Line up for Southwold’s Ways With Words literary festival is revealed

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman - Credit: PA

They have grilled senior politicians and brought us reports from war zones.

Kate Adie

Kate Adie

But two renowned TV journalists will be entertaining audiences in Southwold this autumn.

Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman and former BBC chief news correspondent Katie Adie will be among the speakers at the town's annual Ways With Words literary festival from November 7-11.

Known for his fierce on-screen interrogations of MPs and senior business figures, Mr Paxman will be giving a talk on how the first world affected Britain's life and identity and helped shape the nation.

Miss Adie has reported on many conflicts and trouble-spots around the world, including Bosnia, Rwanda and the Gulf War, and her talk will focus on the pioneering women of world war one and their legacy.

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Several other renowned writers, politicians and media figures will be speaking at the five-day festival.

Alan Johnson, former Labour home secretary, will be giving a talk about his early life; Peter Snow, the former Newsnight presenter and diplomatic and defence correspondent for ITN, will be considering the relationship between Britain and America; and Lord Sainsbury will be speaking about his new book Progressive Capitalism.

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A familiar face to TV viewers, former Daily Mail journalist Barry Norman will be speaking about his life and career, including 25 years as a BBC film critic, and author Robert Harris will be explaining how he researched and wrote his new novel, An Officer and a Spy.

Other speakers include former Adnams chairman Simon Loftus, Rose Tremain, Penelope Lively, Allan Ahlberg, Sally Vickers, Gill Hornby, Hermione Lee, Roy Hattersley, Richard Holmes, Matthew d'Ancona, Simon Heffer, and Christopher Matthew.

Robert Colls will be taking a look at the life and work of author George Orwell – including his Southwold connections – and Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, will be exploring the architectural history of Great Britain.

All but two of the festival's events will take place in St Edmunds Hall, with Mr Paxman and Mr Johnson both appearing at St Edmunds Church on Monday, November 11.

A spokesman for the festival organisers said: 'Every year in November, the curious, the lively-minded, book lovers and enthusiasts of Southwold and the surrounding area look forward to the town's annual literary festival.

'This year's programme includes an inspiring line-up of writers, politicians and other prominent media figures who will be speaking on a range of intriguing topics.'

This year, Waterstones will be acting as the festival's official book-selling partner and the chain's Norwich store will be running a bookshop at St Edmunds Hall.

To view the full festival programme, visit or to order a printed brochure, ring 01803 867373. The same contact details can be used to book tickets.

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