The Music Shop: Rachel Joyce’s Story of Harmonies and Second Chances

Rachel Joyce, the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, spins a new story of community, tenderness, and spirit in her fourth novel; The Music Shop.

With a cast of characters as recognisable as they are truthfully complicated, The Music Shop plays a tune of hope in the face of change, and of companionship in the face of isolation. Frank, the music shop owner, has a gift for selecting music that will soothe, encourage, comfort or cheer his clients when they need it the most; and when Ilse in her pea-green coat faints in front of his shop one day, their lives are drawn together.

As the idiosyncratic members of the community band together to protect their haven from encroaching property developers, Frank and Ilse find that they need to save themselves too, and face change and transformation on their own terms. Warmed with musical wisdom, and made brilliant by intricate human connection, The Music Shop is a tangible experience; making the everyday extraordinary. Or… simply demonstrating that it already is.

Rachel Joyce will be discussing her sparkling novel at this year’s festival. Treat yourself to something truly special that has the whole country singing along, while tickets are still available.

 

Thursday 9th November / Event 23
4.30 PM
£10
The Bull Hotel – Ballroom

Facebook Event Page and Online Ticket Portal

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

Windblown – A Dark and Stormy Memoir by Tamsin Treverton Jones

Thirty years ago the British Isles were struck without warning by a storm the likes of which were last documented in 1703 by Daniel Defoe. Trees were rent from the earth, buildings crumbled, and eighteen lives were lost in this gale that took the country by surprise. It ravaged all in its path in a way not seen since war held the landscape – and, Thirty years on, Tamsin Treverton Jones invokes the memory of this monumental night in 1987.

After discovering an old photograph of a sculpture her father designed, made from the patchwork of fallen trees from Kew Gardens, Tamsin set about creating a lyrical memoir to the landscape created by destruction and the stories left windswept in its wake. Windblown weaves Tamsin’s own memories of fishermen, refugees, sculptors and lighthouse keepers with the past, present, and future of the storm and its legacy.

The land has forever changed, but could it be for the better? A beautiful and exhilarating example of Nature Writing, Tamsin’s Windblown is set to release this year, and you can find her at an enchanting illustrated talk in conversation with James Crowden.

To explore the soul of the land we live on and what it means to survive both in hardship and memory, book tickets while they are still available.

 

Friday 10th November / Event 27
2.30 PM
£10
The Town Hall

Facebook Event Page and Online Ticket Portal

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

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

eade

 

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.”

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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

 

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

alan titchmarsh

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

crime-thrillers

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

robert-twigger

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

salley-vickers

Shakespeare in Swahililand – Edward Wilson Lee’s Lingual Exploration

It is undeniable that the “ever-living” poet has (perhaps mistakenly) a Eurocentric reputation. With his works based in settings such as Greece, Italy, Scotland, and France, should it seem surprising to imagine Hamlet’s troubles set a world away from Denmark? Or to imagine Romeo and Juliet torn apart by politics that aren’t Italian? When the work of the Bard was found far-removed from its home hemisphere, Edward Wilson Lee began his quest of discovery.

Returning to East Africa where he grew up, Edward set about recovering the historical reasons and motives for the global sharing of Shakespeare’s works, as well as their profound effects out of context. Called “vivid and full of insights” by The Independent, this book seeks to find out why the work of one man may be so globally adored and admired. An in-depth examination of the politics of “colonization and decolonization” as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o puts it, Shakespeare in Swahililand investigates the presence and popularity of Shakespeare’s words, and their ability to travel from his pen in London to the tongues of travelling Indian troupes in Mombasa.

Edward’s sumptuous illustrated talk is not one to miss for any lover of Shakespeare.

Monday 7th November / Event 6
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

wilson lee

Being a Beast, Charles Foster’s Foraging Foray

What is the quintessential difference between humans from their co-inhabiters of Earth? Is the line between man and animal one so easily drawn? And could a man, with enough conviction, turn himself into a beast?

Charles Foster‘s book, Being a Beast, wonders too. Called “wild and whimsical” by The Times, and “funny and profound” by The Guardian, this book is a unique find. Dedicating himself to the task of understanding the private lives of beasts, Charles lived (and ate) as a badger for weeks, hid in rivers like an otter, and lay waste to the content of London bins like an urban fox. An Oxford Fellow, Charles specialises in anthropology, evolutionary biology, philosophy and natural history. The result of his wild adventure and wilder curiosity is this memoir, filled to the brim with outrageous anecdotes coupled with species study and neuro-scientific explorations. This is an intimate study of the all things bright and beautiful and the human animal. Really beastly business.

Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Common Ground, the West Dorset based environmental arts charity.

Book tickets to see Charles Foster in conversation with James Crowden, prepare for something special.

Saturday 12th November / Event 24
Time: 2.30 pm
Tickets: £12
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

charlesfosteranimals