Host of literary talent on Suffolk coast

Keiron Pim It’s a literature lover’s treat onn the Suffolk coast hosts two enticing literary festivals. KEIRON PIM has a look at what’s in store at Southwold and Aldeburgh.

Keiron Pim

The Suffolk coast is the place to be for book-lovers this weekend, as two literary festivals offer an exciting array of talent.

The Ways with Words festival at Southwold is bringing a host of top names to the town. P D James, Kate Adie, Penelope Lively, Nigel Lawson, Rick Wakeman and Robert Macfarlane are among the writers who will be discussing their work between Thursday and Monday, November 6-10.

And further down the coast at Aldeburgh, it's the 20th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, which combines internationally known names such as Clive James with up-and-coming talent.

Both festivals have become a fixture every November, attracting plenty of people to Suffolk, and this year looks like being no exception. Many of the events at Southwold sold out quickly but remaining highlights on offer include:

t Grumpy Old Rockstar - Rick Wakeman, who has sold more than 50 million records over his 40-year career as a famous rock star, is also known as a great raconteur. His new book Grumpy Old Rock Star includes many of his funniest stories. Thursday, 5.30pm.

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t Doing Damage From a Distance - Martin Rowson, the award-winning political cartoonist, who will give an illustrated account of how he works. Thursday, 4pm.

t The Lamp and the Legend - Mark Bostridge on Florence Nightingale - the author of a remarkable new biography shines a light on this extraordinary woman's life. Friday, 2.15pm.

t A Tangled Family Triangle - Julia Blackburn, who will discuss her tangled family tree and how her troubles with her mother were resolved through humour and forgiveness. Saturday, 10am.

t Warm Earth, Cool Thinking - Lord Lawson, the former chancellor, takes a look at global warming and promises to look at the facts behind the headlines, suggesting the most cost-effective ways of tackling this issue. Monday, noon.

All these events take place at the town's St Edmund's Hall and cost £9. The Orwell Bookshop will be running an on-site bookstall in the hall throughout the festival.

Down the coast at Aldeburgh, the writer, television presenter and critic Clive James is the best-known name on offer but there promises to be plenty of other talent on view as well. This year's festival features 22 poets and 44 events, 13 of which are free to enter. The festival runs from Friday to Sunday and was set up in 1989 by poet, editor and teacher Michael Laskey. Since 1999, Naomi Jaffa has been director. Since its inception, it has drawn poets and audiences from around the world.

t James is launching his new book, Angels Over Elsinore, at Aldeburgh, appearing at the Jubilee Hall on Saturday at 4pm - tickets cost £10. In 2003, James published collected poems, The Book of My Enemy, and during his long career he has written more than 20 books, including novels, travel writing and literary criticism.

Other names to look out for are:

t Yi Sha, one of China's most controversial young poets, whose work has been condemned by the literary mainstream for not following his country's poetic tradition. This is his UK debut and he will launch his first English publication, entitled Starve the Poets!

t Antjie Krog, the winner of every major literary prize in her native South Africa, a poet renowned for her taboo-breaking work and on-stage intensity.

t David Kirby and Barbara Hamby, husband-and-wife poets from Florida who offer “exhilarating, insightful and often very funny” accounts of life in both Europe and America.

Several poets are taking part in more than one event during the festival. For full details, call the box office.

For more details of the Ways With Words Southwold Literature Festival, see or call 01803 867373.

Full details of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival are available at The box office number is 01728 687110.