Bridport Arts Centre’s second Open Book Festival kicks off on Wednesday 10 October. The first two days see a major celebration of all things Spanish, curated by Bridport writer Gijs Van Hensbergen. ‘Fiesta’ will feature readings, talks, Flamenco music, food and drink! Spanish experts taking part include Michael Jacobs, who will be launching his new book about Colombia, Claudia Roden on Spanish food, and wine buff John Radford, and Paul Preston on Franco’s ‘Spanish Holocaust’.
Chris Stewart (former Genesis drummer and author of the best-selling Driving Over Lemons), will join award-winning restauranteur Sam Clark and Gijs Van Hensbergen (Gaudi biographer, Picasso expert and Spanish gastronome) to serve up a feast of Spanish culture and food, and there will be readings from actor and writer Nigel Planer. Other early events will include a reprise of last year’s ‘Off the Page’ readings from young writers from across Dorset, sharing the stage with legendary poet and funny man John Hegley, and a return of Dorset Folk Tales with Tim Laycock.
Highlights on Friday 12 October include Poetry & Prose from award-winning writers Philip Gross and Nell Leyshon, and lyric-writing workshops and cool Jazz from David Mowat and Alison Farnon.
A packed Saturday offers free readings of your favourite literary piece by local actor Nick Jeune at Wild & Homeless Books, exhibition openings, a discussion on self-publishing and the future of the book, Bridport Big Read author Nick Hogg in conversation with Katherine Locke, and Bridport Prize judges and award-winning writers Patrick Gale and Gwyneth Lewis.
The closing Sunday sees the 39th Bridport Prize Awards Lunch, and the festival is rounded-off in local style with the launch of West Country Rebels, a new book by Nigel Costley exploring historical rebels from the Tolpuddle Martyrs to the Bridport ropemakers, with music from Graham Moore.
Local scribes will also feature throughout the week, with free lunchtime readings from The Fisher Writing Group, Story Traders and The Bridport Scribblers, and readings from Roving Press’s Dorset Voices anthology at Waterstones Bookshop.
The Festival this year also features a Writer-in-Residence, sponsored by Cyprus Well’s Read/Write SW Project, funded by the Big Lottery. Poet and story writer Rosie Jackson will be running a series of workshops for a variety of local groups, and will also be running an open public workshop for budding story-writers, and a rare opportunity for writers to get a professional opinion on their work in on-to-one sessions at Bridport Library.
A truly open festival, BOBF will also be placing writers in local schools, and supporting writing projects for young people with Sir John Colfox School and Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter, BSharp working with young songwriters, BACStage – Bridport Arts Centre’s youth theatre, and a half-term football writing project with Bridport YFC and other teams across Dorset.
Look out too for our Flash Fiction in Shops – with very short stories displayed in stores across Bridport, written by local youngsters.
Full details of the festival will be available in the Festival brochure or on the website from Friday 7 September.