Southwold: Literary festival line-up includes noted authors

FORMER Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown will join best-selling novelist and firebrand comic Ben Elton on an eclectic roster for this year’s Ways With Words Literature Festival in Southwold.

Organisers have put together a diverse list of writers, comedians, journalists, philosophers and politicians set to appear in the seaside town across five days.

The festival opens on Thursday, November 8, with St Edmund’s Hall hosting Gary Mulgrew, one of the NatWest Three controversially extradited to America, where he admitted defrauding his employer and served time in a Texan prison.

Booker prize winner Pat Barker then discusses her new First World War novel Toby’s Room, before Ronald Blythe talks agricultural life in Suffolk.

The festival continues with appearances from Ben Elton, discussing his latest novel, Paddy Ashdown exploring an unsung moment of British war history, and philosopher A C Grayling on humanism and atheism.

Newsnight’s Paul Mason delves modern China’s history, Labour MP Tom Watson looks at the phone-hacking scandal, and Simon Hoggart recalls 20 years as parliamentary sketch writer and political commentator for the Guardian.

Presenters Jeremy Vine, Judy Finnigan, Charlie Connelly and BBC arts editor Will Gompertz also feature, with other speakers including nature writer Richard Mabey, Jessica Fellowes on Downton Abbey, former principle dancer at the Royal Ballet Deborah Bull, Piers Brendon and writer, editor and professional Lady Rachel Johnson.

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Hannah Rothschild is also set to host a literary dinner at the Swan Hotel, discussing great aunt Nica’s days in the New York jazz scene.

Tickets are �10 per event, with literary dinner tickets �55 and accommodation packages also available, via, or by calling 01803 867373 or emailing

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