Introduction

We live in “interesting times” which are very difficult to understand and to live with, we cannot even trust that truth itself exists any more. So our Keynote Book is The Price of Life’ by Jenny Kleeman. Jenny explores the monetary value that the powers that be put on an individual life. What does it mean for our humanity when we crunch the numbers to decide who gets the expensive life-saving drugs, and who misses out?

However Sedbergh Booktown is first a small, rural backwater sort of a place and we want our visitors to have lots of fun so we have a series of ‘Deadly afternoons’ with Mark Bridgeman, J. C. Briggs and Julia Chapman exploring unexplained deaths in the Dales, and don’t forget the tea! Dip into history with Sue Millard explaining ‘Reasons Why Not to Write a Historic Novel’ and Roger Treglown, a super expert when it comes to old books, sharing his expertise.

Maybe your chosen beverage is beer? Well books and beer do go together when American lawyer Kris Butler explains how Temperance campaigners sought to stop people drinking by producing ‘Drink Maps’ to show those tempted by the demon drink where to avoid…….! We’re not expecting you to avoid trying out our selection of Craft Beers.

As its half term we are hoping Chris’s Magic Show will entertain families and this event is entirely free of charge. Are you the sort of person who is interested in the magical and strange? Please sample the fantastical and strange in ‘The Book of Doors’ with author Gareth Brown, or ‘Strange Books’ from Tartarus Press (the infernal region in Greek Mythology).

Lastly we explore the real world of mountains and lakes, rocks and trees with geologist turned psychotherapist Ruth Allen who shows us how and why the natural world works for our mental well-being. Then there’s a new Wainwright film celebrating Cumbria’s great guide book author, and speaking of guide books Cicerone Press’ owners Jonathan and Lesley Williams tell their story and Duncan Minshull has brought together an anthology of some of the greatest ever travel writers.

Event list

Saturday 25th May 2024 10:00am - 4:00pm

North West Book Fair

This year’s Festival begins with the first of our twice-yearly Second-hand Book Fairs

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Saturday 25th May 2024 11:00am - 3:00pm

Poetry Busking

At the Artisan Market with Beth Train-Brown and students from Lancaster University Creative Writing Department.

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Saturday 25th May 2024 11:30am

13 Reasons Not to Write a Historical Novel

Sue Millard lived in Cumbria since 1975. From her house she can see Roundthwaite Common, Birkbeck Fells and the magnificent Howgills, where local farms have rights to keep Fell ponies in the traditional manner – hence the topics of many of her books. Sue has also ventured into historical fiction with her book ‘Coachman‘ and its sequel The Dust of the Road’.

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Saturday 25th May 2024 1:00pm

13 Reasons Not to Write a Historical Novel

Sue Millard lived in Cumbria since 1975. From her house she can see Roundthwaite Common, Birkbeck Fells and the magnificent Howgills, where local farms have rights to keep Fell ponies in the traditional manner – hence the topics of many of her books. Sue has also ventured into historical fiction with her book ‘Coachman‘ and its sequel The Dust of the Road’.

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Saturday 25th May 2024 2:00pm

Guided Walk – Globetrotting: Writers Walk the World

Come Join Duncan Minshull – former BBC producer, anthologist and journalist – on an afternoon’s walk, when he will be reading en route from his new book, ‘Globetrotting: Writers Walk the World‘.

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Saturday 25th May 2024 7:30pm

Weathering

An evocative exploration of the lessons the earth can teach us about grounding, resilience and recovery with pioneering psychotherapist and geologist Ruth Allen

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Sunday 26th May 2024 2:30pm

Trial by Jury

With Mark Bridgeman author The Dark Side of the Dales, with  audience participation event.
Afternoon tea will be available

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Sunday 26th May 2024 7:30pm

The Book of Doors

Sunday Times Best Seller! Addictive, brilliantly written and utterly irresistible, The Book of Doors is the spell-binding, mind-bending, heart-pounding new adventure with author Gareth Brown.

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Monday 27th May 2024 7:30pm

Craft Beer Tasting and Drink Maps

A Fascinating History of Alcohol in Victorian Britain  with Kris Butler brewer and lawyer.

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Tuesday 28th May 2024 7:30pm

The Legacy of Foulstone Manor

With J. C. Briggs – what secrets have been taken to the grave?
Afternoon tea will be available

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Tuesday 28th May 2024 7:30pm

Strange Books………..?

Books that are a little different, odd or strange, with Ray Russell of Tartarus Press

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Wednesday 29th May 2024 2:30pm

Chris’s Magic Show.

A family event featuring his Extraordinary Book of Spells.

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Wednesday 29th May 2024 7:30pm

The World of Old Books

With Roger Treglown, Roger has been selling antiquarian books for aver 40 years and is a past President of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association; he will be happy to look at any old books you bring.

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Thursday 30th May 2024 2:30pm

The Dales Detective

Julia Chapman, author of the Dales Detective series. in conversation with J. C. Briggs.
Afternoon tea will be available

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Friday 31st May 2024 7:30pm

Alfred Wainwright, his Legacy

Film and talk with Chris Butterfield

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Saturday 1st June 2024 - 7:30pm

The Price of Life

In search of what we’re worth and who decides? Radio 4 Book of the Week, with Jenny Kleeman.
Jenny’s truthful and revelatory book is her second best seller. ‘A thrilling adventure that takes in the strange and the profound – via hitmen, hostage negotiators, embryos, and the organ trade.

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Saturday 1st June 2024 3:00pm

Exploring the Trail

A Guidebook Journey with Jonathan and Lesley Williams of Cicerone

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Special offers

There are some terrific events in the What are Words Worth Festival this year and we are hoping that visitors will join us for many talks and lots of fun.  Our policy is to make tickets as reasonable as possible so children under 16 are free and  to help even further there is a season ticket for all events at the astonishing price of £45 which can be purchased at www.trybooking.com/uk/events/landing/58785

Please join us, we’ed love to meet you.

Booking info

Tickets will be available ‘on the door’ and can also be purchased online from www.trybooking.com/uk/eventlist/booktownfestival  or by following the links on our events list. Tickets purchased through TryBooking involve an additional 15p booking fee.

When purchasing tickets for more than one event by following the links on our events list they will be added to your Trybooking shopping cart which is saved until you close your web browser so you can close the Trybooking webpage after each purchase until you make your final one. Your shopping cart can be retrieved at any time by returning to www.trybooking.com/uk/eventlist/booktownfestival and clicking on any of our festival events and then clicking the shopping cart icon at the top right of the screen.

location info

Most of the festival events take place in the People’s Hall which has a small free car park but if full there is nearby street parking, and a short walk away are the pay and display car parks in Joss Lane near the Sedbergh Information Centre and on Loftus Hill to the south of the town.