Our guide to the Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature

Organised by the du Maurier Festival Society, Cornwall’s premier literary festival takes place in various locations throughout Fowey, and promises an impressive line-up of literary and musical talent. This year’s festival will run from 11th to 19th May and is a must-attend event for book lovers in Cornwall. Here’s our run down of what’s happening throughout the week.

Friday 11th May

The 2018 festival kicks off with acclaimed folk band, Wildwood Kin who will be performing in St Fimbarrus Church at 7pm. The acclaimed family trio were selected by the BBC as a highlight of Glastonbury Festival in 2017 and their Fowey performance forms part of their UK tour. As well as borrowing heavily from early-folk influences, their music delves deeply into other genres. Supporting Wildwood Kin will be ex-front man and lead-guitarist of band Saturday Sun, Alex Hedley.

Saturday 12th May

Sir Tim Smit

The second day of the festival welcomes Sir Tim Smit and John Nettles. The Eden Project’s co-founder can be found in St Fimbarrus Church at 10:30am on the Saturday morning. John Nettles will also be in St Fimbarrus Church later in the day. With wine and soft drinks available, join the actor as he talks about his outstanding career, now in its fourth decade. Other events on Saturday include a du Maurier lecture by author Julie Summers and a handmade book workshop with Megan Stallworthy.

Sunday 13th May

On Sunday, join Francelle Bradford White in Fowey Town Hall at 11am as she talks about her mother’s incredible story. Andree’s War is based on diaries written by Francelle’s mother during the Second World War and was created largely as a response to the Alzheimer’s which now holds Andree in its grip.

Internationally acclaimed composer, Al Macroni and award-winning pianist, Nina Leonard Savicevic will both be performing on Sunday,at 8pm and 12:30pm respectively. Nina’s recital will include music by Mozart, Schubert and Rachmaninof, whilst Al will be playing music from his own extensive repertoire, including pieces from his new album Heartstrings.

Monday 14th May

Day three of the festival features a film and talk from award-winning wildlife cameraman, Ian McCarthy. For over 30 years Ian has been behind the lens of nature programmes, including some of David Attenborough’s biggest landmark nature series. His latest film, Wild Cornwall: Out on the Edge shows Cornwall’s wildlife as never seen before.

Patrick Gale

Monday also features the 2018 Festival Big Read. This year’s guest author is Patrick Gale who has chosen his highly acclaimed novel Rough Music as the book for this interactive event. You can hear him in conversation to introduce the novel, after which the floor is open to engage in discussion.

Tuesday 15th May

Join award-winning chef and food writer, Russell Brown, and fisherman, Jonathan Haley, in Fowey Town Hall at 4pm as they talk about their new cookery book Well Seasoned. If you’re looking for great recipes that make the most out of Britain’s seasonal ingredients then you won’t want to miss this.
St Austell Town brass band and the Fowey River Singers will be in concert at 8pm on Tuesday evening. Back at the festival by popular demand, this is a great opportunity to hear one of Cornwall’s premier brass bands perform a range of music with Fowey’s local choir.

Wednesday 16th May

The festival’s jazz evening takes place on Wednesday, led by Swedish singer Annika Skoogh and her Jazz Quartet. Annika has recently been making a name for herself on the jazz scene as a vibrant and soulful singer. Accompanied by an ensemble of highly musicians, this promises to be a wonderful Festival Jazz Evening.

Earlier on in the day, join author Charles Spencer as he brings to life a thrilling chapter in British history. To Catch A King tells the true story of the daring escape of Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester. With accounts from Samuel Pepy’s diary and recently discovered news letters and diaries, this is not to be missed by any keen historians.

Thursday 17th May

St Fimbarrus Church

Get creative on Thursday with a calligraphy workshop at St Fimbarrus Church led by artist Celia Lister. The day-long workshop is aimed at introducing the Decorated Capital and will explore a variety of different decorations and styles. With over 20 years’ experience of calligraphy and letter art, Celia will provide individual tuition with, with history and demonstrations to develop your knowledge and skills.

On Thursday evening, enjoy the sounds of the fabulously entertaining The Bookshop Band. Created by one of the UK’s finest book shops and a team of award-winning composers, The Bookshop Band have worked with over 100 authors to create book-inspired music. You can watch them at 6pm in Fowey Town Hall.

Friday 18th May

Friday evening plays host to the Festival Film and Talk, which this year features the 2017 adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel. Following the film, du Maurier expert Dr Laura Varnam will take you behind the scenes, exploring the modern adaptation in comparison with the original novel as well as the 1952 version. Earlier in the day you can also enjoy Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully painted feature film. One of the creators, Cornish artist Sarah Wimperis, will be there to talk about her experiences behind the scenes.

Saturday 19th May

Master cider maker at Fowey Valley Cider, Barrie Gibson, will be hosting an illustrated talk on cider making in the west country on the final day of the festival. Join Barrie in Fowey Town Hall at 4pm and learn more about how cider is made – tastings are included.

Acclaimed folk/rock band, The Rails, will close out the festival on Saturday evening. The attuned harmonies of husband and wife team, James Walbourne and Kami Thompson have scored several awards since their debut album in 2014 and are the perfect act to round out the 2018 festival.

For more information about all the other events and acts head to their website.