Nine things

Nine literary events this autumn

AUTUMN has become the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness – and book festivals. Our region is particularly rich in celebrations of literary creativity, so here is a run-down of the major festivals, but beginning with the big event of the season, the publication of The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited, eagerly anticipated and Booker Prize short-listed sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

If you read the novel all those years ago, or have been glued to the television dramatisation of The Handmaid’s Tale in its three seasons to date, or only watched the powerful, frightening first series, you will understand the buzz. The great Canadian author will be in conversation at the National Theatre at 7.30pm on 10th September with broadcaster Samira Ahmed, with readings from the new book by three leading actresses – Sally Hawkins, Lily James and Ann Dowd (Aunt Lydia in the television series). There are more than 1,300 screenings around the world. More venues are being added all the time, but here are some of the scheduled live broadcasts in this area:

Bath Little Theatre, Bridport Electric Palace, Corsham’s Pound Arts, Dorchester Odeon, Frome Merlin Theatre, Lyme Regis’ Marine Theatre, Poole Lighthouse, Salisbury Arts Centre, Seaton Gateway, Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre City (near the Civic Centre), Taunton Brewhouse, Wells Film Centre, Westland at Yeovil,  Wimborne Tivoli, Yeovil Cineworld.

Bridport Literary Festival: 3rd to 9th November; speakers include Max Hastings, poet laureate Simon Armitage, historian Philip Mansel, Henry Blofeld, Tom Holland, Deborah Moggach, Dr David Nott and Melvyn Bragg.

Dorchester Literary Festival: 15th to 20th October; includes AN Wilson, Sabrina Ghayour, Prue Leith, Tim Pears, John Wright, Victoria Hislop, Adam Nicolson and Dom Jolly.

Marlborough Literary Festival: 26th to 29th September; includes Carol Ann Duffy, Ben Okri, Daisy Johnson, Joanne Harris and Ian Rankin.

Mere Literature Festival: 7th to 13th October; includes Ruth Wilson, Julie Beckett (senior producer on The Archers for many years), local writers, plus music and film.

Salisbury Literary Festival: 18th to 20th October; includes Barney Norris, Jung Chang, Keggie Carew and Emma Kennedy.

Sherborne Literary Festival: 23rd to 25th October; includes Kirsty Wark, Max Hastings, Rory Maclean and Libby Page;

Taunton Literary Festival: 2nd to 29th November; includes Arthur Smith, Katy Brand, Adam Nicolson, Brigit Strawbridge Howard and Alan Johnson.

Wells Literature Festival: 18th to 26th October; includes Henry Normal, Jane Glover, Kamal Ahmed, Julian Baggini, Jasper Winn, Peter Hennessy, Felicity Cloake and Kate Humble.

Yeovil Literary Festival: 31st October to 4th November; includes Anton du Beke, Michael Eavis, John Suchet, David Suchet, Terry Waite, Prue Leith, Dan Cruickshank, Clare Balding and Lemn Sissay.

Pictured: Margaret Atwood on screen logo; Kate Humble; Michael Eavis; Ruth Wilson in Mrs Wilson; Max Hastings and poet laureate Simon Armitage.