Acclaimed Literary Figures Heading for IW Literary Festival in October

Posted 04/07/2017

Frank Gardner, the BBC Security Correspondent, who is coming to the Isle of Wight Literary Festival (12th -15th October), has been shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for his spy thriller Crisis. A fluent Arabist, with a degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies, he was previously the BBC’s Middle East Correspondent based in Cairo, and before that in Dubai. In June 2004 while in Riyadh, Frank was ambushed by Islamist gunmen. His cameraman was killed, and Frank shot multiple times and left for dead. Against all expectations, he survived and, in 2006, published his acclaimed memoir, the bestselling Blood and Sand. This was followed in 2009 with Far Horizons, a much praised account of his life as an inveterate traveller and explorer. Drawing on his years of experience reporting on security matters, Frank will be talking about Crisis and the sequel Ultimatum due out in the autumn.

Two writers attending the Festival, Christopher Somerville and Madeleine Bunting, have been shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize 2017. Now in its fourth year, the Wainwright Prize celebrates the best books about nature, the outdoors and UK travel.

Christopher Somerville, the Walking Correspondent of The Times and one of Britain’s most respected and prolific travel writers, has been shortlisted for his book The January Man. Telling the story of a year of walks through the British Isles from the winter floodlands of the River Severn to the lambing pastures of Nidderdale, the towering seabird cliffs on the Shetland Isle of Foula to the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest in autumn, he describes the history, wildlife, landscapes and people he encounters.

Madeleine Bunting has been shortlisted for her book Love of Country; A Hebridean Journey. Over six years, Madeleine Bunting has travelled to the Hebrides, exploring their landscapes, histories and magnetic pull, and discovering their long and rich Gaelic tradition.

The award winning biographer, writer and journalist, Anne Sebba, will be talking about her latest book, Les Parisiennes which was recently awarded the Franco-British Society Book Prize. Anne describes how the women of Paris survived under the dark days of the Occupation. This event is sponsored by Arts Society Isle of Wight.

Laura Cumming, the Art Critic of The Observer, will discuss The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velazquez which was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Biography Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize 2017 for the best work of literature, regardless of form, published in a given year. It tells the story of Reading bookseller, John Snare who, in 1845, bought the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction suspecting that it might be a long-lost Velázquez.

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