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The Isle of Wight Literary Festival

At the weekend I attended the Isle of Wight Literary Festival which is only a short hop, skip and a jump from where I live on the south coast in Brighton. The festival is now in its fourth year but this was the first time for me.

The festival was billed as ‘something for everyone’ and there really was a fantastic line up of everyone from Mary Berry and Alan Titchmarsh, Peter and Dan Snow, Michael Morpurgo, and Simon Callow to writers such as Sophie Hannah. S J Watson, Victoria Hislop, Jill Mansell, Matt Haig, and Cathy Rentzenbrink. The non-fiction part of the programme was put together by Maggie Hanbury of The Hanbury Agency and the fiction side by Georgina Moore – the Communications Director at Headline. At one point, judging by my Twitter feed, it seemed like half the London publishing industry was there.

The whole event was beautifully organised. There were plenty of people (all volunteers) guiding you as to where to go, a marquee and food court charmingly decorated with cosy snugs to chat, and jazz playing.

The main venue where the majority of the events took place was Northwood House, a Grade II listed manor house set in parkland. The events took place in elegant high ceilinged drawing rooms, all scarlet and Wedgwood blue, gilt and dark wood panelling. There were other venues dotted around Cowes too but all within easy reach and clearly signposted (always a plus for someone with absolutely no sense of direction like me).

I could quite happily have gone for the duration (Wednesday until Sunday) but sadly could only get there for the weekend. Even so there was dozens of authors I wanted to see – Rachel Joyce, Patrick Gale, Polly Samson, Kate Hamer and Sarah Leipciger to single a few out..In the coming days, I’ll write up a snapshot of those events. All I need now is the dates for next year’s festival to put in my diary.

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