What I’m Looking Forward to at The Bath Festival 2017

Around this time last year I went to a talk by author Tracy Chevalier at the Bath Literature Festival. It was fantastic to hear about her new book At the Edge of the Orchard and after having a copy signed by her, I wrote my first book review.

Instead of the Literature Festival, this year there is going to be new multi-arts festival in Bath from 19th to 28th May. With literature and music at its heart, The Bath Festival features an amazing line up of over 130 events across 10 days and I can’t wait! Combining two of my favourite things, the beautiful city of Bath and books, I’ve compiled a list of all the talks and workshops I’m looking forward to – I just wish I could go to all of them!


Party in the City

Friday 19th May


To kick off The Bath Festival with a bang, there will be a big party in the city on Friday 19th May. On the night there will be over 2000 musicians performing in over 30 venues, including churches and museums, across the city.


I want to go because… who doesn’t love a good party? Plus it’s free to attend!


Mary Berry

Saturday 20th May: 11am – 12pm


Bath babe and Queen of cakes Mary Berry will be talking about her life in cookery as well as her new book Mary Berry Everyday, which is included in the ticket price.


I want to go because… I need my fix of Mary Berry now there’s no more Bake Off with her!


Elizabeth Cowling

Monday 22nd May: 10:15 – 11:15am


Elizabeth Cowling is the curator of the Picasso Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. She will bring his creative process, inspiration and motivation to life with a look at his most famous and less well known portraits.


I want to go because… I really admire Picasso’s work and it will be interesting to learn about his portraits.


The Breakfast Club: Sarah Moss, Sarah Perry and Gwendoline Riley

Thursday 25th May: 10 – 11am


Bath Festival director Alex Clark has chosen three very different titles that illustrate how unexpected and thrilling novels can be. With Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, Gwendoline Riley’s First Love and Sarah Moss’ The Tidal Zone being discussed by the authors themselves, I’m sure they will cover some interesting topics.


I want to go because… I’m reading The Essex Serpent at the moment and I love discovering new books. Also I hear coffee and croissants will be on offer!


Samantha Ellis: Take Courage

Friday 26th May: 11:45am – 12:45pm


Playwright and journalist Samantha Ellis pays tribute to Anne, the forgotten Brontë sister overshadowed by her siblings, in her new book Take Courage: Anne Brontë and Art of Life. A personal and poignant journey into Anne’s life, Samantha Ellis will discuss her book and present us with a brave feminist well ahead of her time.


I want to go because… I’m a big Brontë fan and want to find out more about Anne and her sisters after visiting the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth last month.


Victoria Hislop: Cartes Postales from Greece

Friday 26th May: 2:00 – 3:00pm


The perfect summer holiday read, Victoria Hislop’s Cartes Postales from Greece is an enchanting story illustrated with authentic photos that bring the beauty of Greece to life. Victoria Hislop will take us all around Greece’s hidden corners, paying tribute to its rich culture, both modern and ancient.


I want to go because… Cartes Postales from Greece is the ideal escapism and I want to be transported to a beautiful Greek island as Victoria Hislop discusses it, if just for an hour.


Book Cover Workshop

Saturday 27th May: 10 – 11am


You can create your very own book cover with paper artist and illustrator Jessica Palmer. She will teach you about the intricate process of creating a book jacket and how to make one from paper, using different colours, textures and mixed media.


I want to go because… I love making things and it will be fascinating to find out about the creative process behind creating a book cover.


Madeleine Shaw

Saturday 27th May: 10 – 11am


Bestselling nutritional health coach Madeleine Shaw will discuss her new book, A Year of Beautiful Eating. Filled with over 100 nutritious and wholesome recipes, A Year of Beautiful Eating shows us how to eat our way to health and beauty all year round.


I want to go because… I follow Madeleine Shaw on Instagram and have a bit of a girl-crush on her!


Bryony Gordon: Mad Girl and Beyond

Saturday 27th May: 11:45am – 12:45pm


Bryony Gordon, acclaimed columnist and bestselling author, will be talking to Cathy Rentzenbrink about her struggles with mental health, which she opens up about in her book Mad Girl.


I want to go because… Mad Girl is on my ‘to be read’ pile and I’m intrigued to hear more about Bryony Gordon’s inspiring mental health journey. I’ve also read Cathy Rentzenbrink’s heartbreaking The Last Act of Love and the discussion between her and Bryony will be dynamic, motivational and probably emotional!


Laura Barnett and Kathryn Williams

Saturday 27th May: 5:15 – 6:45pm


Bestselling author of The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett will be discussing her new book, Greatest Hits. The story of a former 70’s rock star, Cass Wheeler, Greatest Hits teaches us what it is to live a fulfilled life and make peace with our mistakes as she looks back over her tumultuous life. Singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams will also perform some songs inspired by the novel.


I want to go because… The Versions of Us was one of the best books I read last year and I can’t wait to hear about Laura Barnett’s next novel.


You can take a look at the brochure for The Bath Festival here. With so much to see and do, I’ve only picked out a handful of the many events taking place over the 10 days. Whether you live near Bath or not, put the date in your diary as it looks like it’s going to be a great celebration of literature and music. Let me know in the comments below which talks, workshops or events you’d like to go to.