of expeditions, the Himalayas have always loomed large over humans. Regarded with reverence by Sherpas and wonderment by travellers, it is undeniable that there is something quite astonishing about Asia’s greatest mountain range.

Robert Twigger embarked on a quest to get to the heart of their fantastic history. Seeking out the Nagas who had once helped his grandfather build a camp for Allied soldiers at the time of the Second World War, Robert began a journey that would lead him through surprising discoveries and moments of awe. He has been praised as “our greatest travel writer” by Anthony McGowan and a “daredevil with brains” by The Daily Telegraph; not a storyteller to miss. Robert’s biographical memoir of his time adventuring in the Himalayas, White Mountain, is strange, wonderful and extraordinary. It is set to enthral any curious person who knows the pull of wanderlust.

There are limited tickets left to this fabulous talk illustrated with sublime photographs, so book quickly!

Monday 7th November / Event 7
Time: 6.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bull Hotel

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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Cousins, a Story of Family Matters by Salley Vickers

Spanning the time between the outbreak of World War Two and the present day, the boundaries between reason and instinct, and the perspectives of three different narrators, this novel is an adventure. From Bestselling author of Miss Garnet’s Angel, Salley Vickers’ new book, Cousins, is a thoughtful account of the shifting senses of love and duty; one that explores the nature of both tragedy and transgression.

Born in Liverpool to parents who she terms “ardent activists”, Salley has been a cleaner, a runaway, a psychoanalyst, a dancer, an artist’s model and an alumni of Newnham College Cambridge. As an author, Salley’s work deeply considers and reflects life and its intricacies, knowing the confusion at the crux of human beings. Appraised by Michael Dirda of The Washington Post, “Vickers is a novelist in the great English tradition of moral seriousness. Her characters suffer, they struggle to be true to both themselves and the promptings of the human heart.”

Cousins begs the question; how much can love ask of us?

See Salley in conversation with Boris Starling while tickets are still available.

Sunday 6th November / Event 4
Time: 6.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bull Hotel

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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