A blog for anyone with an interest in Polperro, publishing and people... with occasional musings on history and humanity.
Save the Du Maurier Festival!
Posted on May 18, 2012
Of all the literary festivals I visit, the Du Maurier Festival in Cornwall is certainly one of the best. The venue, overlooking the Fowey estuary and Polruan beyond, affords some of the most spectacular views anywhere in the Westcountry; and this year’s line-up of events certainly lived up to expectation.
Having listened to biographer Jane Dunn talk about her forthcoming book on the du Maurier sisters, we then joined Anne Wroe to learn something of the art of an obituarist. Anne writes for the Economist and is usually restricted to one obituary a week so is often faced with difficult choices. Next came a fascinating hour with Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, fresh back from the Indian Ocean where he had been running the gauntlet of Somali pirates. The following day began with an extraordinary account of some of the double agents working for Britain during WW2 by author Ben Macintyre and ended with a stroll round the smuggling haunts of Polperro. All five events as varied and as interesting as one could wish for over three days…
But the sad fact is that the Du Maurier Festival is under threat and urgently in need of a sponsor for 2013. Cornwall County Council, it seems, has withdrawn much of its support and the organisers – a small team of local Fowey folk including David and Ann Wilmore who run the town’s two excellent bookshops - are worried about the Festival’s future.
It would be a tragedy if such a well-established annual event that attracts large numbers of visitors to Cornwall as well as an impressive line-up of guest speakers and authors was to suffer from lack of local support. Does anyone at County Hall in Truro ever attend? If so, let’s hope they take this message back with them and give the Festival the support it so badly needs.