Here in Cumbria, we look forward to the festival bus arriving with its seats packed with speakers – including, in no privileged order: writers, academics, politicians, philosophers, scientists, historians, economists, comedians, specialists, artists and pundits. It is time to clear the cobwebs from the brain and come along to Keswick. The picture above is taken at Derwentwater, at a spot only a minute’s walk from the theatre door. Keswick is a bustling Lake District town, located amongst some of the loveliest scenery in the country.
This year the festival runs for ten days, beginning on Friday 9 March. Speakers for the first day in the Main House are: Peter Snow and Ann MacMillan with inspiring wartime tales of bravery, suffering and humanity. Hunter Davies invokes love and the sixties with his colourful memories of that period, reflecting upon his love for his late wife, Margaret Forster. Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, introduces ‘Open Arms’, which draws upon his wide political experience to produce a modern thriller. Timothy Bentink – aka David Archer – takes us for a behind-the-scenes look at BBC4’s popular radio series – The Archers. Friday’s studio events are: Angus Roxburgh, a former BBC Moscow correspondent, whose memoirs take us through 40 years of reporting. Art historian, Jack Hartnell, shows us the realities of life in the Middle Ages in life, death and art. With Fiona Sampson, we learn about the intriguing woman behind Frankenstein, Mary Shelley.
This is just the beginning; the programme for the nine days to follow is superb.
The theatre is within walking distance of local hotels and B&Bs, and there are many pubs and restaurants to enjoy in Keswick without taking the car. But, of course, the region has many lovely places to stay and explore, making the festival an excellent starting point for a holiday in the Lakes.
Brochures are available from Ways With Words: 01803 867373, or downloaded from the Ways With Words website, where you can find more information about Words by the Water and their other festivals and holidays. Tickets can be booked online, from Theatre by the Lake, or by telephone: 017687 74411.