The Wantage Betjeman Festival – September 11th-17th

The Wantage Betjeman Festival of Literature and Poetry is a brand-new festival that, despite its name, will not be simply centred around John Betjeman, but will celebrate literature, poetry and writing of all kinds . . . . . . .

It takes place in Wantage from Sunday 11th September to Saturday 17th September and Blackwell’s is pleased to be both a sponsor of this inaugural local festival and a co-organiser of some of the events. The full programme can be found here:
and tickets are available now for the four events which we are sponsoring, namely:

Wednesday 14th September at 6pm: Colin Tudge: “Fellow Creatures”
Thursday 15th September at 4pm: Christopher Lloyd: “The What on Earth? of Natural History”
Thursday 15th September at 6pm: Alexandra Harris: “Romantic Moderns”
Friday 16th September at 6pm: SJ Parris and James Aitcheson: Historical Fiction Panel

All these events are taking place at the Civic Hall in Wantage. Tickets are £5 each – except for the Christopher Lloyd event for which they’re £3 each. To obtain tickets, please contact our Customer Services Department here at Blackwell’s Bookshop on 01865 333623.

Further details:

Colin Tudge – ‘Fellow Creatures’
Wednesday 14th September at 6pm

This very special talk sees Colin Tudge talk about the worldview that lies behind three of his recent books – one that has to do with respect for fellow creatures, and all that goes with this. He will also address the role of science in framing that worldview and the way that science has been perverted by an ethos based on acquisition and power.

Christopher Lloyd
Thursday 15th September at 4pm

In this talk, join Christopher Lloyd, for an illustrated look at life on Earth from the very beginning to the present day (plus questions and answers) in just one hour! Using his latest book, “The What on Earth? of Natural History”, he will use 20 everyday objects to explain the seismic moments in the story of Earth’s natural history. Highly educational, completely mind-boggling and thrillingly entertaining!

Alexandra Harris: “Romantic Moderns”
Thursday 15th September at 6pm

Alexandra Harris’s knowledge of and enthusiasm her subject is infectious and dazzling and nobody should miss out on this talk. During the 1930s and 1940s, a rich network of cultural and personal encounters was the backdrop for a modern English renaissance, with English artists exploring what it meant to be alive at that moment and in England.

John Betjeman, Florence White, Evelyn Waugh, Elizabeth Bowen, the Sitwells, John Piper, Cecil Beaton and more feature in this stunning reassessment of English cultural life during this time. Full of anecdotes and rich in detail, never has it been truer to say that an author has ‘brought to life’ a period of time about which they are writing.

Historical Fiction Panel – Featuring S J Parris and
James Aitcheson
Friday 16th September at 6pm
This panel aims to provide an insight into what makes historical fiction writing so thrilling. What is it like to write in this genre? How do readers respond? How much and what sort of research is involved?

S J Parris’ historical thrillers, ‘Heresy’ and ‘Prophecy’, set in Elizabethan England and featuring Giordano Bruno, renegade monk, philosopher and heretic, have delighted fans of the genre and proved incredibly successful novels. James Aitcheson’sa debut novel, ‘Sworn Sword’  is set in 1069 during the turbulent aftermath of the Norman Conquest.

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