Speakers Announced for the Red Funnel Isle of Wight Digital Literary Festival

Posted 22/09/2020

Press Release 21st September 2020

To mark the dates of the Red Funnel Isle of Wight Literary Festival, we’re holding a FREE online digital festival from the evening of Friday 9th – Sunday 11th October.. There is something for everyone in our  programme at https://isleofwightliteraryfestival.com/main-programme-2020/

Exploring famous lives is the theme of the morning session on Saturday 10th October.

  • Philip Norman uncovers the spellbinding life and the mystery surrounding the death of Jimi Hendrix in his talk about his latest book, Wild Thing.
  • Was Wallis Simpson a conniving social climber or simply the love of Edward VIII’s life? You decide after listening to Anna Pasternak’s revelations in The American Duchess.
  • Adventurer and record-breaking sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston discusses his extraordinary life with Steve Ancsell.

Examining history is the theme of the afternoon session on Saturday 10th October.

  • Leanda de Lisle looks at the myths and tragedy surrounding Charles I whose reign is one of the most dramatic in history.
  • Based upon the detailed archives held at Belvoir Castle, David Rutland’s and Emma Ellis’s book, Resolution charts the lives and fortunes of two eighteenth-century aristocratic brother, Charles and Robert Manner, orphaned sons of the celebrated Marquis of Granby and grandsons of the 3rd Duke of Rutland, against a backdrop of the American War of Independence.
  • Katie Hickman debunks the myth of the languid memsahibs with the true stories of the British women in India.

Patron of the Literary Festival’s Youth Programme, children’s author/illustrator Nicholas Allan opens the morning family session on Sunday 11th October with magic tricks, readings from his books and stories from his life. The only authorised biographer of The Beatles and special friend of Sir Paul McCartney, Hunter Davies shares the engaging stories behind the lyrics of The Beatles’ songs.  Vice patron of the Literary Festival, Alan Titchmarsh shares his reflections on the benefits of gardening and reads poems from his book of poetry, Marigolds, Myrtle and Moles.

On Sunday afternoon  Robin Hanbury-Tenison offers innovative and radical solutions not only for pandemics but war, famine and the environmental challenges facing us today in his talk based upon his latest book Taming the Four Horsemen. Bestselling author Joanna Trollope tackles one of today’s social issues in her twenty-second novel, Mum & Dad, which examines what happens when the roles of parents and children are reversed. Discover the places on the Isle of Wight that were essential to the research of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi in local historian Tim Wander’s talk based on his book, Marconi On the Isle of Wight.

Write on Wight is a special feature of the digital festival showcasing local authors, poets and playwrights. The short video clips highlight views of the island that inspire the writers or inform their works.

Talks will be available via our website www.isleofwightliteraryfestival.com at the scheduled times.    Take a look at the programme and tell your friends to join you online.  You can order books in advance from Blackwell’s Festival Bookshop.

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest information about our digital festival and offers from our title sponsor Red Funnel.

“Producing a digital literary festival has been challenging,” said Maggie Ankers chair of the Red Funnel Isle of Wight Literary Festival. “However, we were determined to mark this year’s festival; to support the authors who had agreed to speak at the festival; and to showcase the beautiful island home of the festival.”

The team from Festival Radio are working with us to put the digital festival together and will begin broadcasting from Friday 9th October with information about the event and interviews with authors.  To get a flavour of the festival you can listen to highlights from last year at https://isleofwightliteraryfestival.com/festivalradio/

 About the Isle of Wight Literary Festival

The Isle of Wight Literary Festival, an established event on the UK Arts calendar, is now in its ninth year. The festival provides a far reaching eclectic programme designed to attract a wide audience and increase the cultural richness of the Isle of Wight.  The festival is normally hosted at Northwood House, Cowes over 4 days with more than 60 writers and presenters talking about their latest works and providing thought provoking insights.   This year arrangements are digital but we look forward to 2021 and a very special festival to celebrate our 10th anniversary.

The Isle of Wight Literary Festival is a registered charity (No. 1164814) relying on the generous support of sponsors, benefactors and friends. The festival is organised and staffed by volunteers. The festival has two patrons: Major General Sir Martin White KCVO, CB, CBE and Nicholas Allan – author and illustrator patron of the Youth Programme and two vice patrons, Alan Titchmarsh MBE DL and Michael Grade – The Lord Grade of Yarmouth CBE.

The Schools’ Programme, which is supported by the Isle of Wight Literary Festival, sends authors, illustrators and dramatists into the schools to enrich the education for the under 18s on the Isle of Wight by providing cultural experiences to stimulate interest in learning and creative ideas.   In 2019 over 40 schools and nearly 5000 Isle of Wight children were involved in the programme. 

For more information please contact: 


t: 01983 295612

Isle of Wight Literary Festival, Northwood House, Ward Avenue, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 8AZ.

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