Lisa Jewell, Jonathan Coe, Alastair Campbell and Charles Spencer in West Dorset for book festival

PUBLISHED: 20:50 20 October 2020 | UPDATED: 21:02 20 October 2020

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Book tickets now for Bridport Literary Festival – the only event of its kind happening in the county this year

Bridport Literary Festival 2020 is set to bring some much-needed light to a very dark year. Better known as BridLit, the 2020 event features a series of live, socially-distanced events at two Bridport venues from Wednesday 4 November to Saturday 7 November. The festival’s director, Tanya Bruce-Lockhart, has created an exciting line-up of author talks and interviews in this carefully reduced version of the popular annual festival – now in its 16th year – offering a refreshing oasis of live literary entertainment in 2020’s cultural desert. Events will rotate between the Electric Palace and the Bridport Arts Centre, conforming to all Covid-19 protocols. This includes cleaning all surfaces after each event and the wearing of facemasks by staff, stewards and the audience. Here’s a taste of what’s on offer, for the full line-up of 13 talks and to book tickets visit bridlit.com

Robert McCrum celebrates the bard of Avon in his new book ShakespeareanRobert McCrum celebrates the bard of Avon in his new book Shakespearean

4 November: Robert McCrum

Writer, journalist and broadcaster Robert McCrum’s new book, Shakespearean ,is a superbly-drawn portrait of one of the greatest writers who ever lived. McCrum makes a passionate and deeply personal case that Shakespeare’s words and ideas are not just enduring in their relevance – they are nothing less than the eternal key to our shared humanity. 4.30pm, Electric Palace

Lachlan Goudie takes us on a whistle stop tour through 5,000 years of Scottish artLachlan Goudie takes us on a whistle stop tour through 5,000 years of Scottish art

5 November: Lachlan Goudie

Painter, writer and broadcaster Lachlan Goudie’s book, The Story of Scottish Art ,is a page-turning narrative full of scandals and rebellions, seismic historical events and personal tragedies that inspired or destroyed artists. From the earliest Neolithic symbols etched onto the landscape of Kilmartin Glen to Glasgow’s fame as a contemporary centre of artistic innovation, Goudie’s artistic range is broad, as this illustrated talk will reveal. 11am, Electric Palace

Alastair Campbell Photo: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesAlastair Campbell Photo: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg via Getty Images

5 November: Alastair Campbell

Best known as Tony Blair’s chief spokesman and strategist, Alastair Campbell is also a writer of fiction and non-fiction and an ambassador for several mental health charities. His new book Living Better is an honest and moving account of his lifelong struggle with depression. Campbell explores his own childhood, family and relationships as well as the impact of his professional and political life on himself and those around him. 6.30pm, Electric Palace

Lisa Jewell talks about her new thrilled Invisible Girl Photo: Andrew Whitton PhotographyLisa Jewell talks about her new thrilled Invisible Girl Photo: Andrew Whitton Photography

5 November: Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell’s first novel, Ralph’s Party was the best-selling debut novel of 1999. Since then she has sold more than 4.5 million books worldwide including a number of dark psychological thrillers. The Girls and Then She Was Gone were both Richard and Judy Book Club picks. Her latest novel, Invisible Girl ,is a story of secrets and injustices, and of how we look in the wrong places for the bad people while the real predators walk among us in plain sight. 2.30pm, Bridport Arts Centre

Earl Spencer, talks about The White Ship Photo: Robert Wilson/Contour by Getty ImagesEarl Spencer, talks about The White Ship Photo: Robert Wilson/Contour by Getty Images

Earl Spencer's new bookEarl Spencer's new book

5 November: Charles Spencer

The ninth Earl Spencer, author, historian and public speaker makes a welcome return to the BridLit stage for this illustrated talk about his latest book, The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy and the Wrecking of Henry I’s Dream .The sinking of the White Ship on 25 November 1120 is one of the greatest disasters England has ever suffered. Its repercussions would change English and European history for ever. Written to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the shipwreck, Charles Spencer evokes the harsh and brutal story of the Normans from conquest to anarchy. With their heir dead, a civil war of untold violence erupted, a game of thrones which saw families turned on each other with English and Norman barons, rebellious Welsh princes and the Scottish king all playing a part in a bloody, desperate scrum for power. 4.30pm, Electric Palace

Amanda Craig talks about her new novel set in Cornwall - The Golden Rule Photo: Charlie HopkinsonAmanda Craig talks about her new novel set in Cornwall - The Golden Rule Photo: Charlie Hopkinson

6 November: Amanda Craig

The Golden Rule highlights the gulf between the haves and have-nots. Set-in present-day Cornwall, and drawing on two very different plots: Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and the classic fairy-tale, Beauty and the Beast - Amanda Craig’s latest novel is about two women who decide to murder each other’s husbands. 11am, Electric Palace

6 November: Jonathan Coe Mr Wilder & Me is the dazzling new novel from best-selling author, Jonathan Coe (The Rotters’ Club and Middle England). Based on the final productive years of Hollywood director, Billy Wilder, this is a story of how to recapture youth and an exploration of a dark family history. Set in Greece in the heady summer of 1977 and then in Germany, Calista - a naïve young woman - joins the film mogul on his journey into an unfamiliar way of life. A mixture of nostalgia and humour play out against a brilliant backdrop of the highs and lows of the film industry and with just a hint of #MeToo. 4.30pm, Electric Palace

James Rebanks talks about his latest book English Pastoral Photo: Eamonn McCabeJames Rebanks talks about his latest book English Pastoral Photo: Eamonn McCabe

James Rebanks latest bookJames Rebanks latest book

7 November: James Rebanks

James Rebanks runs a family-owned farm in the Lake District and hit the best-seller lists in 2015 with his first book, The Shepherd’s Life, shortlisted for the Wainwright and Ondaatje prizes. His latest book, English Pastoral tells of how rural landscapes around the world have been brought close to collapse, and the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things are being lost. Yet this elegy from the fells is also a song of hope: how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that was now his, doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for the future.  11am, Electric Palace

Collateral Damage, Kim Darroch's new bookCollateral Damage, Kim Darroch's new book

7 November: Lord Darroch in conversation with Sir Oliver Letwin

Just days after the 2020 US presidential elections, the man Donald Trump described in a furious tweet as ‘a very stupid guy’ will be speaking at Bridport Literary Festival. Kim Darroch was British Ambassador to the US from 2016 to 2019 as the age of Trump dawned and Brexit unfolded. He stepped down in July last year following a leak of diplomatic cables in which he had been critical of the Trump administration. His book, Collateral Damage, released on 17 September, is an unvarnished, behind-the-scenes account revealing the inside story behind his resignation. 6.30pm, Electric Palace

Download the Bridport Literary Festival brochure and book tickets here tickets can also be booked via Bridport Tourist Information Centre on 01308 424901.

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