It’s festival time in Fowey - as the greats in modern literature and music gather to remember the town’s literary matriarch, Daphne du Maurier

It’s festival time in Fowey - as the greats in modern literature and music gather to remember the town’s literary matriarch. JENNETTE MARTIN, chairman of the du Maurier Festival Society provides a sneak preview

We are delighted to welcome back Justine Picardie, author in her own right and Editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, who will present the du Maurier Lecture 2014.

Also joining the festival this year is Ruth Rendell, the internationally award-winning author of over 50 novels including books based on Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford. Ruth has won many crime fiction awards during her career and will be in conversation with the Sunday Times Chief Fiction Reviewer, Peter Kemp.

Meet the woman behind such titles as Trial and Retribution, Above Suspicion and Prime Suspect. Lynda La Plante, whose work spans several genres; acting, TV production and screenplays, will be in conversation with a guest interviewer and will be talking about her internationally bestselling books and television work.

A Literary Question Time panel presents Richard Madeley, Judy Finnigan (pictured above), and bestselling author Veronica Henry as well as a literary agent and a publicist in conversation with the audience. This event trails the A-Z of taking the initial concept of a book right through to getting it published and promoted. Bring along your questions and find out how to get on the other side of fame and fortune!

Recognising the legacy of Daphne du Maurier and the legacy she left on literature, Dr Laura Varnam will be running Reading Groups on two of the author’s best loved works; Frenchmen’s Creek and House on the Strand. These will take place alongside Creative Writing Workshops with Robert Magnuson Smith, Jane Feaver and Sam North; a great opportunity to work with published authors in a beautiful intimate setting.

Ann Widdecombe brings her own inimitable style to the festival and talks about her biography, Strictly Ann, whilst Irma Kurtz, professional agony aunt for more than 40 years, shares her wisdom and insight into subjects that concern and trouble us most through her book, My Life in Agony.

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Michael Caines, award-winning chef hosts a luncheon for Friends and Patrons who can enjoy two-courses based on one of the recipes from his book, Michael Caines at Home. He will also be giving a separate more in-depth talk about his passion for cooking and the thinking behind his recipes.

Julie Summers, author, broadcaster and historian talks about her book Jambusters which reveals the truth behind the myths of the Womens Institute during WW1; a fascinating insight!

John Harvey, a published poet, scriptwriter and author talks about his most well-known creation, DI Charlie Resnick, named by The Times newspaper as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels of the Century’.

Sally Beauman, novelist and former writer for New York Times will be discussing her writing career and latest book, The Visitors in conversation with Professor Helen Taylor from Exeter University.

Helen Rappaport, award-winning author and critically acclaimed historian and biographer talks about her latest book, Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses, paints a vivid picture of their journey from sheltered childhood through to the trauma of the revolution and its terrible consequences.

Set in St Fimbarrus Church an evening of classical music by Jonathan Delbridge will delight and enhance your visit. A versatile musician, Jonathan will be playing traditional classical works alongside his own improvisations. Jonathan’s programme will include works by Debussy, Gershwin, Handel and Widor using not only the church’s piano but also the very fine 3 manual organ.

Tina May, a singer and visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music, has an amazing vocal range and will be rounding off the festival with a jazz night. Joined by the Craig Milverton Jazz Trio, Tina includes in her broad repertoire the American songbook, modern popular songs, Latin American material and songs made famous by Edith Piaf. A marvellous opportunity to hear a performer rated by The Observer as one of the best jazz vocalists anywhere today’.

Pip Utton, actor and writer, previously brought his unique takes on Chaplin and Dickens to the festival. This year he will present a performance of Churchill’ ?which the British Theatre Guide called, ?a tremendous show beautifully performed and should not be missed’.

New for 2014 will be the Family Fun Weekend’ at Trenython Manor. Inspired by Nature’, the Family Fun Weekend is dedicated to families and children to give them access to the wonderful world of literature, arts and the natural environment. An amazing, fun filled weekend where families can play, ?connect with nature and be creative together. The festival will provide a magical experience where literature and nature are entwined in a beautiful landscape. Come and experience a broad range of words and music, workshops and installations within a safe, natural and inspirational setting.

Other events include:

Veronica Henry - talks about her writing journey, starting out as a typist on The Archers and ending up as a bestselling novelist. She highlights the difference between writing television drama and writing books, giving a fascinating insight into the two disciplines.

Roy and Leslie Adkins - Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England, serves as the backdrop for discussion about Austen’s fiction and the lives of ordinary people.

Susan Swingler - Susan is the daughter of one of the most revered writers — the English-born Elizabeth Jolley. In conversation with Professor Helen Taylor of Exeter University, Susan reveals her fascinating story of her quest to find her father and what she discovered along the way!

Professor Helen Taylor - Gone with The Wind is 75 years old this year and Professor Helen Taylor’s talk offers the opportunity to share diverse memories whilst talking about her recently re-published book Scarlett’s Women: Gone with the Wind and its Female Fans.

Jo Colwill - A textile artist with real flair for quilting, Jo will talk about her work, bring samples to display and share the tricks of the trade to achieve beautiful quiltwork.

Alan Smith - Her Majesty’s Philosophers is a fascinating account of time with intelligent, intellectual men who had committed crimes but also suffered along the way. Alan now has weekly script conferences with Hollywood writers who have optioned the book.

Jackie Morris – Jackie has illustrated books for 20 years. Come and hear how illustrations and words work together and why she feels that pictures have a place in books for all ages.

Barry Brignell - What better way of indulging your love of books than by learning to make your own hard-backed journal, from the owner of Brignell Bookbinders of Cambridge. All materials for the workshop are provided in the ticket price.

Fowey art trail - Gordon and Heather Hunt, who live at Tavernbarn, will be once again throwing open their studio between May 17 and May 24 as part of Fowey Arts Trail 2014.


Where to eat...

The harbour town has a great reputation for food with some incredible eateries on its doorstep. You can be guaranteed a great meal wherever you go.

Try Fowey Hall Hotel’s restaurant for high tea, or a grown up’ dinner (also home to the Guiness Book of Record’s Most Expensive Sandwich).

Head to Food for Thought for a fine dining on the quayside of Fowey harbour. Menu features local lobster, Fowey mussels (of course) and gazpacho.

For a Mediterranean taste head to The Boathouse, Fowey’s first Indian-Asian style brasserie and takeaway.

The restaurant at The Cormorant offers waterside views of the River Fowey and two AA rosettes.

Where to stay

The original inspiration for Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows, Fowey Hall Hotel is a dream destination, combining incredible service, beautiful views and a luxurious spa.

For self catering splendour head to the historic Trenython Manor which alongside its 23-bedroomed hotels has luxury lodges on its estate. Leisure activities include spa treatments, archery, woodland walking, bird watching, strolling amongst the landscaped gardens and den building.

The Courmorant offers boutique style hotel accommodation close to Fowey featuring a pool house and hot tubs with views of the River Fowey.