Around 3,000 people enjoyed the events at this year’s Bude Literary festival. Luckily, the sun was shining over all five days of the event, hosted by Bude-Stratton Town Council, which saw some big literary names and acts visit alongside a many local authors, musicians and performers. 

The festival began on May 17 with a stellar line up scheduled including a performance from stand-up comedian and broadcaster; Mark Steel, American comedian and musician, Rich Hall, and Raynor Winn, a writer and long distance walker, returned to celebrate her latest release and lead a ‘secret location walk and talk’. 

There was a number of walks and talks across the town with local authors, and fascinating workshops such as family history writing, becoming your own publisher, calligraphy, book binding and illustration and lyric writing. 

“Well, what a weekend! It has been awesome.” Mark Berridge, Bude Castle and library manager commented. “It has been so busy with lots of people attending all the different events and the weather has been glorious. There has been a real buzz about Bude with people giving great feedback about the event, what has been on offer and how thrilled they have been to attend.” 

The Bude Literary Festival began as an online event in 2021, became a live event in 2022 and has since grown into a varied and dynamic festival that is attracting both locals and visitors alike. There was 123 events making up this year’s festival making it the busiest year to date. The festival featured a wide range of events taking place at venues throughout the town, including the Library, the Parkhouse Centre, The Castle, The Falcon, North Coast Wine Lounge, House of Chaplin, The Barrel, The Tree Inn Stratton, Ebbingford Manor, The Kitchen Front, and The Pearl Exchange. 

“People have come from Edinburgh, Cumbria, N.Wales, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Norwich, Southend-on-Sea, Birmingham, London and closer to home, Exeter, Barnstaple, Plymouth, Totnes, Falmouth, Truro and Penzance with many more in between. 

“A massive thank you must be given to Luna Redhead, my event officer, and Richard Wolfenden-Brown, our event programmer for all their hard work in putting this event on. Another thank you to Sally Travers-Clapp, Deputy Library Manager, who has also been working with us with planning and opened the Library for the whole event and looked after everyone who came through the doors.”

“I have been working alongside them all throughout and this weekend and though we have been really busy behind the scenes, it has gone so smoothly. We are so thankful to the ‘Bookworms’, our ten volunteers who have been ushering in all those attending and selling tickets on the door. One of our volunteers even came from London! There are so many other people I would like to thank who have been involved but the list would go on and thanks for all those who attended. 

“On our website you will see all those who sponsored the whole event and without whom, our school programme would not have been able to happen.” Mark continued. 

There was a huge variety of live music which included local musicians such as James Dixon, Rosa Rebecka, Gary McCausland, Chris Ryder, Mariners Away, and The Bencoolan Wreckers. 

Families with children enjoyed daily storytelling with Rachel and Becky for under 5s, an Escape Kids Story Trail, an Interactive Book Character Trail with real characters, a ‘Fish and Ships and Shelly Creatures’ community workshop for families with John Hegley, there was even a Lit Fest Quest with cryptic questions in 20 local shop windows. 

Lastly, the festival saw the launch of three different authors new books; Colin Danks launched his first novel ‘Crossed Lines’; James Strawbridge launched ‘Salt and the Art of Seasoning’ at an event where he was in conversation with Richard Harding of Norton Barton Artisan Food Village; and Penguin Random House launched ‘Hermit’ by Jade Angeles Fitton.