You are currently viewing Impressive line up as literary festival makes welcome return

Impressive line up as literary festival makes welcome return

LITERARY festival Ways With Words makes a welcome return on the Dartington Hall Estate from July 8 after a two-year absence.

As ever, the 10-day festival  is bringing together a fantastic line-up of writers, speakers, politic minds, scientists and more to take to the stage in the Great Hall and across other venues on the estate.

What started life as a seven-day festival at Dartington Hall near Totnes has flourished into three annual festivals across the UK, bringing enormous joy to many people.

So when the covid-19 pandemic hit, the loss of Ways With Words was felt by guests from Devon to the Lake District.

Discussions of new ideas had to be halted and the profound impact of the lockdown restrictions were felt across the entire arts sector.

Despite this, physical distancing has shown all of us how much we need and value the arts and Ways With Words is delighted to be back at Darlington in full capacity.

Included in the impressive line-up of 50-plus speakers are Joanne Harris, Salley Vickers, Alan Johnson, Delia Smith, George Monbiot, Roger McGough, Patrick Barkham, Steve Richards, Alison Weir, Catherine Pepinster, John Crace, Martin Sixsmith, David Owen, and Tracy Borman.

And once again  audiences will be able to explore history and politics,  unpick pressing global issues, discover the wonders of science, nature and the environment, and travel around the world – all in the glorious surroundings of the Dartington Estate.

(Contributed by Ways With Words ) (Contributed by Ways With Words)

Returning hasn’t been an easy matter, however, like many other arts organisations, Ways With Words continues to recover from the hardship caused by the pandemic.

The cost of living is rising and covid leaves uncertainty in the air as many guests ponder their return to the festival.

‘It was touch and go, but the superhuman efforts of managing director, Leah Varnell, has made it possible for Ways With Words to emerge into a post-pandemic world,’ said festival founders Kay Dunbar and Stephen Bristow.

‘We hope that everyone who attends the festival will leave feeling restored, nourished and revitalised by the wealth of words and ideas on offer. It is vital that people continue to support the festival and secure its future.’

After 30 years of hard work, Kay and Stephen felt it was time to put their feet up.

In February 2019 Leah Varnell, who previously had been the general manager and festival curator, took over as  managing director with responsibility for the future of Ways With Words.

And Leah shares the same excitement of the founders as the festival approaches.

‘It has been a really challenging few years at Ways With Words but we are delighted to be back in full force to celebrate our 30th anniversary,’ she said.

‘We’re hoping to welcome back lots of guests , both new and old, but we are by no way means out of the woods as an arts organisation.

‘The future remains precarious but we will do we all we can to ensure Ways With Words is here for another 30 years.’

General booking for Ways With Words is now open and the fastest way to book your tickets will be online at,.

Additionally tickets can be booked over the phone, from 11am to 4pm Monday to Friday, by calling 01803 867373.

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