Milo gets the 17th Century Experience at Marlborough Literature Festival

30 Sep

We sent our eight-year-old Chronicler to the Merchant’s House in Marlborough, to find out more about life in the 1600s. 

Continue reading

Award winners Matt Greene and Mave Fellowes at Marlborough Literature Festival

29 Sep

I don’t know how anyone else chooses literature festival events to attend but I go to find out new authors, not necessarily to sit there starry-eyed over writers I already like.

Mave Fellows and Matt Greene are two new writers who’ve had the heady experience of winning a literary award.

Being eighty per cent through my own novel (it’s taken me about three years to get there), I was also interested in their experience of being a novice author. Continue reading

The upside of corruption: Renaissance writer Sarah Dunant at Marlborough Literature Festival

29 Sep
Sarah Dunant at Marlborough Literature Festival 2014

Sarah Dunant

All the events I’ve been to at Marlborough Literature Festival this year have sparkled, and yesterday Sarah Dunant, Renaissance fiction writer, was no exception.

With enthusiastic continental-style gesticulating, Sarah imbued her talk with as many interesting metaphors as in her books.

And to give AC Grayling from Saturday a run for his money, she did it all without a seeming reference to any notes.

Sarah’s foray into Renaissance fiction came after a midlife crisis in Florence. “If you are going to have a psychological breakdown,” she said, “do it in a good city.” Continue reading

What happened to the cat? Lynne Truss at the Marlborough Festival of Literature

28 Sep
Lynne Truss at Marlborough Literature Festival

Lynne Truss at Marlborough Literature Festival

“A thing of mine is to fall in love with one of my characters,” Lynne Truss divulges. “In Eats, Shoots and Leaves it was a colon.”

I’m hoping my grammar is all present and correct in this piece. I am a student of the eighties, after all, when sentence structure and spelling weren’t paid any attention.

But the book of grammar pedantry that made her a best seller wasn’t the main topic of conversation. Lynne loves writing for actors: “It’s my favourite thing.” She finds it hard to describe her latest novel (and the first one in fifteen years) so instead reads us a monologue, The Wife, she wrote for Radio Four, broadcast back in 2007. Continue reading

Can our life be defined through our friends? So asks AC Grayling at Marlborough Literature Festival

28 Sep
AC Grayling at Marlborough Literature Festival

AC Grayling at Marlborough Literature Festival

“Having friends is a sign of a life worthwhile,” said celebrity philosopher Anthony Grayling, whose latest deep musings are on friendship.

Anthony took us through a journey – the scenic way – from the obligatory Ancient Greeks past Saint Augustine, via sixteenth century French philosopher Montaigne and finishing somewhere around Facebook.

As you’d expect, those Ancient Greeks took friendship very seriously, often sharing homes and joining bodies. “A friend is another self,” said philosopher Aristotle. They felt a duty both of loyalty and to keep their chums on the right track or, as Oscar Wilde said much more recently: “A friend is someone who stabs you from the front.” Continue reading

Children’s author Caroline Lawrence at Marlborough Literature Festival

27 Sep
Children’s author Caroline Lawrence at Marlborough Literature Festival

Children’s author Caroline Lawrence at Marlborough Literature Festival

Words and picture by Milo Davison, aged 8

Today I went to the Lit Fest and listened to Caroline Lawrence, who writes The Roman Mysteries series of books.

I have almost finished reading The Legionary from Londinium, and I am really enjoying it. Continue reading

Jenny Uglow on pre-Victorian pioneer Sarah Losh, Marlborough Festival of Literature

27 Sep

In a little corner in Cumbria, a nineteenth century church stands testament to the vision of one of the UK’s first woman architects, Sarah Losh.

With virtually none of the usual Christian iconography, it is instead decorated with much older symbols of fertility and is inspired by the burgeoning pre-Victorian interest in geology and palaeontology.

The story of Sarah Losh, The Pinecone, is not only of an incredible women who became an architect about two hundred years before feminism, but also of family, history and giving others a chance. Continue reading

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