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Weymouth Leviathan 2016

PUBLISHED: 10:39 26 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:39 26 February 2016

Weymouth Harbour

Weymouth Harbour


This March the UK’s first maritime literary festival is hosted at Weymouth’s historic harbour side. Its founder and festival director, James Farquharson, tells us more

As host town of the 2012 Olympic sailing events, Weymouth is the perfect venue to host this celebration of the very best in maritime writing. Weymouth Leviathan is unique among the country’s literary festivals, as it is the only one that is focused entirely on the sea. Writers from across the country are gathering to share their salt-spray lashed stories and reveal the challenges of capturing this most inscrutable of environments on the page.

As soon as we started putting out the idea of a maritime specific literary festival, late last year, we rapidly received expressions of interest from near and far. Authors we approached appreciated the possibilities of this unique festival so were keen to come on board. As a result, we’ve been able to put together a programme of talks and events of exceptional breadth and quality.

Leviathan’s visitors will hear from maritime authors turned BBC stalwarts, Philip Hoare, Brian Lavery and Tom Cunliffe, as well as Giles Milton, whose book, White Gold, will be filmed as a Channel 4 series later this year. The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, is being transported to Dorset in the form of three of its most senior curators, Richard Dunn, Barbara Tomlinson and James Davey. And fans of the ‘golden age’ of the Royal Navy are in for a special treat. Not only have we a winner of the Samuel Pepys literary prize, J D Davies, presenting a talk on Charles II’s navy, but also two of the country’s most successful authors of period naval fiction, Julian Stockwin and Antoine Vanner, will be speaking at this inaugural event.

We haven’t overlooked the amazing tales that have arisen right here in Dorset. Starting with the world’s original leviathans, marine dinosaurs, we’ll progress past the journeys of Raleigh, battles with the Spanish Armada, disasters of Britain’s trading empire and modern tales of sailors who’ve pitted themselves against the elements.

The festival is being hosted in a range of ‘characterful’ venues surrounding Weymouth’s historic harbour. These include The Royal Dorset Yacht Club, as well as The Ship Inn, Holy Trinity Church, Old Rooms Inn, Pilgrim House, Drift Bar and the Warehouse Theatre – who are all playing their part in supporting the festival.

Fiction, non-fiction and guides, whatever your maritime interest, the best of the best will be here at Weymouth Leviathan to set you on the perfect course. 

Weymouth Leviathan Highlights

Saturday 12 March

• Philip Hoare: The Sea Inside

• Brian Lavery: The Birth of Naval Aviation

• Giles Milton: White Gold

• Dr James Davey: In Nelson’s Wake

• Nigel Millard: Courage on Our Coasts

Sunday 13 March

• J D Davies: Samuel Pepys and Charles II’s Navy

• Tom Cunliffe: In the Wake of Heroes - Sailing’s Greatest Stories

• Richard Dunn: Re-finding Longitude

• Barbara Tomlinson: Rock and Tempest

• Sam Scriven: Leviathans of the Jurassic Ocean

Let’s go to the Weymouth Leviathan

Weymouth Leviathan is held over the weekend of 12 – 13 March. For more information and for tickets, visit or the Royal Dorset Yacht Club in Weymouth. Receive festival updates on Twitter at @WeyLeviathan and on Facebook.


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