Diana Henry, Lucy Mangan and Tom Cox lead author line up at Wealden Literary Festival

Wealden Literary Festival is an enchanting weekend of words and ideas – a celebration of nature, place and creativity through literature, the arts and food.  Tickets for the 2018 Festival are now on sale via the Festival website at

Set in the beautiful Boldshaves Garden near Tenterden in the Weald of Kent and the fields and wild woods that surround the gardens, Wealden Literary Festival brings together renowned authors, poets, artists and makers who look first and foremost to nature, wilderness and the spirit of place for inspiration. It has been endorsed by leading nature writers including Robert Macfarlane, Mark Cocker and Jay Griffiths.

Saturday 30th June, award-winning food writer, journalist and broadcaster Diana Henry will talk about her new cookery book How to Eat a Peach, a collection of seasonal menus inspired by a memory, place or mood. Planning a menu is Diana’s favourite part of cooking, remembering an afternoon at the seaside in Brittany or a sultry evening eating mezze in Istanbul. ‘This is an extraordinary piece of food writing, pitch perfect in every way. I couldn’t love anyone who didn’t love this book.’ Nigella Lawson

Lucy Mangan, author of Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading, will also be speaking on Saturday 30th June. In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way. ‘This is THE most wonderful, funny, clever, charming, evocative book.India Knight

Sunday 1st July, the Sunday Times best-selling author, Tom Cox, will be speaking about his new book 21st Century Yokel which explores the way we can be tied inescapably to landscape, whether we like it or not, often through our family and our past. It’s not quite a nature book, not quite a humour book, not quite a family memoir, not quite folklore, not quite social history, not quite a collection of essays, but a bit of all six. ‘21st-Century Yokel is simultaneously the funniest and saddest book about the modern countryside that I know. But no surprise there, because Tom Cox is THE soulman of British literature.John Lewis-Stempel, author of The Running Hare

Wealden Literary Festival is family-friendly and looks after the minds and interests of young readers setting out to explore the world. Yuval Zommer, the acclaimed children’s author will be in the festival tent, talking about his widely acclaimed illustrated book, The Street Beneath My Feet. This double-sided foldout book creates a visceral sense of a journey to the centre of the Earth as readers travel past storm drains, buried artefacts, a subway, and many layers of rock on their way to the planet’s inner core. Children are taken on a fascinating journey deep underground showing a hive of subterranean activity.

In addition to the programme of talks, the Festival offers all ages the opportunity to take part in a series of creative writing and art workshops as well as woodland-based activities and events such as bushcraft, foraging and wildlife spotting. The Festival’s artist-in-residence, Kate Linforth, will be exhibiting work inspired by the beautiful grounds at the Festival site and leading a series of art workshops for all ages. The Festival also showcases the best of local craftspeople and food producers through a pop-up market and features a campfire feast and woodland camping.

Andrew Willan, Festival Director comments, “The Festival essentially marries together three wonderful things; books, art and nature. We hope through the Festival to nurture the links between people (and in particular children) and the natural world as nowadays all too many people lack the means to engage in any meaningful way with the outdoors. The natural world provides a wealth of opportunities for learning, creativity and discovery which the Festival embraces.

As the virtual world becomes increasingly dominant in our lives, time spent out of doors with opportunities to read, write, create and think has perhaps never before been so vital. By nurturing a love of the natural world, of literature and the arts, the Festival hopes to give not only individuals and communities, but also nature itself a real chance to flourish and to thrive.”

“It is a thrill to see Wealden Literary Festival taking root and flourishing. With its emphasis on the natural world, its commitment to children and to community, and its vision of getting people outdoors and hands-on with nature, as well as reading and talking about it, it strikes me as a hugely hopeful and valuable new event. Long may it grow!” Robert Macfarlane, author of The Old Ways and The Lost Words

Other speakers at Wealden Literary Festival 2018 include:


Mark Cocker, Our Place

A radical examination of Britain’s relationship with the land, by one of our greatest nature writers 

Miriam Darlington, Owl Sense

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week 

Rosamund Young, The Secret Life of Cows

A Sunday Times bestseller and selected as a book of the year in The Times 

Tim Dee (and others), Ground Work

A vital anthology of new work by some of the most exciting authors writing about the natural world today

Peter Fiennes, Oak and Ash and Thorn

Selected as one of The Guardian’s Books of 2017 

Katherine May, The Electricity of Every Living Thing

Exciting new memoir from Kent-based author about coming to terms with an Asperger’s diagnosis 

Gregory Norminton, The Devil’s Highway

Chosen by Robert Macfarlane as his book of the year; a ground-breaking work of fiction 

Alex Preston, As Kingfishers Catch Fire

Selected as one of The Guardian’s Books of 2017; shortlisted for most beautiful book of the year award 

Catherine Barr, 10 Reasons to Love…

New series for young nature enthusiasts published in conjunction with the Natural History Museum

Chrissie Gittins, Adder, Bluebell, Lobster

An enchanting collection of poems for children

Wealden Festival is a beautiful experience: convivial, generous, and profoundly hospitable to ideas and words and all who love them.Jay Griffiths, author of Kith and Wild

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