People still love books, the smell and feel of them, says literary festival organiser
The man behind one of the region's most successful new literary festivals had decided he wouldn't be organising the event again this year, but changed his mind partly because of the closure of a county's premier theatre.
Lionel Ward – who has put together Taunton's third literary festival, which will be staged in November – now has more big names than ever attending the event, including the likes of explorer Ranulph Fiennes, one time Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, and biographer Victoria Glendinning.
"It helps to fill a cultural void that we have experienced with the closure of the Brewhouse Theatre," Mr Ward told the Western Morning News when asked why he'd changed his mind over the festival. "I wasn't sure if I was going to do a festival this year as we were busy moving house in the summer. However, I was constantly being asked about the next festival so I relented.
"It was going to be a smaller weekend affair, but somehow has turned into the longest of the three festivals I have done. People still love books, the smell and feel of them, visiting bookshops, browsing and finding something they were not expecting.
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"The entire experience is second nature to many people," said Mr Ward, who runs the town's famous Brendon Books outlet. "There is also that special connection between writer and reader – which readers can have when they hear the authors talk and meet them afterwards. It is something that cannot be accessed online."
Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be talking about the perils of adventuring in extreme temperatures, while Sara Wheeler will discuss the exploits of six lady adventurers in 19th-century America. Peter Snow's subject is also based across the Atlantic and the extraordinary events of 1814, When Britain Burned the White House.
The third Taunton Literary festival 2-19 takes place from November with more than 40 authors taking part – a number of them household names or specialists in the their fields.
For more see tauntonliteraryfestival.net