Thousands of people flocked to Bridport last week for the annual literary festival.
Venues were packed to see and hear a variety of eminent writers discuss a wide range of subjects including politics, nature, fiction, poetry, travel, history and sport.
Audiences acclaimed the 19th festival, affectionately known as BridLit, as the best yet, and plans are already being made for next year.
BridLit Director Tanya Bruce-Lockhart said: ‘Being the architect of a literary festival has its risks. Will authors make the pilgrimage to Bridport – will we attract audiences?
‘But BridLit is now in its 19th year. November is a fallow time of year, but Bridport becomes alive, bringing together lovers of literature and those who read books from across the county and even further afield.’
Mrs Bruce-Lockhart paid tribute to the speakers, interviewers, venues, volunteer stewards, sponsors, audience and the BridLit team.
She added: ‘Our town shines and BridLit basks in reflected sunshine. Next year is our 20th Festival – Sunday 3 – Saturday 9 November – and we hope there will be much to celebrate.’
There were packed houses for broadcaster and journalist Clive Myrie, political activist Alastair Campbell – who stepped in at the eleventh hour for the BBC’s international editor Jeremy Bowen, who is reporting on the current conflict in the Middle East – rewilding expert Isabella Tree, Chris Bryant MP in conversation with former West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin, and Guardian political sketch writer John Crace.
But it wasn’t just politics that grabbed the BridLit audience’s attention.
Jon Woolcott’s Real Dorset at the Bull Hotel was a real draw, as was novelist Patrick Gale’s Book Club talk at Bridport Arts Centre and novelist Nikki May’s creative writing workshop at the Bull. Dr Jim Down’s stories from intensive care proved popular as did a talk by Fiona Davison about women gardeners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
There was something for everyone, including children and young people with events at Bridport Library, Mercato Italiano on the Dreadnought Trading Estate and Bridport Arts Centre where The Bank of Dreams and Nightmares participants put on their own show after workshops hosted by award-winning poet Joelle Taylor.
Bridport’s Sir John Colfox Academy also became the venue for talks by husband and wife team Peter Snow and Ann MacMillan, and Adam Nicholson.
Slader’s Yard at West Bay provided an intimate setting for events featuring music, poetry and cookery.
And the Tithe Barn at Symondsbury was the venue for the annual George Millar Literary Dinner where the guest speaker was Ben Macinture who talked about his book, Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle.
West Dorset law firm Kitson & Trotman were this year’s main sponsors, with individual events sponsored by a variety of businesses and individuals.