09:00 11 October 2022

Enjoy a dazzling selection of writers from all walks of life at this year’s Bridport Literary Festival, November 6-12, ranging from Hugh Bonneville speaking Downtown and Paddington with Julian Fellowes to Joanna Quinn on her first bestselling novel set in Dorset, The Whale Bone Theater

Dame Sheila Hancock (on her memoir old rage) and Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville (on his memoir Playing Under the Piano: From Downton to Darkest Peru), join a brilliant selection of authors in a wide range of genres for the 18th Bridport Literary Festival. From November 6-12, at six venues: The Electric Palace, The Bull Hotel, Bridport Library, Symondsbury Tithe Barn, Sladers Yard in West Bay and The Sir John Colfox Academy, some of this year’s events are already sold out, so it’s worth booking quickly. There are still plenty of events to get tickets for including: immersive fiction, memoir, biography, creative non-fiction including nature and travel writing, gardening, cooking, poetry, children’s books, politics, history, philosophy, architecture, science, landscape, sports and journalism.

The stunning interior of the Electric Palace at a BridLit event in 2019
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The stunning interior of the Electric Palace serves as the backdrop for some of the big events, including political heavyweights Chris Patten and David Owen as well as Radio 4 presenter Justin Webb, the BBC’s editor for the Middle East Jeremy Bowen and environmental activist George Monbiot. Melvyn Bragg looks back on his Cumbrian childhood, Simon Sebag Montefiore explores the world’s family history and Colin Thubron takes us on the Love River.

Actor Sheila Hancock, with white hair and a smile looking at the camera

Sheila Hancock talks about her latest book Old Rage at BridLit in November
– Credit: Neil Spence Copyright 2022

The Bull Hotel’s elegant ballroom hosts writers including Alan Titchmarsh for his new novel Gift, and garden historian Vanessa Berridge talks about Borde Hill Garden. With children’s events at Bridport Library and a fascinating mix of good food and storytelling at Sladers Yard, there really is something for everyone. Find details of all conferences and book tickets at

The writer and cyclist Simon Parker on a beach with his bike in a wool hat and clothes

Simon Parker talks about his new book Riding Out: A Journey of Love, Loss and New Beginnings
– Credit: ©

Pedaling through grief: When Britain entered its first lockdown, in March 2020, Simon Parker’s life fell apart. His career as a travel journalist disappeared overnight. Shortly after, he received the tragic news that a close friend had passed away. Riding Out: A Journey of Love, Loss and New Beginnings details the inspiring true story of how one man fought heartbreak and anxiety, one pedal stroke at a time, on a 3,500 mile adventure around Britain. Along the way, he met hundreds of resilient Britons and gradually began to see that a ray of light was never too far away, even in the darkest of times.

Cover of the book Riding Out: A Journey of Love, Loss and New Beginnings

Simon Parker’s new book Riding Out: A Journey of Love, Loss and New Beginnings
– Credit: Summersdale

The Oxfordshire-based travel writer, columnist and broadcaster has reported from more than 100 countries. Sailed and cycled from China to London for the BBC, cycled through Scandinavia for Amazon Prime and cycled every known route to Machu Picchu for The Telegraph. Simon Parker is at The Electric Palace on November 6 at 10:30 a.m.

Writer Maggie O'Farrell, woman with curly brown hair and floral top

Maggie O’Farrell talks about her new Renaissance thriller The Marriage Portrait
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A captivating Renaissance thriller: Maggie O’Farrell’s Bestseller Hamnet about Shakespeare’s only son who died aged 11, won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2020 and was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. It spent 38 weeks in the UK top ten and was picked up for film by Stephen Spielberg’s Ambling Productions.

Book cover of The Marriage Portrait of Maggie O'Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell’s latest book
– Credit: Tinder Press

His latest novel, The portrait of marriage, which she will talk about this year at BridLit, is a Renaissance thriller about a teenager. A vivid evocation of the beauty and brutality of Renaissance Italy, The portrait of marriage explores the short life of a young woman whose closeness to power puts her in mortal danger. In 1560, aged 15, Lucrezia de’ Medici replaced her deceased sister as fiancée of Alphonse, Duke of Ferrara. Lucrezia suddenly realizes that Alfonso’s only intention is to kill her. Maggie O’Farrell is at The Electric Palace on November 11 at 12 p.m.

The writer Kit de Waal, short gray black hair and an orange top

Writer Kit de Waal talks about his childhood memories
– Credit: Sarah Lee

Childhood memories: Kit de Waal has won the Bridport Prize two years in a row (2014 and 2015) for her flash fiction, which she says has really helped her writing career. De Waal’s first novel, My name is Leon (2016), shortlisted for the Costa Book Award and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, was adapted into a one-hour film for BBC Two.

Cover of the book Without warning and only sometimes by Kit de Waal

Kit de Waal’s new book Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood
– Credit: Tinder Press

His latest book,Without Warning and Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood, is set in the house where she grew up with her siblings, a house that was caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British, in 1960s Birmingham. This is the story of a girl who grew up in a home where the Bible was the only book offered, discovered a lifelong love of reading. Kit de Waal is at The Electric Palace, November 11 at 6:30 p.m.

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