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Big names and local delights at Words by the Water 2018

[W]ords by the Water festival takes place from 9th March and continues for 9 days inclusive. During that time some of the stars of the page and parliament, television, radio and journals will be arriving at Theatre by the Lake, on the bank of Derwentwater to give the audiences the benefit of their words of wisdom. So there is Claire Tomalin, Ben Okri, David Owen, Vince Cable, Baroness Warsi, Chris Mullin, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Buerk, Cole Moreton, Blake Morrison and more!

There is also a collection of local writers who appear alongside this illustrious cast: Martin Ogle, Head gardener at Lowther Castle, talks about the challenges he was faced with in turning 130 acres of derelict acres into a national garden attraction.

Karen Lloyd shares her affection for the wildlife in her South Lakeland garden.

On Sunday 18 March Novelist Zosia Wand kicks off a day that gets to grips with the Craft and Graft of writing. She discusses her journey into print with Head of Zeus editor Madeleine O’Shea. The joys and pitfalls of travel writing are pondered upon by Mark McCrum and Bella Pollen discusses the challenges and boundaries of memoir writing. The day ends with Angela Locke and Ian Hall discussing how writing can be animated by a sense of place.

Stephen Matthews explores Carlisle and its long relationship with writers and literature. From medieval myths to Malory to Dickens to Burns.

Ray Greenhow, who served in the Cumbrian police for many years investigates the life of John Kent England’s first black policeman, the son of a slave John Kent served with the Maryport and Carlisle police forces in the early 19th Century.

Meanwhile Shepherd Terry McCormick a farmer, is uniquely placed to tell the story of working the fells of the World Heritage Site that is the Lake District.

Those wishing to experience the beauty of the area in other ways can explore stories of Wild Lake Swimming with John Mather and Jackie Risman. John set himself the task of swimming all 17 lakes contained within the Lake District National Park. Jackie meanwhile started her wild swimming adventures in Siberia. With Derwent Water so close to the Theatre by the Lake it could be tempting to take the plunge.

Poetry is represented in the form of local wordsmiths Jacci Bulman and Kathleen Jones hosting a free event around the theme of human rights any donations going to the charity PEN that supports writers in difficulty across the globe.

Festival Spokesperson Phil John said: “Words by the Water draws writers from all over the world but it’s heart is proudly in Keswick and Cumbria.”

Tickets are £10 for events in the Main House and £9 for Studio Events. Day Tickets and Festival Passes are also available offering savings.

Tickets are on sale now for Words by the Water and can be purchased at Theatre by the Lake: Phone 017687 74411 or

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