The national treasure that is Melvyn Bragg will be on The Electric Palace stage on Friday 11 November, talking about his memoir, Back In The Day, to journalist Bryan Appleyard.

It’s all part of a fabulous Friday with three very exceptional reasons to welcome award winning feature writer and journalist Bryan Appleyard to this year’s BridLit.

At 2.30pm he will be in conversation with Melvyn Bragg about an honest, poignant and captivating narrative of a childhood and youth spent growing up in the bustling market town of Wigton, surrounded by  the inspirational landscape of  Cumbria, to the moment he left for Oxford University and subsequently forged a glittering career in the media as both Champion of Culture and the supremo of television’s flagship arts programme The South Bank Show and BBC Radio 4’s addictive In Our Time.

At 4.30pm, Appleyard will then give a short appreciation and celebration of his great friend, James Lovelock CH CBE FRS, the British independent scientist and originator of The Gaia Theory who lived at Abbotsbury and died in the summer on his 101st birthday.  

Lovelock is cited as one of the world’s top 100 intellectuals. The Gaia Theory considers the Earth a living and evolving system, striving to regulate itself so that contemporary life can flourish. Bryan and James became great friends over the years and shared a great many propositions.

At 4.30pm, Appleyard will then be in conversation with local author, Boris Starling, about his newly published book, The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that made the Modern World, an event for those with an interest in social history as much as the petrolheads among us. 

More than any other technology, cars have transformed our culture.  Almost everything we now need, want, imagine or aspire to assumes the existence of cars in all their complex systems. 

They have transformed our sense of distance and make the world infinitely more available – inspiring cinema, music and literature.  They need roads, bridges, huge factories and global supply chains.  We read this through the stories of the Ford model T, the brilliant-red Mercedes Benz made by workers for Nelson Mandela, and even in the salvation of the Volkswagen Beetle by Major Ivan Hirst.

Our final fabulous Friday event is Kit de Waal who will be appearing at The Electric Palace at 6.30pm.

De Waal has a connection with Bridport as winner of the Bridport Prize in 2014 and 2015 and as judge in 2017. She returns to talk about her latest book Without Warning and Only Sometimes.  

Her debut novel My Name is Leon gained critical acclaim and has now rightly found its way on to the school exam syllabus, as well as being adapted for a one-hour BBC film. 

Here at BridLit she will be talking with fellow writer Lisa Blower about her memoir, telling stories of growing up with her siblings in 1960s Birmingham in a strict religious household, and looking for a way to break free through a love of books and writing. This work is both unflinching and heart-warming, and we are thrilled to host Kit in what promises to be a fantastic event.