Cumbria Crack

Words by the Water Festival 8-17 March

Today sees the launch of the Words by the Water festival programme. From 8-17th March the Theatre by the Lake will play host to hundreds of excellent authors and speakers discussing a diverse and intriguing range of subjects.

This year’s festival boasts Bake Off’s Prue Leith discussing her life and cooking, John Simpson revealing the murky realms of Russia, Alan Johnson taking a tour of the records of his youth, Kenneth Baker exploring the seven deadly sins and Amber Massie-Blomfeld arguing that Theatre by the Lake is one of the twenty theatres to visit before you die!

Comedy is on the menu with events from Guardian satirist John Crace casting a wry place over the political landscape, comedian and mad-cap explorer Tim FitzHigham who sailed a bathtub across the channel as well as the irreverent poet, Roger McGough, offering both hilarious and thought-provoking readings.

Mountaineer Chris Bonington shares the challenges of climbing Everest, philosophers Julian Baggini and Raymond Tallis tackle the mystery of human history and by contrast Robin Ince hilariously argues that in humour we can find some of the answers to some key questions that plague humans.

Talking about their creative lives and writing are festival president Melvyn Bragg, Salley Vickers, Louis de Berniere, John Lanchester and Kate Mosse. As well as discussing fiction we will dip our toe into politics. Journalists Polly Toynbee and David Walker will be unpicking recent political events and Sarah Churchill will compare the original concepts of the phrases ‘American Dream’ and ‘America First’ with the modern (Trumpian) interpretation.

The Studio offers the usual eclectic range of events with talks. Christopher Skaife the Ravenmaster from the Tower of London, Jonny Benjamin who was saved from taking his own life by a stranger, Mike Berners-Lee on combatting climate change and politician Rachel Reeves unpicks the role of women in British politics.

As ever local talent is celebrated in a range of talks by local writers on climbing Skiddaw, a walk to Borrodale Valley and a glimpse of Penrith in the 18th Century are a just a taste of some of the delights on offer on the ever popular Bookcase Day.

For the first time, there will be a Family Day in the Studio with the Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown will be sharing drawing tips and advisor for the Blue Planet, Jon Copley, will cast light on the weird and wonderful mysteries of the deep sea.

Words by the Water is always challenging and thought-provoking. What better to do in spring than engage with some of the best thinkers, writers and commentators over the 10 days of the festival? There will be something for everyone.

View the festival brochure.

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