Win tickets to literary weekend

David Starkey
David Starkey

Baking, booze and banter all feature in the second Buxton Festival Literary Weekend.

Highlights of the event, which runs from November 13-15, include historian David Starkey who is certain to have strong opinions on the impact of Magna Carta on its 800th anniversary.

Following his popular appearance at last year’s Buxton Festival, Gyles Brandreth returns to indulge in a spot of witty Word Play.

In Walking Away, poet Simon Armitage talks about his walking tours of the coastal fringes of Britain’s south west, taking poetry into distant communities and tourist hotspots.

John Julius Norwich explains the enigma at the heart of Sicily, encompassing erupting volcanoes to the assassination of Byzantine emperors, from Nelson’s affair with Emma Hamilton to Garibaldi and the rise of the Mafia.

The event welcomes 2013 Great British Bake Off favourite Howard Middleton who will be revealing the secrets of gluten-free cookery.

Meanwhile John Aitchison talks about 20 years as a wildlife cameraman and his journeys of discovery.

Historian Andrea Wulf delves into the story of scientific pioneer Alexander von Humboldt, a man who explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike.

Ruth Ball, founder of Alchemist Dreams, a company dedicated to making handmade liqueurs blended to order, presents a history of the secret, exciting and often dangerous world of illicit spirits.

The Old Hall Hotel will also play host to the Literary Lunch, which features a strong Derbyshire flavour with talks from Chatsworth housekeeper Christine Robinson; Derbyshire-based thriller novelist Sarah Ward; and biographer Laura Thompson discussing her insight into the lives of the Mitford sisters.

The other events all take place in the Pavilion Arts Centre and tickets are available from the Opera House box office on 01298 72190 or online at

Artsbeat has teamed up with the Festival to offer two lucky readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to a talk of their choice. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is tell us the name of Derbyshire novelist Sarah Ward’s latest book. Either send your answer with your name, address and telephone number to Literary Festival Competition, 19 Nottingham Road, Belper, DE56 1JG or email the same information to making sure to put ‘Literary Festival Competition’ in the subject line. The closing date is October 31.