Louis looking forward to the literary festival

IT may be some months off, but celebrated author Louis de Bernieres is looking forward to appearing at the Lavenham Literary Festival.

The south Norfolk resident, famed for his best-selling 1994 novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, intends to read one of his short stories aloud at the event before taking questions from the audience.

“Writers were originally troubadours,” he said.

“European literature got off the ground with people performing in front of a live audience. Sometimes it helps to get a feeling for the language of a piece of writing if you hear the writer read it as he intended. It brings it to life.”

This being the case, members of the audience at Lavenham Village Hall, on Saturday, November 12, are in for a veritable treat when Mr de Bernieres will take the stage with two other renowned writers: novelist Salley Vickers and historical author Philippa Gregory.

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This impressive line-up is a real coup for the organisers who only launched the biennial event in 2009 and for whom this is their second festival.

“A buzz gets out about a festival, that it is worth attending and its reputation is spread by word of mouth,” said Mr de Bernieres, 56, who feels it is crucial for writers to venture from their desks and typewriters once in a while.

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Good stories are what drive Mr de Bernieres, who says he will travel wherever he needs to around the world when researching his novels and short stories.

The book he is currently working on is loosely based on the life of his grandfather who was, according to the author, “something of an adventurer”.

Despite having visited many exotic locations around the world, Mr de Bernieres settled in south Norfolk 10 years ago after a visit to the home of novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, who lives in Bungay, resulted in him buying a Georgian rectory in need of restoration nearby.

“I miss the hills and woods of Surrey where most of my family are but I love the big open skies you get in this part of the world,” Mr de Bernieres said. “And it’s great to be near the seaside and the endless coast.”

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