1,500 participate in first Literary Festival

Bude’s first ever Literary Festival which took place last week has been hailed a huge success, attracting more than 1,500 participants over the five-day festival. The inaugural event, hosted by Bude-Stratton Town Council, saw some big literary names and acts visit Bude alongside a many local authors, musicians and performers.

All events during the festival were incredibly well received – perhaps most notably the Q&A session with Raynor Winn, author of the bestselling The Salt Path, which saw a sold-out Ivor Potter Hall at The Parkhouse Centre. Other highlights included an evening with comedian Andy Parsons, Patrick Gale, the Great Literary Quiz and walking literary tours of Bude with Dawn Robinson-Walsh.

In total, there were 75 performances, readings, workshops, competitions and school talks during the festival, which took place at four different venues – Bude Library, The Castle, the Parkhouse Centre and the Falcon Hotel.

BSTC’s Events Officer, Luna Redhead, was delighted by the positive feedback from all those who took part and came along to experience the festival. “It was really great to see the town buzzing, and to welcome such distinguished authors and performers to our first ever Literary Festival,” she said.

“To have attracted such large numbers to an inaugural event is fantastic, and a real testament to the hard work involved by so many people. Special thanks must go to Richard Wolfenden-Brown from North Coast Arts, who programmed the festival, along with his amazing team of 20 volunteer Bookworms, as well as to Castle Manager Mark Berridge and all the dedicated staff at the Library and Parkhouse Centre. And, of course, festival sponsors Spencer Thorn Bookshop were just brilliant, as were Visit Bude with all their support,” Luna added.

Richard Wolfenden-Brown said he had been overwhelmed by the support of local people and visitors alike, in what felt like a “literary whirlwind blowing through the town”.

“To think that 1,500 people in total engaged with all the diverse elements of the festival, which highlighted the work of local authors and musicians as well as attracting household names and award-winning authors to Bude, is so encouraging,” Richard said. “People of all ages got involved and authors led workshops with local school children in Bude, Stratton, Marhamchurch and Morwenstow.”

“The feedback to date has been very positive,” Richard added. “One family, who happened to be visiting Bude last week said they would actually plan their holiday around the festival next year!”

“Bude Stratton Town Council staff should be cheered for initiating and supporting this exciting festival, which has the potential to develop further into the future. The support of festival sponsor Spencer Thorn was also instrumental in ensuring the success of the week, as was the sheer hard work of 20 ‘Bookworm’ Volunteers who acted as stewards, hosts, chauffeurs, booksellers and Festival Office staff. North Coast Arts was delighted to be part of it,” said Richard.