The Salisbury International Arts Festival in England returns at the end of May with a host of arts events covering literature, film, theatre, music and more. The Festival’s main theme this year is ‘relate’ with an artistic focus on storytelling which is reflected across all the events. This, the first Zap! BANG! feature covering the festival, takes a look at who will be featuring in the literature section.
Kate Adie, Nobody’s Child
Thursday, June 8
Distinguished broadcaster Kate Adie strikes at the heart of the topic of relate with Nobody’s Child, an insight into the extraordinarily moving stories of foundlings. Adopted herself, she explores what makes us who we are and discusses the importance of our family and ancestors. One of the highlights of the festival.
*Doris Pilkington, Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, in conversation.
Monday, June 5*
Author of the book that became adapted into a hit film Rabbit Proof Fence, Doris Pilkington, will talk with fellow Aborigine Lillian Holt about her life, writing and issues of reconciliation. Doris was forcibly removed from her family at a young age and feels that by writing about her traumas she has helped to educate others. This forms part of the biggest ever Aboriginal Cultural Showcase presented by a UK Festival, and will be something rather special.
*Lilian Holt, Reconciliation lecture
Wednesday, June 7*
Lilian Holt takes centre stage sharing her own story and issues of Aboriginality, considering the notion of universality and how we relate as a global community.
*Margaret Atwood, The Tent with George Saunders The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, in conversation.
Tuesday, May 30*
Canadian Booker Prize winner, Margaret Atwood, and American novelist George Saunders discuss their latest works. The Tent is a colleciton of smart and entertaining illustrated short stories. Saunders’ work mixes absurdist wit with a dark vision in a fable of power and impotence.
*Sue Clifford, England in Particular.
Tuesday, June 6*
Co-author of England in Particular with Angela King, Sue Clifford will be the speaker at a literary supper in the Salisbury Cathedral Refectory. A book about the extraordinary richness of our everyday surroundings, it catalogues just some of the local distinctiveness of England, from apples and dialect, to kippers and churches.
*John Simpson, Days from a Different World.
Frday, June 2*
Taking a step back into his childhood, World Affairs Editor for the BBC, John Simpson, recalls the somewhat strange and often touching story of his upbringing.
*Fergal Keane, All of These People – A Memoir.
Sunday, June 4*
Another of the BBC’s most distinguished correspondents, Fergal Keane, gives a vivid narrative of life as a front-line journalist.
*Anna Massey,Telling Some Tales, in conversation with Stewart Collins.
Friday, June 2*
Actress Anna Massey opens the door on the world of theatre and television and gives a glimpse of her 50 year career which included a BAFTA award for her role as Edith Hope in the television adaptation of Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac.
*Melvyn Bragg, Twelve Books that Changed the World
Saturday, June 10*
Broadcaster and novelist, Melvyn Bragg, discusses his new book and television series. This is a diverse collection of British authors — from Darwin to Mary Wollstonecraft — which reflects the extraordinary range of genius in these islands.
*Kate Mosse, Labyrinth
Thursday, June 1*
The co-founder of the Orange Prize for Fiction will be talking about her third novel: a time-slip adventure story steeped in the legends, secrets and history of the Cathars, Carcassonne and the Pyrenees. A Sunday Times Number One bestseller and a ‘Richard & Judy Book Club’ selection.
*Richard Dawkins, selected works
Sunday, June 11*
Professor Richard Dawkins, one of our greatest living scientists and maybe best known for his book, The Selfish Gene, makes a rare appearance accompanied by his wife the actress Lalla Ward. They will read from and discuss Dawkins’ books including his latest, The Ancestor’s Tale.
*Michael Morpurgo, Kensuke’s Kingdom
Saturday, June 10*
Following a city-wide community reading project in Salisbury distributing Michael Morpurgo’s book free to children and a series of competitions, Michael himself will discuss Kensuke’s Kingdom in an event chaired by James Naughtie.
*James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia, in conversation with Fred Pearce, The Last Generation.
Thursday, June 1*
Visionary environmental scientist James Lovelock discusses his new book with environmental consultant for New Scientist magazine, Fred Pearce. This will be a chance to get one of the first insights into Fred’s new book, due to be published in June.
Other events in the covering literature at this year’s festival will be Rabbi Lionel Blue and Zurich-based Jungian analyst Ian Baker in conversation on Wednesday, June 7. Included in the discussion will be that of Lionel Blue’s autobiography, Hitchhiking to Heaven. Birdspotters will be delighted to hear that Graeme Gibson will be giving a talk with reference to his book A Bedside Book of Birds on Tuesday, May 30. Fine storytellers Helen Dunmore and Michele Roberts will discuss their work on Friday, June 9, Barry Ferguson will give an illustrated talk on how to set George Herbert’s poetry to music on Thursday, June 8. The fashioning of a factual and fictional narrative out of ancient history will be the topic of the day when Tom Holland and William Napier take to the stage on Tuesday, June 6. Find out the truth about the lack of minerals in food with Graham Harvey on Friday, June 9. There will be an open mic Poetry Cafe on Thursday, May 25 with Karen McCarthy — call 01722 710944 if you are interested.
If that is not enough, the children’s literature programme will include the chance to meet the author of Wizardology, Dugald Steer. Harry Potter fans will be queuing up at this event to meet a real wizard who will demonstrate some exciting and dangerous experiments and teach children all they need to know to become an apprentice wizard. Award-winning author Georgia Byng will talk about her novel Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time-Travel Adventure — children will learn about time-travel, Molly Moon and must be prepared to be hypnotized. Charlie Higson will also be on hand on Sunday, May 28 to talk Bond, young James Bond!
For tickets and full details about Salisbury International Arts Festival visit www.salisburyfestival.co.uk or call the box office 01722 320333.