Sidmouth Literary Festival is big hit

PUBLISHED: 07:15 29 June 2017 | UPDATED: 07:15 29 June 2017

Christopher Biggins at the Sidmouth Literary Festival. Ref shs 25 17TI 5458. Picture: Terry Ife

Christopher Biggins at the Sidmouth Literary Festival. Ref shs 25 17TI 5458. Picture: Terry Ife

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Writers shared a wealth of experience telling the tales behind their stories as part of the third Sidmouth Literary Festival.

Christopher Biggins and Judy Spiers at the Sidmouth Literary Festival. Ref shs 25 17TI 5455. Picture: Terry IfeChristopher Biggins and Judy Spiers at the Sidmouth Literary Festival. Ref shs 25 17TI 5455. Picture: Terry Ife

The three-day event which took place between Friday and Sunday included workshops on how to get published, talks from authors and poetry awards.

Sparkling dual act Christopher Biggins and Judi Spiers kicked the weekend off before a series of talks were held across town.

During the weekend, held in association with Winstone’s Books, Queen of Crime novelist Sophie Hannah revealed the extraordinary co-incidences which led to the Agatha Christie estate asking her to write a series of new Poirot books.

Bryony Gordon from the Daily Telegraph spoke about her struggles with drugs and mental health issues before giving an exclusive about Prince Harry’s congratulatory phone call after the London Marathon.

Christopher Biggins and Judy Spiers at the Sidmouth Literary Festival. Ref shs 25 17TI 5451. Picture: Terry IfeChristopher Biggins and Judy Spiers at the Sidmouth Literary Festival. Ref shs 25 17TI 5451. Picture: Terry Ife

Valerie Grove described life on The Oldie magazine and what it was like writing obituaries for The Telegraph and Sunday Times best-sellers Adele Parks, Lesley Pearse and Lee Weeks spoke about their novels, covering romance, passion and domestic suspense.

Tim Pears then took to the stage and discussed the influence of his Devonian childhood on his writing. Laurence Anholt also announced that his new novel The Hypnotist had won a major prize.

Anne Sebba gave a fascinating talk about women in history – including the Duchess of Windsor while Julia Creek gave people an insight into Sidmouth’s literary past.

Noel Smith confessed how his life inside had led to repentance and his career as a Penguin author and gardening writer Anne Swithinbank revealed some of her best tips with Lynette Talbot from Sidmouth in Bloom.

Christopher Biggins and Judy Spiers at the Sidmouth Literary Festival. Ref shs 25 17TI 5444. Picture: Terry IfeChristopher Biggins and Judy Spiers at the Sidmouth Literary Festival. Ref shs 25 17TI 5444. Picture: Terry Ife

Sarah Obermuller Bennett also gave audiences a treat revealing the real story behind Jerome K Jerome.

Children were also able to get involved with a How To Get Published Workshop and a number of youngsters and teenagers also won highly commended poetry awards.

Jane Corry, the festival’s writer in residence, said she would like to thank all the sponsors.

She added: “Many thanks also to our amazing team of volunteers who worked tirelessly and gave up so much of their time.”

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