King’s Lynn Fiction Festival remembers Dame Beryl Bainbridge

A Norfolk literary festival is set to honour one of its most distinguished authors.

Novelist Beryl Bainbridge was a regular at the King's Lynn Fiction Festival until her death from cancer last year.

Once described as 'a national treasure', Liverpool-born Dame Beryl was nominated five times for the Booker Prize.

Last night fiction festival chairman Tony Ellis said

Dame Beryl would be honoured at a special session entitled The Life and Works of Beryl Bainbridge, where fellow festival writers will reminisce and assess the merits of her books and her place in literature.

'She loved coming to King's Lynn,' he said. 'She was a favourite with the audience and will be sadly missed for her wit and her modesty and was much appreciated for her outgoing, friendly manner as well as for her humility.

'She came to the second one, which would have been 1980. I wouldn't say she came to all of them but she must have come to about 14.

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'She grew to have a special love of King's Lynn and she loved the way we did the festival - a party atmosphere, with everyone enjoying themselves.'

While she never won the Booker winner despite being a prolific writer, Dame Beryl did win other prizes including the Whitbread and Guardian Fiction awards.

The novel she was writing when she died, the Girl in the Polka Dot Dress, will be published posthumously later this year.

The 26th Fiction Festival takes place from March 11 - 13, at King's Lynn Town Hall.

Writers signed up to take part include DJ Taylor, Rachel Hore

Sophie Hannah, Scarlett Thomas

Robert Edric, Paul Bailey

Lindsay Clarke, Christopher Bigsby

Robert Radcliffe and Roger Garfitt.

Tickets cost �8.50 a session, or �37.50 for a weekend pass.

Contact Mr Ellis on 01553 691661 (office hours), or go online to