MLF Header Image SPEAKERS - Speakers

Minehead Literary Festival - postponed from April 2020

Fact is the New Fiction –

Writing in a post truth world


MLF Margaret Drabble Portrait oj4n1d3tw9qs5z4l54z0aqi0ejwjimpn86054dkejk - Speakers

Margaret Drabble

Telling Stories and Telling Lies: A post-fiction world

Margaret Drabble talks about storytelling, telling stories, and the shifting boundaries of fact and fiction

Margaret Drabble DBE, novelist and critic, was born in Sheffield in 1939 and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. After a brief and inglorious career as an actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she published her first novel A Summer Bird-Cage in 1963. This was followed by eighteen others, including The Millstone (1965), The Pure Gold Baby (2013) and The Dark Flood Rises (2016). Her short stories A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, containing some set in West Somerset, were published in 2011. She edited the Oxford Companion to English Literature (1985) and wrote biographies of Arnold Bennett 1974) and Angus Wilson (1995). She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd.

MLF Sam Angus Portrait oj4n1s58xmbdbqiqpbh1empdwpuexsdcm8fwssy3s0 - Speakers

Sam Angus

Historical Events as Inspiration

Sam Angus talks about the use of real historical events as the starting point for her writing and how a historical setting affects the way she writes the story

,Sam Angus was born in Italy, grew up in France and Spain but settled in the UK after reading English at Trinity College, Cambridge. She went on to teach English and to study fashion at Central St Martins and remained in the fashion industry for a decade before writing her first book Soldier Dog in 2012. She is published by Macmillan and her other stories for young people include A Horse Called Hero, Captain, The House on Humming Bird Island and School for Skylarks. She has won several prizes, among which are the Redbridge, the John Reckitt Award, the Lennox Author Award, the Calderdale Book Award and the Young Quills, and has been shortlisted twice for the Carnegie. Her first book Soldier Dog will be released as a movie this year, and she is currently working on a script for a new movie project.

Sam lives between London and North Devon with improvident numbers of dogs, horses and children.

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Hazel Prior

Harps and Penguins

With harp accompaniment, Hazel talks about the inspirations behind her two books Ellie and the Harp Maker, which is set on Exmoor, and Away with the Penguins, due to be published in March

Hazel’s debut novel Ellie and the Harp Maker is set on Exmoor and is about two quirky characters and the events set in motion when they meet. It involves a dream, a pheasant, a secret and a life-changing discovery. Her second novel Away with the Penguins tells the story of Veronica McCreedy, a feisty eighty-six-year-old who travels to Antarctica on a mission to save penguins… and things don’t quite turn out as she’d expected.

Hazel is a freelance harpist and author. Besides her two novels, she has also had short stories published in literary magazines and won nine prizes in national writing competitions. Her writing is inspired by the countryside, music and the quirkiness of human nature. She lives on Exmoor with her husband and a huge ginger cat.

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Kipper Williams

Talking Cartoons

A childhood spent drawing footballers and caricaturing teachers eventually led to a career facing the daily challenge of creating visual jokes about politicians, pop stars, the royal family and pheasants. Kipper Williams will be spilling the beans (and the ink) about the life of a cartoonist, as well as doing some live drawing and showing examples of his work

Kipper Williams has drawn cartoons for publications including The Spectator, Private Eye, The Oldie, The Critic, Broadcast and The Sunday Time books section. He has contributed to books including The Penguin Book of Brexit Cartoons and Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. A collection of his cartoons All In Tents and Porpoises was published in 2016. Kipper was Official Cartoonist at the 2014 Port Eliot Festival and the 2016 Cornwall Folk Festival.

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David Parker

Laurie Lee – Down in the Valley – The Lost Recordings
An Illustrated talk

Reflections on love, landscape, writing, poetry, childhood, music and much more from the voice of one of the great English writers of the last century

In 1994, the year of his 80th birthday, Laurie Lee shared his memories of an ‘eventful’ early life in a series of interviews with the film maker David Parker. It was quite a coup, Laurie did not ‘do’ television! In the recordings he talked with sublime eloquence about his life in the Slad Valley, and the influence of the landscapes and memories of his childhood on his subsequent writing. David introduces the recordings and, using extracts from them, reveals what they tell us about one of England’s finest chroniclers of our times.

David Parker is an award-winning television programme maker whose credits include, Laurie Lee’s Gloucestershire – A Writer’s Landscape for ITV and Channel 4; Mud, Sweat and Tractors, Shooting the WarThe Golden Age of Steam and The Golden Age of Canals for the BBC; and Flying Scotsman with Robson Green for ITV. He produced Johnny Kingdom’s programmes about Exmoor for the BBC and is author of Johnny Kingdom’s Wild Exmoor (Halsgrove 2016) and Down in the Valley – A Writer’s Landscape (editor) Penguin 2019.

MLF Lionel Ward Portrait - Speakers

Lionel Ward

Brendon Books 30 years on

Lionel Ward recounts his experiences as a bookseller of more than 30 years at Brendon Books in Taunton

Lionel Ward studied history at Lancaster University and worked for a number of years in London before moving to Taunton in 1989 to set up Brendon Books with his wife Jo. He has also written and published Taunton: an A-Z and the first volume of a series of books on a bookshop detective The Shakespeare Thief, as well as publishing and editing a local quarterly arts magazine The LAMP.  Lionel organises the Taunton Literary Festival which is now in its tenth year. 

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