Du Maurier festival attracts host of celebrities

The 2011 Daphne du Maurier Festival promises to be the best yet with a host of celebrities lined up to take part in the ten day event in Cornwall.

The 2011 Daphne du Maurier Festival promises to be the best yet with a host of celebrities lined up to take part in the ten day event in Cornwall.


Explorer Robert Hanbury-Tenison, former politician-cum-ballroom dancer Ann Widdecombe, performers Kit and the Widow and Fascinating Aida, folk singer Cara Dillon, Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, author and journalist David Aaronovitch, percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, novelist Robert Goddard, Professor Robert Winston, former No 10 communications director Alistair Campbell, lyricist Sir Tim Rice, The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, food-writer Prue Leith, comedienne Jenny Eclair, former political commentator John Sergeant and rock star Shakin’Stevens are just some of the famous names appearing in the packed programme from 12-21 May in Fowey.

They are joined by Gareth Neame, Executive Producer of ITV’s hit costume drama Downton Abbey, who will chat about making the hugely popular series; former Labour minister Chris Mullin who has recently published his best selling diaries; Judy Golding who will talk about a memoir she has just written about her late father, the Nobel Prize for Literature winner Sir William Golding; Mark Carwardine who co-presented the BBC’s ‘A last chance to see’ with Stephen Fry; novelist Jane Darke whose new book addresses the grief and shock she felt at the death of her husband playwright Nick Darke; John Myatt, the artist that fooled the art world with his series of 200 fakes and stand up comedian and actor Greg Davies who plays Mr Gilbert in Channel 4’s hit show ‘The Inbetweeners’.

Then there’s Andy Secombe, son of Sir Harry Secombe, who will talk about his book ‘Growing up with the Goons’, travel writer Philip Marsden who will discuss Britain’s glorious maritime past, seen through the changing fortunes of the port of Falmouth and its people; Virginia Ironside and her light-hearted look at life for the over 60s and authors Polly Sampson, Mary S Lovell, Tim Heald, Michael Dobbs, Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, Kevin Telfer , Daisy Goodwin, Lesley Pearse and Orange prize winner Linda Grant all talking about their books and careers.

Daphne du Maurier was, of course, a hugely successful novelist whose stories continue to enthral.  She loved Cornwall and made her home in the Fowey area where her son, Kits Browning, still lives.  No Daphne du Maurier Festival would be complete without events in her honour and 2011 is no exception.  There will be archive film footage of the novelist and other South West literary luminaries; BBC radio drama producer Sarah Davies will discuss adapting du Maurier’s works for radio; Professor Helen Taylor, writer Polly Sampson and local bookshop owner Ann Willmore will talk about some newly discovered du Maurier short stories that are being published to coincide with the festival; novelists Stella Duffy and Elizabeth Speller will look at the enduring appeal of her historical novels; Richard Mead will discuss his book on her husband ‘Boy’ Browning and theatre company Scary Little Girls will perform The Marvellous du Maurier Miscellany, a cabaret-style tribute to the novelist.

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“We’ve tried to makes sure that there’s something for everyone,” said Festival Director Jonathan Aberdeen.  “Whether you’re into literature, comedy, music, theatre or entertainment pure and simple, there will be something to enjoy.  There are lots of fringe events going on too, including guided walks, boat trips, church concerts, talks in the Town Hall and free entertainment on the town quay.  The University of Exeter has also programmed a series of talks and a special Campus Culture Festival at Tremough, Penryn.”

Priority booking will be available to platinum patrons from 7 March, to gold patrons from 14 March and to the general public from 21 March.  For details about how to become a patron or for more information, visit http://www.dumaurierfestival.co.uk/