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  • Sheila Hancock - Old Rage

    Sheila Hancock sat down to write a book about a serene and fulfilled old age - but Old Rage is not that book! Instead, she has written a gloriously irreverent memoir from the  frontline of declining years. Having weathered widowhood, she  has stormed through acting roles with an energy to confound the milestone birthdays. Dame Sheila shares her life as a daughter, a sister, a mother, an actor and a friend. She confronts bereavement, Brexit and lockdown without  faltering and, despite age and despite rage, she always finds reasons for laughter.

    In conversation with Susannah Simons
    When: Sunday 6th November 2022 @ 12noon
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Emma Farquharson
  • Justin Webb - The Gift of a Radio - My Childhood and Other Train Wrecks

    Justin Webb is the longest serving presenter of BBC Radio 4’s flagship news programme - Today. For almost four decades, he has been a voice and presence on the airwaves and  television, and has reported from around the world as a war correspondent. In his memoir, he traces an unhappy childhood through an extraordinary adolescence, to survive against a backcloth of Britain in the 70s with strikes, inflation and IRA bombings to  carve a distinguished career in media.

    John Humphreys says of Justin: Justin is a great broadcaster because he sounds like a real human being.  His hugely entertaining book helps explain why’

    Tickets: £12

    In conversation with Susannah Simons
    When: Sunday 6th November 2022 @ 2.30 pm
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Nick Pearson
  • Chris Patten - The Hong Kong Diaries

    In June 1992 Chris Patten went to Hong Kong as the last British Governor to prepare for handing back the British Colony to the Chinese in 1997. During these five years, he kept a diary chronicling the backstage battles which were to decide Hong Kong’s fate.  The Diaries give an insight into the difficulties of negotiating with the Chinese, how institutions of democracy could be strengthened and the need to ensure that a degree of self government would continue after handover. Patten also gives a powerful assessment of recent events and how best to manage matters.

    In conversation with Howard Davies
    When: Sunday 6th November 2022 @ 4.00 pm
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Liz and Richard Strang
  • Hugh Bonneville - Playing Under The Piano - From Downton to Darkest Peru

    One of Britain’s most distinguished actors, Hugh Bonneville, is familiar to worldwide audiences for his roles in Downton Abbey and the Paddington films. From getting his break as Third Shepherd in the school nativity play, to mistaking a Hollywood star for an estate agent, Hugh chronicles a brilliantly vivid picture of a career on stage and screen. A wickedly funny storyteller, Hugh also writes with poignancy of his Father’s dementia and his Mother who worked for the Secret Service and, with relish,  about working with divas, dames and a bear with a penchant for marmalade.

    In conversation with Julian Fellowes
    When: Sunday 6th November 2022 @ 6.00 pm
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Jean Edwards
  • Katie Hickman - Brave Hearted - The Dramatic Story of Women of the American West

    An extraordinary story of the women of the American West: whether hard-drinking, hard-living poker players and prostitutes of the new boom towns or the ordinary wives and mothers walking thousands of miles with handcarts, the Chinese slave brides working in laundries or the Native American women displaced by mass migration - all have the one trait in common of extreme resilience and courage. This is a gripping and heart rending narrative that covers the period from 1836 to 1880 when the US Census Bureau declared that the ‘frontier’ was no longer.

    An illustrated talk
    When: Monday 7th November 2022 @ 10.30am
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Giles Milton - Checkmate In Berlin - The First Battle of the Cold War

    Giles Milton, writer and historian, discusses the high stakes tale of grit, skullduggery and raw power which was to divide Berlin. From the politics of the Yalta Conference in 1945 to the Soviet stranglehold of the city, this is an epic story of the first battle of the Cold War and how it shaped the modern world. Berlin’s fate was to be carved up by the victorious Allies and Soviets and the rival personalities and ideologies ensured that the city would be an explosive battleground.

    In conversation with Barney White-Spunner
    When: Monday 7th November 2022 @ 12 noon
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
    Sponsored by: John and Sue Bradbury | Barry Mawhinney
  • Greg Mosse - The Coming Darkness

    Greg Mosse’s debut climate fiction novel has been described as “Bladerunner meets John Le Carre”. Set in an alternate near future in which global warming and pathogenic viruses have torn through the fabric of society, The Coming Darkness follows a secret operative, Alex Lamarque, trailing an eco-terrorist set on destabilising the controls placed on the global population in order to protect them from climate change. Mosse’s storytelling is complex and finely crafted and chillingly real.

    In conversation with Jason Goodwin
    When: Monday 7th November 2022 @ 2.00 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Joanna Quinn - The Whalebone Theatre

    From the day that a whale washes up on the beach at the Chilcombe estate in Dorset, twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel plants her flag and claims it as her own, determining to do things differently in her life. She moves with her siblings as a child in a traditional English manor, to an adult in wartime. Local writer Joanna Quinn brings us a brilliant, beguiling story of inheritance, imagination, courage, and loss, and of an irrepressible girl from a gloriously dysfunctional home who fights to carve her own story.

    In conversation with Olivia Glazebrook
    When: Monday 7th November 2022 @ 3.30 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Julia Samuel - Every Family Has A Story - How We Inherit Love & Loss

    Julia Samuel is a leading psychotherapist and author and her new book about families is written because she wanted to answer the questions we all ask: why some thrive in adversity and others fragment? Can family breakdown be predicted? Julia has looked deeply into her own troubled childhood as well as others’ to help her with her work. Retreating behind facades and defence mechanisms can unlock childhood traumas which can blight adult life through repression and denial.

    In conversation with Prue Keely
    When: Monday 7th November 2022 @ 5.00 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
    Sponsored by: Buffy Sacher
  • Nikki May - Wahala

    Ronke, Simi and Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English, and now in their thirties, they are looking to the future. When Isobel a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past. Local author, Nikki May, has written a darkly comic and subversive take on love, race and family. Her book Wahala will have readers laughing, crying and gasping in horror!

    In conversation with Olivia Glazebrook
    When: Monday 7th November 2022 @ 6.30 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Clover Stroud - The Red Of My Blood

    Clover Stroud is a writer and journalist. Her last book: My Wild & Sleepless Nights: A Mother’s Story was rated one of the best books of 2020. Her new bestseller has been described as a masterpiece. Aged 46, Clover’s sister Nell Gifford - founder of Gifford’s Circus - died suddenly of breast cancer. Clover charts the first year after Nell’s death which split her own life apart. It is a perilous journey which is both heartbreaking yet life affirming, in which death and life exist vividly beside one another.

    In conversation with Sophy Roberts
    When: Tuesday 9th November 2022 @ 12 noon
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Alan Titchmarsh - The Gift - An ordinary life. An extraordinary choice.

    Unquestionably a national treasure, gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through his television career which includes more recently Love Your Weekend which has proved to be the most popular ITV Sunday morning programme of all time. Along with his gardening books, Alan has written four volumes of memoir, a Gardener’s Bedside Book of Poetry and still found time to write 12 novels. His energy is unbounded and his latest novel The Gift is a powerful story about the wonder of the natural world and how it binds families together.

    In conversation with Sally Laverack
    When: Tuesday 9th November 2022 @ 2.30 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
    Sponsored by: Georgia Langton
  • Anthony Sattin - Nomads - The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World

    Award winning writer and journalist, Anthony Sattin, takes us on a journey with those nomadic peoples who effected change. Humans have been on the move for most of history. Even after urban advancement lured people into the great cities, most continued to live lightly on the move outside the pages of history. They built monuments, tamed the horse, fashioned the bow, fought with the Greeks and hastened the end of the Roman Empire. Their free movement brought a cultural flourishing to Eurasia enabling the Renaissance and changing history.

    In conversation with Jason Goodwin
    When: Tuesday 9th November 2022 @ 5.30 pm
    Where: The Bull Hotel
    Sponsored by: Adam Tindall
  • Manni Coe & Reuben Coe - brother. do. you. love. me.

    Reuben, aged 38, had been living in a home providing specialised care for adults with learning disabilities. For months he had been non-verbal, cut off from everyone he loved. In despair, he sent his older brother a text message: ‘brother. do. you. love. me.’ Immediately, Manni left his home in Spain, took Reuben out of care and moved them both into a cottage in the countryside where they discovered how to rebuild the bonds of brotherhood. Through their story they explore how, individually and collectively, we can all take better care of each other.

    In conversation with Sophy Roberts

    When: Tuesday 9th November 2022 @ 7.00 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - Good Comfort - Best Loved Favourites Made Better For You

    In Good Comfort, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall makes our favourite foods healthier using the best whole ingredients, celebrated in all their colourful and seasonal diversity. Ultimately, he leads us on a journey to tweak our tastebuds and pamper our palates so that we can take as much pleasure – and ultimately more – from familiar dishes that we know will also do us good. With River Cottage also coming back to our screens this year, we take time to celebrate this wonderful local food hero who brings both pleasure and politics to the heart of what we eat.

    If you wish, you may follow the event with a sumptuous meal cooked by the Sladers Yard kitchen and inspired by the recipes in Hugh's book.

    In conversation with Prue Keely

    £40 3 Course Dinner
    When: Tuesday 9th November 2022 @ 6.30 pm
    Where: Sladers Yard
    Sponsored by: Rachel and Allan James
  • Max Egremont - The Glass Wall - Lives on the Baltic Frontier

    Few countries have suffered from the convulsions and bloodshed of twentieth century Europe than those in the eastern Baltic. Small nations such Latvia and Estonia found themselves caught between the giants of Germany and Russia, on a route across which armies surged or retreated. Their independence and safety is threatened yet again by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Max Egremont reveals a fascinating part of Europe, on a frontier whose limits may still be in doubt.

    In conversation with James Crowden

    When: Wednesday 9th November 2022 @ 2.30 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
    Sponsored by: Helen and Andrew Carless | Rachel and Allan James
  • Andy West - The Life Inside - A Memoir of Family, Philosophy & Prison

    What’s the point of teaching philosophy to prisoners? Why feel guilty because members of your close family have been to prison? These are the agonising conundrums Andy West struggles with in his professional and personal life, which he recounts in a raw and unsentimental way. Questions about responsibility, forgiveness, shame, truth are the stuff of everyday life, but more so of prison.

    In conversation with Prue Keely

    When: Wednesday 9th November 2022 @ 4.00 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Hannah Bourne-Taylor - Fledgling

    The daughter of a biologist and conservationist, Hannah Bourne-Taylor, grew up in the English countryside. In her late 20s, she found herself living in rural Ghana for her husband’s work. Without a job or purpose of her own, she sank into depression, suffering from acute anxiety. This is both a raw and yet uplifting account of Hannah’s unexpected bond with the land around her and, in particular, with two wild birds which she rescues and raises before releasing into the wild. Brimming with determination and hope, her story reminds us all that nature can provide solace in the most unexpected ways.

    In conversation with Olivia Glazebrook
    When: Thursday 10th November 2022 @ 12 noon
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Ben Short - Burn - A Story of Fire, Woods and Healing

    Local writer, Ben Short, evokes the transformative power of nature forged in the woods of West Dorset. After years of an anxiety disorder and depression, Ben left a seemingly successful life in London to recover a sense of himself. Putting the years of suffering behind him and starting afresh he immersing himself in the ancient ways of woods and fire and the life of a charcoal burner. This is a frank and inspiring memoir.

    In conversation with Jason Webster

    When: Thursday 10th November 2022 @ 6.30 pm
    Where: The Bull Ballroom
  • Maggie O'Farrell - The Marriage Portrait

    Award winning author of the bestselling Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel is on a very different theme to that of Shakespeare’s tragic young son. The Marriage Portrait is a vivid evocation of the beauty and brutality of Renaissance Italy and of the short life of a young woman whose proximity to power places her in mortal danger. In 1560, aged 15, Lucrezia di Medici replaces her dead sister as the fiancee to Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara. Lucrezia suddenly realises Alfonso’s sole intention is to kill her. O’Farrell has written a compelling renaissance thriller. In conversation with Sally Laverack
    When: Friday 11th November 2022 @ 12 noon
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Carol Hammick
  • Melvyn Bragg - Back in the Day - A Memoir

    Melvyn Bragg revisits his childhood and youth growing up above a pub in the bustling Cumbrian market town of Wigton surrounded by the inspirational beauty of the lakeland landscape. From the early years alone with his mother, while his father fought in the war, to the moment he left for Oxford University and pastures new, this is the captivating memoir of a working class boy with a passion for books. His is an insight into what shaped his life as writer, broadcaster and champion of The Arts. Melvyn is the supremo of the award winning South Bank Show since 1977 and has hosted BBC Radio Four’s addictive In Our Time since 1998. In conversation with Bryan Appleyard
    When: Friday 11th November 2022 @ 2.30 pm
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Robert and Diana Clarke
  • Bryan Appleyard - The Car - The Rise and Fall of the Machine that made the Modern World

    Award winning feature writer and journalist, Bryan Appleyard, celebrates the immense drama and beauty of the car, the embodiment of genius and the limitless power of its complex systems. More than any other technology, cars have transformed our culture. Cars have created vast wealth as well as novel dreams of freedom and mobility. They have transformed our sense of distance and made the world infinitely more available - inspiring cinema, music and literature; they have need for roads, bridges, filling stations, huge factories and global supply chains and have re-engineered the world. He tells the story of the rise and fall of the incredible machine that has made the modern world what it is today. In conversation with Boris Starling
    When: Friday 11th November 2022 @ 4.30 pm
    Where: Electric Palace
  • Kit de Waal - Without Warning and Only Sometimes - Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood

    From award-winning author of My Name is Leon, comes a childhood memoir which is stinging, warm-hearted, and true. In a household of opposites and extremes, and caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham, Kit de Waal and her siblings knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape. Without Warning and Only Sometimes is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer, went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day. In conversation with Lisa Blower
    When: Friday 11th November 2022 @ 6.30 pm
    Where: Electric Palace
  • Simon Sebag Montefiore - The World

    Internationally bestselling author, Simon Sebag Montefiore, gives a dazzling celebration of the human story, from caves to drones. Unlike any previous world history, he uses ‘family’ to tell the story. From places as diverse as Haiti, Cambodia and Congo as well as Europe, China and the Americas, Montefiore steers us through themes of war, migration, plague, religion and technology to the people at the heart of the human drama. In conversation with Prue Keely
    When: Saturday 12th November 2022 @ 12noon
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Rosi and Clive de Ruig | Annabelle and David Nabarro
  • Colin Thubron - The Amur River - Between Russia and China

    In his 80th year, Colin Thubron, acclaimed travel writer and novelist, made a dramatic and ambitious journey along the 3000 mile river that divides China and Russia. The Amur River is almost unknown and Thubron’s journey from the river’s secret source in Mongolia flowing through Siberia to its giant mouth in the Pacific, charts a hair-raising adventure which offers a unique perspective of two of the world’s superpowers.

    In conversation with Christian Tyler
    When: Saturday 12th November 2022 @ 2.30pm
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Francesca Radcliffe
  • David Owen - Riddle, Mystery and Enigma - Two Hundred Years of British-Russian Relations

    Britain’s relationship with Russia is surprisingly under-explored. When the two countries formed a pragmatic alliance at Navarino in 1827, relations then fell apart with the Crimean War. Not until the 1917 Revolution did Winston Churchill - opposed to Bolshevism - advocate diplomacy with Russia which necessitated allying with the Soviets against Nazi Germany in WWII. Bringing us into the 21st century, Lord Owen, a former Foreign Secretary, chronicles how both countries have responded to their geopolitical decline.

    In conversation with John Dean
    When: Saturday 12th November 2022 @ 4.00pm
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Tim Clarke
  • PJ Harvey - Orlam

     PJ Harvey needs no introduction. In her book Orlam, drawing on rituals, children’s songs, chants and superstitions of the rural West Country, 9 year old Ira-Abel creates the twin realm through which she can make sense of an increasingly confusing and frightening world. The result is a poem-sequence of light and shadow. Written in Dorset dialect, Orlam reveals PJ Harvey as not only a talented songwriter, but a gifted poet – whose formal skill, and transforming eye and ear, has produced a strange and moving poem like no other.

    In conversation with Greta Stoddart £28 2 course dinner
    When: Saturday 12th November 2022 @ 6.00pm
    Where: Sladers Yard
  • Jeremy Bowen - The Making of the Modern Middle East - A Personal History

    Jeremy Bowen is the BBC’s Middle East Editor and, since 1989, has reported from around the world covering thirteen wars including Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chechnya, Assad’s Syria and Netanyahu’s Israel. Based on his acclaimed podcast, his new book takes us a journey through the Middle East and explores the power games that have wreaked devastation on civilians as their leaders jostle for political, religious and economic control. Bowen explains the complex past and troubled present of a region that at times seems ungovernable.

    In conversation with Barney White-Spunner
    When: Saturday 12th November 2022 @ 7.00pm
    Where: Electric Palace
    Sponsored by: Martin and Lindsay Bowdery

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