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MELANIE CHALLENGER - on How to Be Animal.


Humans are the most inquisitive, emotional, imaginative, aggressive and baffling animals on the planet. But how well do we really know ourselves? How animal are we, still?
At the heart of our psychology is a profound struggle with being animal.
Author, researcher, winner of a Darwin Now Award, and writer on whaling, Melanie Challenger now takes a close look at both why and the way we distance ourselves from other animal species, how technology influences our sense of our own animal nature, and our present and future place on planet Earth.

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CANDLE MAGIC – a writing workshop with Cat Weatherill on the theme of candles and magic.

6pm ~ Event now over 

Join Cat Weatherill, the best-selling author of Wild Magic, to discover how she writes the magical bits in her books. Then she will turn off the lights in her 400 year old story cottage and you can write with her - by candlelight! 
Fun and magic are guaranteed. There will be opportunities to ask Cat questions too. (No candle required. A pen and paper will be useful but not essential.) Suitable for age 8 and over.

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Most events are FREE to view at the advertised times!
But the Festival needs your help, to survive this year and return next.
Suggested minimum donation: £5 per event. Thank you!

BLAKE MORRISON – on the role of literature today, in conversation with Manuela Wipperfürth and Matt Holland. 


What have centuries of writing, in the shape of poems, novels, plays, and essays, all neatly pigeonholed as Literature, done for humankind? Can poetry and prose fiction be deemed useful? What will it do in the future?
Two hundred years ago, Shelley made these claims. ‘Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.’ And, ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’
What would an accomplished writer say today?
Memoirist, novelist, poet, librettist, dramatist, critic, and Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature Blake Morrison is well placed to have a view. He is the author of And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Things My Mother Never Told Me; and is Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College.

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JASPER FFORDE – on how it could take a rabbit to teach a human, humanity.


There are 1.2 million human-sized rabbits that can walk, talk, and drive cars. They are living in the UK and one family of rabbits decides to stay put in a cosy little village. Their neighbours come to question everything they'd ever thought about their friends, their nation, and their species. . .
After giving up a career in the film world Jasper Fforde became the critically acclaimed author of the Thursday Next novels, set in an alternative Swindon, along with many others. His latest is The Constant Rabbit.

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