A literary smorgasbord at Sherborne

WHATEVER your tastes, this year’s Sherborne Literary Festival has something to delight, fascinate and enthrall – from the Vietnam war to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, from The Women Who Flew for Hitler to the musical life of Britain’s greatest film critic.

The festival, from 10th to 14th October, offers “a diverse smorgasbord of authors and speakers,” says Mark Greenstock. the chairman of Sherborne Literary Society.

There are special events marking two anniversaries – the 400th anniversary of Sir Walter Ralegh and the 40th of the publication of Douglas Adams’ best-selling and completely original Hitchhiker’s Guide, which was written at his mother’s house in Stalbridge.

Speakers include Max Hastings, on his new history of the Vietnam War, Vietham: An Epic Tragedy 1945-1975, Gill Sims (author of Why Mummy Drinks) on her new book, Why Mummy Swears, Peter Hain on Nelson Mandela, former Yeovil MP and LibDem leader Paddy Ashdown, Ghanaian author Michael Donkor, health writer and doctor James Le Fanu, author of Too Many Pills, and Clare Mulley on her brilliant book about Hanna Reitsch, the fanatical Nazi pilot who wanted to fly Hitler out of Berlin and another German woman pilot, Melitta von Stauffenberg, who supported the most famous attempt on the dictator’s life.

Mark Kermode, the Observer and BBC film critic, is also a member of the brilliant jug band, The Dodge Brothers. When he was a teenager, he recalls, “I wanted two things – watch movies and be a pop star.” In his talk, How Does It Feel? A Life of Musical Misadventures, at Sherborne Girls School on Saturday 13th, he will give talk (sure to be hugely entertaining) about his attempts to fulfill his dreams.

Picture: Mark Kermode, The Women Who Flew For Hitler and Michael Donkor.