Political giants in Southwold

GIANTS from the literary and political world including John McCarthy, Martin Bell, Lord Hurd and Shirley Williams will be speaking at the Southwold Literature Festival in November.

GIANTS from the literary and political world including John McCarthy, Martin Bell, Lord Hurd and Shirley Williams will be speaking at the Southwold Literature Festival in November.

The Ways With Words festival attracts people from all over the country and there will be a lively mix of fiction and non-fiction, the serious and the humorous.

Journalist John McCarthy will be talking about his latest book A Ghost Upon Your Path, which explores his attraction with Ireland and its people following his move to the West Coast and throwing himself into himself in the local community.

BBC war correspondent and former MP Martin Bell will be sharing his first hand experience of the frontiers of war, politics and television from his new book, Through Gates of Fire, while drawing links between terrorism, the dumbing down of news and the decline in democracy in the 21st century.

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Ex-MP and former Foreign Secretary Lord Hurd will be giving his personal views on the characters and conflicts of the Thatcher and Major years, the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the 1991 Gulf War, the Balkan crisis and the handover of Hong Kong as well as insights into his background and upbringing.

Baroness Shirley Williams, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and a practising Catholic, will be exploring the relationship between Christian teaching, the Church and public life and considering the impact of her faith on her political career.

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The festival has also attracted other well-known writers and broadcasters such as Simon Jenkins, columnist on and former editor of both The Times and The London Evening Standard, will be telling the story of English homes from his latest book, England's Thousand Best Houses.

Joan Bakewell, presenter of BBC 2's Late Night Line Up and The Heart of the Matter, will be sharing her experiences of her illustrious media career from her recent autobiography, The Centre of the Bed.

Sir John Mortimer will be delivering lessons in living and growing old disgracefully from his new book, Where There's a Will, in a special literary dinner at the Swan Hotel.

The BBC Wildlife Magazine has organised a wealth of ecological and wildlife writers and broadcasters such as Guardian journalist and author of Captive State George Monbiot, and wildlife jungle presenter Charlotte Uhlenbroek.

Some of this year's events have a distinct Southwold connection – Esther Freud and Julie Myerson will discuss together who their have set their latest novels, The Sea House and Something Might Happen respectively, in and around the town.

D J Taylor will be speaking on his biography of George Orwell, focussing on Orwell's time in Southwold and the effect the town had on his work.

Two local writers will also be at the festival – Ronald Blythe will be reflecting on village and church life in Suffolk while Richard Mabey will discuss the challenges of learning to write again after a long illness and how the Suffolk countryside and wildlife helped restore his health.

The festival runs from November 13 until 17 at St Edmunds Hall, Southwold, and tickets priced at £7.50 for most individual events are available from the Orwell Bookshop in Southwold High Street or by calling 01803 867373 or visiting www.wayswithwords.co.uk.

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