Diana Henry and Tara Westover lead author line up at Wealden Literary Festival, Boldshaves Garden, Kent
Wealden Literary Festival is an enchanting weekend of words and ideas - a celebration of nature, place and creativity through literature, the arts and food. Tickets for the 2018 Festival on 30 June and 1 July go on sale from 16 March.
Set in the beautiful Boldshaves Garden near Tenterden in the Weald of Kent and the fields and wild woods that surround the gardens, Wealden Literary Festival brings together renowned authors, poets, artists and makers who look first and foremost to nature, wilderness and the spirit of place for inspiration. It has been endorsed by leading nature writers including Robert Macfarlane, Mark Cocker and Jay Griffiths.
A sense of place is a connecting thread linking authors speaking at the festival. On Saturday 30th June, award-winning food writer, journalist and broadcaster Diana Henry will talk about her new cookery book How to Eat a Peach, a collection of seasonal menus inspired by a memory, place or mood. Planning a menu is Diana’s favourite part of cooking, remembering an afternoon at the seaside in Brittany or a sultry evening eating mezze in Istanbul. ‘This is an extraordinary piece of food writing, pitch perfect in every way. I couldn't love anyone who didn't love this book.’ Nigella Lawson
A sense of place is not always a romantic and poetic one. Diana Henry will be joined by New York Times bestselling author Tara Westover discussing her debut book, Educated. This extraordinary memoir is Tara’s story of her isolated childhood growing up in rural Idaho with an un-hinged, paranoid Mormon ‘survivalist’ father who forced his family to live off-grid, while stock-piling guns, fuel and food in readiness for the end of the world. Tara's birth was unregistered, her birth date unclear and no vaccinations received. She received no formal education at all, no books to read and with no TV or radio, she grew up almost entirely unaware of the world beyond her family. Having no other frame of reference, Tara never knew that their way of life was not the norm.
Tara had never set foot in a classroom before the age of 17. And yet, by 27 she had earned a doctorate from Cambridge University. From her unique experience, Westover tells a universal story about the transformative power of an education, but also of the very personal price she had to pay for that privilege. In pitiless prose Tara charts her unbelievable journey from a violent childhood through traumatic and abusive teen years to heart-breaking choices in adulthood. ‘Marvellous. There is no feeling like discovering a young writer who is springing up fully armed with so much talent.’ Stephen Fry
Wealden Literary Festival is family-friendly and looks after the minds and interests of young readers setting out to explore the world. Yuval Zommer, the acclaimed children’s author will be in the festival tent, talking about his widely acclaimed illustrated book, The Street Beneath My Feet. This double-sided foldout book creates a visceral sense of a journey to the centre of the Earth as readers travel past storm drains, buried artefacts, a subway, and many layers of rock on their way to the planet’s inner core. Children are taken on a fascinating journey deep underground showing a hive of subterranean activity.
In addition to the programme of talks, the Festival offers all ages the opportunity to take part in a series of creative writing and art workshops as well as woodland-based activities and events such as bushcraft, foraging and wildlife spotting. It also showcases the best of local craftspeople and food producers through a pop-up market and plays host to art exhibitions and displays.
Andrew Willan, Festival Director comments, “We hope through the Festival to nurture the links between people (and in particular children) and nature. We believe that nowadays all too many people lack the means to engage in any meaningful way with the natural world. We also believe that with improved access to nature comes a desire to cherish and protect it. The natural world provides a wealth of opportunities for learning, creativity and discovery which the Festival embraces.
As the virtual world becomes increasingly dominant in our lives, time spent out of doors with opportunities to read, write, create and think has perhaps never before been so vital. By nurturing a love of the natural world, of literature and the arts, the Festival hopes to give not only individuals and communities, but also nature itself a real chance to flourish and to thrive.”
“It is a thrill to see Wealden Literary Festival taking root and flourishing. With its emphasis on the natural world, its commitment to children and to community, and its vision of getting people outdoors and hands-on with nature, as well as reading and talking about it, it strikes me as a hugely hopeful and valuable new event. Long may it grow!” Robert Macfarlane, author of The Old Ways and The Lost Words
For more information about Wealden Literary Festival, press accreditation or to interview the directors, please contact Hannah Blake at The Dining Room PR on T: 07730 039361 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org