This year’s Bridport Literary Festival has been a bestseller, with events packed out and a line-up to appeal to all tastes.
Festival director Tanya Bruce-Lockhart declared 2019 to be a ‘vintage year’. And she is already thinking about the 2020 festival.
She said: “Two thirds of events sold out within a fortnight of the box office opening up.  Highlights included the new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage who read from his new volume of magical poems about water and the sea.”
The 15th annual festival was a hit with audiences and speakers alike. Booker longlisted Max Porter, whose novel, Lanny, is shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year, loved the town and local area, calling into Bridport’s Wild and Homeless Books, as did cricket broadcasting legend Henry Blofeld.
Maggi Ouin, from Broadwindsor, went to 17 events. She said: “It was another brilliant BridLit week – huge thanks to Tanya and her team.
“Highlights for me included the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, magnificent Max Porter and the inspirational Isabella Tree. “
Regular BridLit goer Keith Palmer said his highlights included Henry Blofeld – “very funny, often scurrilous, but you felt he could have gone for ever – and we would not have minded.”
He also enjoyed Mark Galeotti’s talk about Vladimir Putin’s influence and history.
“Some audience disagreement led to a lively question time,” he said.
“David Nicholls’ talk included both novel writing and film and television script writing, which gave an interesting insight into both genres.”
Local author Maria Donovan, who won the flash fiction category and Dorset award in this year’s international Bridport Prize, spoke at Bridport Library with Gail Aldwin and Rosanna Ley. She said: “We were very pleased that our event, Spirit of Place, sold out had such a friendly and knowledgeable audience.
“This was our first experience of taking part in Bridport Literature Festival and the first time that Bridport library hosted a Bridlit event. It proved to be a lovely venue, a versatile space with plenty of light. Surrounded by books, we three authors, who are also friends, very much enjoyed the chance to talk about the meaning of spirit of place in our work.”
Sarah Thompson of Bridport said: “My festival highlight has to be hearing Henry Hemming talk about Our Man in New York. What an incredible story, 80 years ago and yet still so relevant today.”
Keith Hatch, from Bridport, said: “This year’s festival had a fantastic and varied line up of authors and the main problem was finding the time to attend talks.
“Two that stood out for me were Christy Leferti, who gave a powerful account of the inspiration behind her book, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, and Isabella Tree’s truly inspiring talk about rewilding and the transformation of her farm in West Sussex.
“I’m looking forward to 2020 already – and will probably need to book a few days off next year.”