Literary festival

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Petworth gains its own mini literary festival as a spin-off from the summer’s main town festival.

Big names including Michael Morpurgo and Martin Bell have been confirmed for the Petworth Literary Weekend which runs from Thursday, November 10-Sunday, November 13 (tickets:

01798 344576).

Petworth festival artistic director Stewart Collins said: “This all cropped up when I was planning the 2011 festival. I wanted to include in the summer festival a number of talks and literary events, and we ended up having two or three during the festival.

“But in the course of making those connections with authors and publishers, another world of fascinating people and possibilities opened up.

“The phenomenon of literary festivals is something that has grown a lot, and I thought that we had a fantastic opportunity of putting on our own literary festival at a different time of year.”

Stewart was clear that it had to be separate from the main festival: “The festival itself is already packed. It would have meant moving some things or losing some things that I considered important to the festival. I just felt that we needed a stand-alone event.

With Michael Morpurgo available to speak about the new Spielberg film version of his novel War Horse and with veteran war correspondent Martin Bell available, things gelled around Remembrance weekend - though Stewart stressed war wasn’t to be an exclusive theme for the weekend.

“We have got a very wide range of speakers and books.”

The programme is:

Thursday, November 10: 7.30pm, Leconfield Hall, Edward Wake-Walker - A House for Spies;

Friday. 3pm, Leconfield Hall, Graham Stewart - Britannia 100 Documents that Shaped a Nation; 5pm, Leconfield Hall, William Hartston - The Things Nobody Knows; 7.30pm, Leconfield Hall, Deborah Bull, The Everyday Dancer.

Saturday: 11am, Leconfield Hall, Melanie Challenger - On Extinction; 1–4pm, Hampers Green, Community Centre, Tobias Till - Animation workshop; 2pm, Petworth House, Jane Brown -Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown – The Omnipotent Magician; 5pm, Leconfield Hall, Ian Bostridge - A Singer’s Notebook; 8pm, Leconfield Hall, Robin Ince - Robin Ince’s Bad Book Club

Sunday: 10am–1pm Hampers Green Community Centre, Tobias Till - Animation workshop; 3pm, St Mary’s Church Remembrance Service; 5pm, St Mary’s Church, Michael Morpurgo - War Horse; 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Martin Bell - For Whom the Bell Tolls.