Lavenham Literary Festival is a real page-turner

Reverend Richard Coles (far right) with BBC radio broadcaster JP Devlin and Chair of Lavenham Literary Festival, Pat Rockall
Reverend Richard Coles (far right) with BBC radio broadcaster JP Devlin and Chair of Lavenham Literary Festival, Pat Rockall

Book-lovers were given an insight into a writer’s imagination with a line-up of talks at this year’s Lavenham Literary Festival.

The three-day event opened with a talk by author Charles Abel-Smith, whose published book, From Eton to Ypres, compiles letters and diary entries from his great grandfather’s experience during the First World War.

The Rev Richard Coles, host of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, and former contestant on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, was among the popular line-up which resulted in a packed-out village hall of up to 200 visitors.

He joined a lively discussion with BBC Radio 4 broadcaster, JP Devlin, where he shared his experience as a contestant on the ballroom celebrity dancing show where he was voted off in the second week.

“He spoke about how much he enjoyed the show but would have liked to stay longer,” said Colin Rockall, festival secretary.

Mr Coles also explored his time in the 1980s band The Communards, his role as a priest and memoir Bringing in the Sheaves.

American-British history novelist Tracy Chevalier discussed the inspiration behind her latest book, New Boy, which is an adaption of William Shakespeare’s play Othello.

She took part in the Shakespeare Project, initiated by Hogarth Press which launched a series of books by well-known authors, rewritten from the playwright’s masterpieces.

Historian and author Tracy Borman discussed her latest novel, The Private lives of Tudors, which complemented the medieval village setting of Lavenham.

“She gave a really fascinating insight into how the Tudors lived their lives,” added Mr Rockall. “She’s one of the festival favourites.”