It has to be said: I adore the Appledore Book Festival and attend as much as I can every year. I learn so much. Books are a massive draw for me and listening to the insights of learned folk who are also excellent writers never ceases to fascinate. It is the cultural event of the year for me.
This year, I started with Kate Williams who presented in the beautiful St Mary’s Church. Prof Kate looked familiar when I bumped into her earlier, and then I realised why. She is one of the academics who has appeared in Cunk on Britain on TV, having to appear earnest and deadpan as she does it. In reality, Kate is utterly enthusiastic about her subject. Her academic credentials are enough to set Wikipedia alight, and she has progressed at a great rate both in writing and TV presenting.
Her latest book is Rival Queens, focused on the Tudor monarchs, Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, the latter standing 5ft 11 tall and going to the scaffold with a puppy in her skirts. The crucial element seems to be Mary’s use of coding/ cyphers creating her downfall/implication in the Babington Plot which led to her beheading. Tudor factions were places of deadly intrigue and conflict, where a cousinly relationship was of little use in saving the Scottish Queen, who led a tumultuous life.
If you have a chance to attend the Festival, then do, for there are some more wonderful events ahead. Additionally, Appledore is a lively place, well worth a visit. Parking is ample and reasonably priced, too.