Watermark - Words by the Water
Programme for the Keswick literary festival: Words by the Water
V V V TER VA V V ARK Words By The Water Festival of Words and Ideas 2�11 March 2012 Theatre by the Lake Keswick Shappi Khorsandi, Rory Stewart, Annabel Pitcher, Stefan Collini, Ruth Richardson, Nigel Warburton... www.wayswithwords.co.uk www.facebook.com/wayswithwords Follow us on Twitter @Ways_With_Words Produced by University of Cumbria Students V V V V CONTRIBUTORS Editor-in-chief Sam Harker BA (Hons) Journalism Content editor Tom Little BA (Hons) Journalism Writers Liam Budd BA (Joint Hons) English & Creative Writing Richard Baker BA (Hons) English Claire Wisdom BA (Hons) English Darren Harper BA (Joint Hons) English & Creative Writing Liz Stocks BA (Joint Hons) Journalism & Creative Writing Tim Jennings BA (Joint Hons) Journalism & Creative Writing Jonny Irving BA (Hons) Journalism Poetry By University of Cumbria Students Vicky Billingham Lauren Dowell Mick Yates Helen Watson Kayleigh Kavanagh Liam Budd Production team BA (Hons) Graphic Design Mica Connelly www.micacharlotteconnelly.com Sarah Gill www.sarahgill.co.uk Gary Nicholson www.garyndesign.com 2 V V EDITOR'S LETTER W ords by the Water is about learning, literature, discussing topics, sharing ideas and interacting with people who share a similar passion. We hope to have captured that in Watermark which has been expertly crafted by a combination of University of Cumbria students who we would like to thank. We are proud to showcase our talents in this magazine and wish you the festival goers the best of times at whichever captivating events you choose to attend. Despite the economic situation the festival organisers assure us that attendance to the festival hasn't dropped and it's no wonder as we take a look at some of the highlights, in this year's Watermark. The 2012 Words by the Water festival is packed with important names in the literary world with some intriguing additions such as comediennes Shappi Khorsandi and Josie Long, and politicians Rory Stewart and Alistair Darling. We hope Watermark reflects the picturesque location of the festival and the plethora of talent performing this year. Sam and Tom FREE YOUTH TICKETS Bryony Tilsley is a key cog in the well oiled `Words by the Water' machine, helping to organise and promote the festival. This year young people can pick up free tickets to the festival and Bryony explains why this intriguing new concept has been introduced. V ORDS BY THE V ATER: V V THE POV VER OF LITERATURE L iterature has an amazing power of allowing you to take on the role of a character and shy away from the real world as you act out some of your fantasies. No matter what your age or where you are in the world, literature can take you on the journey of a lifetime.Imagine sitting on the crisp, green grass listening to the birds chirping and the water lapping over the rocks, or on a winter's evening, by an open log fire as you turn the pages of your book carefully engaging with the author. This year marks the 11th Words by the Water festival to be hosted at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.The festival provides an opportunity for writers and readers alike to mingle together and share their own views on literature, books and people.The Theatre by the Lake is situated on the shore of Derwentwater, surrounded by breathtaking scenery of mountains, fields and the lake itself. It is an ideal location to host this event and for people to come to and appreciate the natural beauty of Cumbria and the Lake District. Visiting this year's festival will allow you to `brush up' on your knowledge of politics, delve into the history and life of Dickens, learn about the science of the human body and explore the work of some prestigious local authors. T V VORDS BY KAY DUNBAR K ay Dunbar has been running the Words by the Water festival with her husband Stephen Bristow for the past eleven years. People often ask the couple if they are writers but Kay says: "We have always enjoyed books and so the real inspiration behind the festivals is to develop peoples reading of a wide range of subjects." Both Kay and Stephen have a background in education as they both worked at the University of Exeter, Kay specialising in English and Stephen in Philosophy. The couple love coming to the Lake District: "We like to go walking and we enjoy the literary heritage such as Wordsworth House and Ruskin's House. We are inspired by beautiful settings, we love the landscape and the countryside." As well as their love of the Lake District, Kay and Stephen are passionate about Italy, so much so that they run workshop courses out there during September and October. "We love everything about Italy, the food, the culture, we love it all." says Kay. "Ways With Words has always existed to promote both the written and the spoken word. We want to bring people together in beautiful surroundings to make contact with writers, journalists and experts in various fields - to talk, to argue, to listen, to engage and to learn." he festival is a great event to be a part of, but we realise that most young people can't really afford to see lots of events so offering tickets for free is the best way to tackle that problem. It's really important to give young people the opportunity to be involved with the festival. We want to encourage them to try something new. We have been running a similar project for the Telegraph Ways with Words festival in Dartington for several years and it has been a great success. Hundreds of young people have been able to come to the festival that would never have been able to otherwise and they all love it. We really wanted to expand on that and make our events more accessible. There are many events for young people; it depends on what they are interested in. We've got events about all sorts of subjects including literature, politics, psychology, history, biology, art, finance and the environment. Basically they can tailor the festival to suit their taste. Simon Watt, who co-presents Inside Nature's Giants on Channel Four, is going to be great fun. Even if you haven't seen the programme before he'll be giving a really interesting view of nature. For anyone who likes biology or nature this will be a must-see event. For anyone interested in literature there's a lot on offer. There are some brilliant events about Charles Dickens, which I think will transform the way you read his books. We have Marina Lewycka, Helen Dunmore, Margaret Drabble and Sarah Hall, who are all award-winning writers and to hear them speak about their work is really inspiring. We also have Annabel Pitcher talking about her first novel, so she talks about writing with a different perspective. Comedians Shappi Khorsandi and Josie Long willbe at the festival too. They have both won awards for their comedy too so it's a brilliant opportunity to see them. Their styles are very different and they both have a very different way of viewing the world. It's a great opportunity for youngsters and students to hear people speaking on a huge range of topics. They can be introduced to new ideas and different views about what's happening in our world, and there are opportunities to ask questions about issues that are important to them. I really would encourage anyone interested in coming to just do it and make the most of it. 3 V V "This is not going to be a daunting scholarly event, but simply a process of reading/listening and discussing open to everyone who wants to join in." V V A FRESH TV VIST ON OLIVER'S STORY By Liam Budd Ruth Richardson's new book, `Dickens and the Workhouse: Oliver Twist and the London Poor', was released last month coinciding with the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth and seeks to explore the social workings of the area and its affect on Dickens as a writer. determined to fight for it. It seemed that the owners and developers didn't care a fig for the deep history of the site, and its consecrated land or it's dead.'' The main problem faced in the process was that the previous government had rejected the English Heritage's recommendation to list it, and no appeal against such a decision is possible without substantive new evidence. Ruth said: "Entirely new material had to be obtained urgently." She then set to work researching for the cause within about a month, remarking: "I discovered that Dickens had lived within nine doors of the workhouse.'' The address was 10 Norfolk Street, where Dickens had lived on two separate occasions in his lifetime. The fact this has been overlooked by previous historians was that the address no longer exists. By using old maps Ruth was available to pinpoint the old Norfolk Street house, now still standing numbered 22 Cleveland Street. There is no doubt that this is an extremely significant breakthrough in the ongoing study of Dickens history. It helps people to look beyond the modern London and have access to the Dickensian London of the 19th century. Ruth said: "I think the workhouse in Cleveland was one of the key inspirations for Oliver Twist: not just the picture of the workhouse in the novel, but the fact that Dickens wrote the book at all." Ruth also celebrated Dickens' birthday in style, attending the morning wreath laying ceremony at the poet's corner, the burial place of Dickens, at Westminster Abbey. "I missed everything in the morning, being a complete midget. I didn't see a thing. But I heard the Archbishop of Canterbury's splendid speech, and tried not to wince when Ralph Fiennes attempted a Cockney accent." Along with the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth, this is a weighty year for our literary and cultural heritage in other ways. The international spotlight gazes on London for the Olympic Games later this year and I asked Ruth if she felt a duty of representing our heritage during this period. "I would like to think there are literary sportspeople who will be coming to England. He has readers world-wide, as I learned from the workhouse campaign, many of them are wonderful people who responded to our calls for support. I would be delighted if some of them came for the Olympics and stayed to visit the workhouse in Cleveland Street." Ruth features at two events at this year's festival; the first of which will be her talk on Dickens and the Poor where she will share her knowledge of Dickens and his connection with the Cleveland street workhouse. The second will be a study workshop on Oliver Twist. Ruth said that this will be: "A fresh look at some important passages in Oliver Twist this is not going to be a daunting scholarly event, but simply a process of reading/listening and discussing open to everyone who wants to join in. The book well deserves re-reading - it is full of good things." R uth Richardson made international headlines last year with her discovery linking the Cleveland street workhouse, as the near certain inspiration for the bleak workhouse setting of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. Ruth became an integral part of the organisation that saved the Cleveland street site from a proposed demolition to make room for modern flats. It was during her research into the site's history where she began unearthing its previously undiscovered association with Charles Dickens' early life. She is predominantly a historian of medicine but says: "I always loved Dickens - my first independent reading at the age of four was David Copperfield, and my first school prize aged six was a grown-up version of Oliver Twist." In 1989 Ruth wrote an article on Dr Joseph Rogers, a long time medical officer at the Cleveland workhouse and a reformer responsible for founding the Association for Improvement of London Workhouse Infirmaries: "He had done his best to improve the condition of the sick and poor in that workhouse, and in other Poor Law institutions across the country." It was this article that brought Ruth to the attention of the campaigners against the sites demolition and she was subsequently called in to assist by local people who were trying to save it. Ruth explained: "A gigantic development of modern flats was planned for the site completely out of proportion to the street, threatening the workhouse itself with obliteration, and completely ignoring the large pauper graveyard which surrounds it. It was the stupidity of destroying such an important building and its context - of treating it as if it were simply a brown field site that made me Sunday 4th: 10.45am � THE STUDIO Ruth Richardson: Quick Fire Questions Favorite Book? A toss up between Silas Marner and Middlemarch Favourite Author? Robert Louis Stevenson What do you wish you could have written? Frankenstein Which character were you born to play? Myself "I think the workhouse in Cleveland was one of the picture of the workhouse in the novel, but V V THE PLEASURE OF PHILOSOPHY By Darren Harper P Thanks to Nigel Warburton's ` Little History of A Philosophy' we can all access the pleasures of what is sometimes unfairly considered an abstract and elitist pursuit. hilosophy was the exclusive preserve of PhDs and the intellectually precocious, until Nigel Warburton wrote A Little History of Philosophy. His book takes us through two and a half thousand years of Western thought, showing us the point of all of this pontificating in a clear and compelling way. His conversational style introduces the philosophers and their ideas through accessible anecdotes and thought provoking thought experiments. It's a bit like going to the pub with a smart friend who just explains it all simply, and includes a few good stories as examples. Indeed, Warburton's lucid tone can even clarify the esoteric ramblings of giants such as Kant, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein. Their master works The Critique of Pure Reason, The World as Will and Representation and Tractatus Logico � Philosophicus are all neatly summarised for the uninitiated or frustrated reader in unambiguous and highly readable prose. In addition to these giants the book includes the other familiar favourites of Plato, Descartes and Hume et al, as any good introduction to philosophy should. But Warburton gives us something more. Amongst the regulars are thinkers which are not formally considered philosophers, but ought to be because of their significant contributions. It is pleasing to see chapters on Darwin and Freud, whose ideas on evolution and psychoanalyses deserve their places amongst the enlightenment and existentialism as some of the pillars of human thought. It is also refreshing to see that no less than four females inhabit this Pantheon. Amongst them the feminist philosopher Simone De Beauvior, and Hannah Arendt, with her thoughts on the evil nature of those responsible for the Holocaust. Though most writers of introductory books on philosophy are not bold enough to include contemporary philosophers - in case their predictions will not stand the test of time Warburton's prophetic abilities seemed measured. The final chapters include Judith Jarvis Thompson's arguments against the foetus-centric view on abortion, the computer scientist Alan Turing's views and Blade Runner style test for artificial intelligence. The concluding chapter shows Peter Singer's views on how we should give to charity: "We should contribute to charities that are most likely to benefit the worst off in the world in ways that will empower them to live independently." It also includes Singer's controversial views on euthanasia and society's speciesist attitude to animal cruelty. From Socrates to Singer, Warburton shows us that the point of philosophy is that it is `constantly challenging widely held assumptions'. A Little History of Philosophy embodies the spirit of the modern philosopher. As well as giving us an overview of the history of western philosophy, he shows us how to philosophise by offering balanced arguments on important ethical, moral and political situations. He also does this by incorporating the important female contributions to the discipline, as well as boldly including the philosophical giants of today which will not fail to be included in the tropes of tomorrow. DID YOU KNOV V... By Jonny Irving Charles Dickens once came to Cumbria in 1857 on a walking holiday with his friend Wilkie Collins. The pair stayed in various locations throughout the county with the book The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices being wrote throughout the journey. They stayed at the King's Arms Inn in Market Place, Wigton and Dickens was known to have remarked to his companion that the town was a dreary place apparently viewing it on a wet evening from the window of the Inn. Also on their Cumbria walking tour they stopped in at Allonby, Hesket Newmarket and Carrock Fell. Ewanrigg Hall in Maryport was another destination the pair took in, and was possibly used in The Woman in White as the setting for Limmeridge House. "He shows us how to philosophise by offering balanced arguments on important ethical, moral and political situations." Thursday 8th: 2pm � THE MAIN HOUSE the key inspirations for Oliver Twist. Not just the fact that Dickens wrote the book at all." 5 V V V V 6 V V ANNABEL PITCHER Claire Wisdom Annabel Pitcher is a young woman from West Yorkshire whose love of writing and telling stories led to the conception of her debut novel; `My Sister lives on the Mantelpiece'. The brilliantly crafted novel has been incredibly successful and has been critically acclaimed. As readers, we're always eager to learn what influences an author and despite the evident melancholy occurrences in the novel, there are aspects of Annabel and her life immersed within the pages. She tells how: "Every character has got a little bit of someone in them; I think more I just drew on my own experiences of having brothers and sisters, that's what was really useful. I've got younger and older siblings and I drew on that quite a lot when I was writing the Jamie and Jasmine scenes and how you kind of have that love, hate relationship, because I didn't want Jasmine to be perfect. My editor wanted to take out all the bits where she swears at Jamie and gets impatient, but I like that, because I think it makes it more real. With my little brother I'd do anything for him, but he's annoying and that's just how it is in real life. I'd like to think I was a bit like Sunya, but I'm probably not." Next in store for Annabel is her second novel entitled Ketchup Clouds, taking on a totally different persona of a 15 year old girl and I think it's safe to say, she is feeling the pressure of matching the success of her initial novel: "It was hard at the beginning, because people have really liked Mantelpiece and I was so worried I was going to write something rubbish and it took me ages to get going, it really did take me months and months. You know that feeling you get in an exam, where you just feel paralysed, it was like that. I was so anxious and thought write something good, write something good. It was only really when I relaxed and thought well, I'm going to write and do my best and then it started to flow more naturally and once I had relaxed the voice came quite easily. With the first one I never knew I was going to get published so I kind of wrote whatever. And the second one, I'm glad to have got that one done, I don't think I'll feel like that again, I feel really excited at the thought of my third one. Annabel's career has started with a bang and she is looking forward to what is to come. She says very enthusiastically: "I'm so excited to come to the festival, I haven't been to the Lake District for ages and I really do love it." G etting comfortable in her study and trying to eradicate the dreaded white page, Annabel Pitcher speaks of how she remains focused and driven, as she says: "It's the love of telling stories really, so it doesn't require a lot of motivation. I loved English when I was growing up, I was an English teacher, and it's just being able to tell stories and getting back to the characters. Because everybody that I know is at work, I don't know what I'd do if I didn't sit and write, I'd get really bored. Because I've got the house to myself for 10 hours a day, so I think I would go round the twist if I wasn't actually writing." "It seems to be very difficult to come up with anything other people haven't done, really, really hard. I was just hoping I'd get struck with inspiration because you do get influenced by others, especially if you enjoy it. I've just read Engleby by Sebastian Faulks and you start to think, oh I wonder if I could write something similar and it is quite hard. I think that's why when I'm actually writing a book, I tend not to do a lot of reading, because I'm scared you'll get influenced by things that you like." Despite this, the spark of inspiration for My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece came to Annabel one night, while travelling, when she watched United 93, a film about the September 11th tragedy, admittedly because this was the only English film on at that time, but extremely influential none the less. Annabel says: "How weird it is to lose someone "It's the love of telling stories really, so it doesn't require a lot of motivation." personal to you in such a public way � that's what really interested me." Given that the novel was born from the theme of terrorism, this features predominantly in the background, and in the foreground is the ten year old narrator Jamie's brutally honest depiction of his heart wrenching, yet humorous struggles regarding the death of his sister. Despite many underlying themes Annabel refutes the idea of the novel being an issues novel. "I think the difference between an issues novel and a story, is within an issues novel, the issue is the most important thing, whereas in a story, its character led and I saw it as Jamie's story. I never ever thought of it as book about grief or a book about this or that. I just wanted to tell this story about this little boy, who happens to have all these things in his life and I saw it like that and I wrote it like that and hopefully that's what makes it readable and not completely depressing. I think if you would have gone into more depth about the alcoholism or his sister's anorexia or the dad's grief or the mum's affair, it might have been really depressing." To take a reprieve from writing during her working day, she enjoys heading outdoors, stretching her legs and striding across a field as she so energetically puts it. It is unsurprising then to find that in the novel the family is relocated to Ambleside in the Lake District. Annabel says: "I love the Lake District; it's my favourite place in England and Ambleside in particular." Monday 5th: 2.30pm � THE STUDIO V VORDS BY THE V VATER 2012 TI ETABLE V V This timetable insert " has been designed to be pulled out of the Watermark publication How it passes. You stay still while the world spins time around your feet. It's the sunny days spent days indoors next to the green grass corners that the fly choirs mourn for and fields filled with yellow white weeds wave at your life passing to a close. "This Corner of Suburbia". Written By. Liam Budd. Colour / Location Chart MAIN HOUSE STUDIO Friday 10am 10.30am 11am 11.30am 12pm 12.30pm 1pm 1.30pm 2pm 2 Percy Kelly The Man Who Couldn't Stop Drawing 2nd March to the 22nd Rory Stewart The Mood of Britain Main House 12.30pm Tam Dalyell His Autobiography: The Importance of Being Awkward 2pm Saturday 3 Craig Brown Chaired by Melvin Bragg Beyond Parody 10am Stefan Collini Martin Gayford Are Universities About Money? 10.45am Conversations with David Hockney 11.30am Martin Vander Weyer Financial Imtrigue 12pm Alistar Darling One Thousand Days at Number Eleven 1pm Philip Coggan Drowning in Debt 2.15pm Sunday 4 Ruth Richardson Dickens and the Poor 10.45am Bob Marshall Andrews Off Message 11am Jenny Hartley Dickens and the Letter Writer 12.15pm Marina Lewycka Various Pets Alive and Dead 12.30pm Deborah Bull The Everyday Dancer 2pm Monday 5 6 7 8 Adam Mars-Jones His Own Writing - And On Judging the Essay Competition on Creativity 10.45am Janette Radcliffe Richards Cathrine Hall & Joe Baker People and Places 12.15pm Robin Harvie Chris Cooper The ethics of Transplants 10.30am Why we run 12pm Drugs in Sport 2pm Helen Rappaport Victoria and Albert - Love Marrage and Bereavement 10.30am Faramerz Dabhoiwala Tuesday A History of the Sexual Revolution 10.45am Julia Boyd The Vanished World of Peking 12pm Mark Pagel Stephen Moss Conforming to Culture 12.15pm The Natural History of an English Village 2pm Hunter Davies Wednesday The Winwright Letters 10.30am Jan Zalasiewicz Earth's Story in a Single Pebble 11.45am Tim Jeal Explorers of the Nile 12pm Matthew Sturgis When in Rome 2pm Edna Croft Maryport 10.15am Claire Tomalin Poetry Breakfast Coffee & croissants Circle Gallery 10.30am Thursday Charles Dickens: His Torments and Triumphs 10.30am Margaret E. Shepherd Accross the Oceans: Emigration from Cumberland and West 11.45am Robert Rowland Smith Robert Drake Great Minds and Lifes Ups and Downs 12pm The Becs and Grills of the Northern Fells 1.15pm Nigel Warburton A Little History of Philosophy 2pm Friday 9 Virginia Nicholson War and Peace, 1939-49 10am Hugo Vickers The Tragic Untold Story of the Duchess of Windsor 10.30am John Welshman The Titanic: Her Sailing and Sinking 11.30am Haxel Wood & Gail Pirkis talk to Penelope Lively Thomas Penn Penelope Lively Reading Addiction 2pm The Dawn of Tudor England 1pm 10 Saturday Slightly Foxed: A Lively, Literary Journal 12pm Helen Dunmore New Departures 10am Jessica Fellows The World of Downtown Abbey 11.30am Gabrielle Walker A History of Antartica 11.45am Denis Avey The Man who broke into Auschwitz 1pm 11 Sunday Louise Foxcroft Calories and Corsets: A History of Dieting 10.15pm Kathy Lette Martin Bell Coping with Asperger's Syndrome 12.30pm From Television to Politics to Poetry 2pm V V V V 2.30pm 3pm 3.30pm 4.pm 4.30pm 5pm 5.30pm 6pm 6.30pm 7pm 7.30pm 8pm Prue Leith Relish - Her Life on a Plate 3.30pm John Murray A Tour of the Lakes 5pm Clive Boursnell& Christopher Holliday Houses of the Lake District 6.30pm Chris Wadsworth Percy Kelly: His Life and Work 8pm Melvyn Bragg Book of Books 2.30pm Conor Woodman Commerse with a concience 3.45pm Chris Mullen A Walk On Part 4pm Philip Coggan How worried should we be about the financial situation? 5.15pm Bob Marshall Andrews, Chris Mullen & Rory Stuart Wither Politics, Wither Britain 5.30pm Josie Long The Future is Another Place Stand Up Comedy 8pm Paul Sclicke Dickens and His Work 2.15pm Michael Buerk & Roger Bolton Michael Slater Broadcasting for the Beeb 3.30pm Dickens the Journalist 3.45pm Jonathan Steele Ghosts of Afghanistan 5pm Ruth Richardson Dickens Study / Book group on Oliver Twist 5.15pm Shane Spall & Timothy Spall The Spalls Sail Away 6.30pm Annabel Pitcher Facing Intense Emotions in Fiction 2.15pm Jenifer Glynn Mark Hanson The Discovery of DND and Rosalind Franklin 3.30pm Fat Fate and Disease 5pm Mark Rice- Oxley Depression and Recovery 6.30pm Margaret Drabble and Sarah Hall Turning to short stories 8pm David Bainbridge Middle Age 2.15pm Mihir Bose How Sport as Changed the Modern World 3.30pm Mellanie Challenger Nature and Extinction 3.45pm Hunter Davies Sellafield Stories 5pm Roger Bolton, Hunter Davies and Eric Robson Old Boys 8pm Jan Zalasiewicz & Mark Williams The History of the Earth's Climate 2.15pm Fiona MacCarthy Edward BurneJones and the Pre-Raphaelites 3.30pm Bill McGuire Changing Climate 3.45pm Stanley Wells Shakespeare, Sex and Love 5pm Gavin Pretor Prinney Looking at Couds 5.15pm Martin Rowson Simon Watt News, Views and Cartoons 6.30pm Inside Natures Giants 8pm Stephen Matthews The Spectral Army of Souther Fell 2.45pm John Gittings The Glorious Arts of Peace 3.30pm Penny Bradshaw The Lake Poems of John Wilson 4.15pm Tali Short The Optimism Bias 5pm William Waters Angels and Icons: The Stained Glass of J.R.Clayton 5.45pm Raymond Tallis Being Human 6.30pm Adam Sisman Matthew Hollis Anne Stott Hugh Trevor-Roper: A Brilliant Historian 2.30pm Edward Thomas: His Final Five Years 3.30pm Wilberforce: His Family and Friends 4pm Jill Dawson & Christopher Burns Fiction: The Process 5pm Sarah Whittingham Fern Forever and the Victorians 5.30pm Elliot Perlman History and Fiction 7pm Shappi Khorsandi Stand Up Comedy 8pm Taylor Downing Spies in the Skys 2.15 pm Stephen Haddelsey Shackleton's Dream 3.45 pm Joan Bakewell She's Leaving Home 4pm Tea, Cakes & History Circle Gallery 4pm Pen Vogler Noo Saro-Wiwa Looking for Transwonderland 5.15pm Mark Logue & Peter Conradi The King's Speech 5.30pm WBTW Bursary Fundraising Auction 6.30pm What's He Angry About? The Life and Times of John Osborne 8pm Joanna Hodgkin The Story of a Bohemian Marriage: Nancy Laurence Durrell 2.15pm William Feaver talks to Jon Blair The Pitmen Painters 3.30pm Gerard Baker Mrs Beeton and the Modern Kitchen 3.45pm Frances Spalding Prunella Clough and Her Position in the English Art Scene 3.30pm Michele Hanson Growing Up in 1950's Suburbia 5.15pm "Boy Racers" Written by. Mick Yates. this roman road straight as a drag strip did boy racers duel down here in Latin times? did they compare the chrome on their chariots? did they customise them? write odes and eulogies in praise of their performance? did they pull amorous maidens along in the slipstreams of their togas? The tree branches, straining out, veins of ink leaves shuddering, strands of hair each individually imperfect. the sun sinks, impossibly vast the branches and pores of each tiny leaf darkens like dead, to disfigure with the night. Dawn brings bloody reds, zesty oranges and light indigos, to ignite the morning. the trees silhouette on the horizon and the burning morning sun, splits the living and the dead. "Bruises" .Written By .Vicky .Billingham "Bruce" Written By. Helen Watson. Chowed down, chewed in mammoth mouthfuls. Nothings too big for burley Bruce. Every morsel is devoured, destroyed. There is no remorse, no remains. Swallowing the steak whole, it barely touches the sides. Licking his lips, he gives a satisfied sigh. Until the next tasty treat. "Holey Socks. Are Not. Acceptable" Written By. Lauren. Dowell. To my darling husband, Please do not leave the toilet seat up. It is neater when it is down. Bathrooms, do not clean themselves, use Flash All In One, under the sink. The cooker is switched on with the first knob on the left. Please do not live off packaged food. Use my cookbooks because your waistline will tire of microwave pizza, and for gods sake clean up your crumbs. Remember, holey socks are not acceptable. Please bin accordingly. Nasal hair. Not attractive, so Keep them under control yeah? You must comb your hair everyday, Just For Men hair dye is still Under the sink. Its not too late you know. Bring me flowers on my birthday. Not lilies. Daisies. Remember, I like daisies. I would say I'll see you soon, but You're going straight to hell. All my love, Julie POETRY BY THE V VATER The blank canvas of eyes a serene tongue whispering false myths. Broken statue letting hands take their fill empty remains. The living dead of matrimony. Separate the tears and tides of blood each flower destroyed before its bloom "Breaking Ties" Written By. Kayleigh. Kavanagh. "In sickness and in health" You are the disease. Wandering thoughts take easy bodies with one embrace, caught this world was broken. Swift wings take me. Before he does. STEFAN COLLINI Tom Little Stefan Collini is an academic who is Professor of English Literature and Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge. He joins this years Words by the Water festival to dispell the myth that universities need to show that they help to make money in order to justify getting more money, as he exclusively explained to `Watermark'. I wrote my book, What Are Universities For? out of a growing conviction that government policy towards universities in Britain is in danger of doing them irreparable harm. British universities have, by any measure, been very successful over the past century, and it's clear that modern, complex societies will more and more depend on having flourishing universities. But the changes that have been forced on these institutions in the past twenty years are having the effect of making them less rather than more valuable to society . Universities are not just glorified employment agencies or industrial laboratories developing products for commerce. A lot of different, and incompatible roles are now assigned to universities, as they always have been, but one way to begin to think about their distinctiveness is to say that universities provide a partly protected space within which trying to think the less inadequate thought has priority over any other purposes in a way which it would be madness - or, at the very least, disruptive - for other institutions in society even to countenance. I don't for a moment suggest that good thinking is only done, or can only be done, in universities. But universities are, I think, the only institutions where pursuing such thinking is in principle not directly subordinate to any other purpose. And this is where the fashionable `market' model goes wrong. Trying to meet the perceived needs of corporate or similar customers will not safeguard the public interest in creative long-term research; "Society actually obtains the greatest benefits from universities by encouraging them to concentrate on doing the things they are particularly good at." any more than trying to meet the expressed needs of school-leaving customers will not safeguard the public interest in balanced long-term education. To draw a parallel, we could consider whether, if the British Museum were wholly dependent on the income from entrance charges, we would reason that the expressed preferences of the paying customers should determine the long-term collection policy of the museum. The answer surely is no. It is a standard assumption in various forms of political and economic theory that public provision attempts to sustain those long-term values which can become casualties of the necessarily shortterm perspectives of profit-driven private provision. However, I would have to say that there are aspects of recent policies, from both this government and its predecessor that may in fact be undermining this function. There is always a risk that well-meant attempts to demonstrate the `relevance' of universities to society's needs can end up being counter-productive. The core of the problem lies in trying to move too quickly from the activities carried on in universities to the benefits society can be seen to derive from them. Versions of this mistake are evident in, to return to it for a moment, the misconceived form of the `impact' criterion: while it is essential that a persuasive case should be made for the benefits society receives from scientific and scholarly research, these are, necessarily, indirect and long-term. Similarly, in discussions about the relations between universities and local businesses, it is evident that the most fruitful relationships arise where university departments concentrate on doing the kinds of research they are good at rather than attempting to second-guess the current (and perhaps temporary) needs of particular businesses and then shaping their research to meet them. And again, it is frequently pointed out that the leading employers do not necessarily want graduates who have been given some narrow training which is intended to equip them for one particular kind of job: such jobs and their demands change rapidly and such graduates tend to be too narrow in their perspectives and too rigid in their thinking. A graduate who has profited from an intellectually rigorous and culturally extending education will serve employers' needs far better in the long run. Major universities are complex organisms, fostering an extraordinary variety of intellectual, scientific and cultural activity, and the significance and value of much that goes on within them cannot be restricted to a single national framework or to the present generation. They have become an important medium - perhaps the single most important institutional medium - for conserving, understanding, extending, and handing on to subsequent generations the intellectual, scientific, and artistic heritage of mankind. In thinking about the conditions necessary for their flourishing, we should not, therefore, take too short-term or too purely local a view, nor should we focus exclusively on undergraduate teaching. Adopting this wider perspective may also help us become more aware of the limitations of treating economic growth as the overriding test of value. Most people, as I've implied, recognise the standing of such values in their own lives - they do not care for their partners or their children in order to generate a profit any more than they admire a beautiful view or a natural wonder because it increases employment but, as I have also suggested, it has become difficult to appeal to such values in a public sphere whose discourse is chiefly framed by the combination of individualism and instrumentalism. Universities are not just good places in which to undertake such fundamental questioning; they also embody an alternative set of values in their very rationale. If we are only trustees for our generation of the peculiar cultural achievement that is the university, then those of us whose lives have been shaped by the immeasurable privilege of teaching and working in a university are not entitled to give up on the attempt to make the case for its best purposes and to make that case tell in the public domain, however discouraging the immediate circumstances. After all, no previous generation entirely surrendered this ideal of the university to those ontological fantasists who think they represent `the real world'. And that is why I have written my book. Asking ourselves `What are universities for?' may help remind us, amid distracting circumstances, that we - all of us, inside universities or out - are indeed merely custodians for the present generation of a complex intellectual inheritance which we did not create - and which is not ours to destroy. Saturday 3rd: 10.45am � THE STUDIO 7 V V THE SPECTRAL ARMY OF SOUTHER FELL 8 V V T he story of the spectral army began in the heart of the Lake District on Midsummer's eve in 1735, when the sun set over the misty fells to reveal strange shapes moving through the clouds. Twenty-six people were later brought before a magistrate to swear under oath that it had been an army. They claimed they had seen troops marching five abreast alongside cavalry and carriages in a procession that constantly disappeared and reappeared until nightfall. There was no evidence of the army having been there the following morning, and the sides of the mountain were too steep for an army to ascend. In his book, The Spectral of Souther Fell, Stephen Matthews traces the history of one of the Lake District's longest-standing and best-authenticated folk tales, and attempts to unravel the mystery that, for centuries, has baffled writers, scientists and ordinary people alike. William Wordsworth wrote about the spectral army in his first published collection of poetry, An Evening Walk, and dismissed the story as an imaginary and fantastical tale from the peasant farmers. In tracing the history and legacy of the Spectral Army for his book, Stephen Matthews has been able to come to his own conclusions about what really happened. "If you're considering the readiness and susceptibility of people to see things in that way, and then to see the process by which the tale grew among an enclosed group of people who were open to mutual suggestion, and who found themselves as the subject of notoriety among gentlemen and eminent people from all over the country, it becomes clear how the legend of the Spectral Army began to take form and grow." 2.45pm V VILLIAM V VATERS `ANGELS AND ICONS' `A BOOKCAS PENNY BRADSHAV V `THE LAKE POEMS OF JOHN V VILSON' ngels and Icons' is the story of the craft and the industry of stained glass window making in the time of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; a generation of enthusiastic young men who strove to reshape and raise the standards of it to make it a serious art form. "The making of this book goes back a long way, really. As a teenager I was fascinated by the stained glass of Edward Burne-Jones, which I thought was seriously underappreciated." "Because there was such a commercial pressure in the nineteenth century to produce stained glass, there were a lot of rather poor people cashing in on the act. Interest in stained glass is growing. But it has had a very bad press because it obviously tends to be associated with religious subject matter which limits it. It can appeal to the whole of mankind outside of that, and the great artists take it away from just the Christian themes to create themes that apply to the whole of humanity." "Because of the aesthetic movement under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites, it became more secular and they emancipated themselves away from this gothic revival to something that was much more decorative. They realised that there was the beauty of glass was something to exploit. And so it was an excuse to create something beautiful. Because then it appealed to the wider public, they wanted to decorate their houses in beautiful glass, so after 1870 it became much more universal and popular." "This was the downfall of it all. There was suddenly the huge pressure of this vast, expanding market that had its effect upon the production of stained glass. So after 1870 they all just became rather mechanistic and predictable. These pressures to make money are so great." D r Penny Bradshaw is the Programme Leader for English at the University of Cumbria. At this years festival Penny will give a talk on her upcoming book, The Lake Poems of John Wilson, one of the lesser known names in the literary school of the lake poets. Penny's collection is the first to be released from Wilson in over 100 years and hopes to reveal, to a new generation, Wilson's exciting response to his time in the Cumbrian landscape. It was an estate in Windermere called Elleray where Wilson lived for four years honing his skills as a young writer: "I feel he produced his most powerful poetry while he was living in the lakes, and certainly his best poetry is the poetry that engages with the landscape of the lakes. One of the things that makes Wilson quite unusual is that he was an incredibly athletic man. We don't generally think of poets as being athletic." Wilson's engagement with the landscape seems to be an intensely physical one, which Penny feels comes across significantly in his poetry: `'He was a renowned Cumbrian wrestler, he was a great swimmer, he walked the fells, he was fisherman and he liked shooting." His physical and engaging response to the Lake District is one that the modern By Liam Budd individual can identify with; the modern Lake District is no longer one of solitude, but one of vibrancy and activity and it is this that Penny feels, makes Wilson's lake poems so relevant for a modern audience. As well as the talk on her book, Penny will be running a workshop at Greta Hall on the poetry of both Coleridge and Southey. 4.15pm 5.15pm EDNA CROFT `MARYPORT' W hen Edna Croft's young grandson asked her what life was like in a small town in the 1950s, she decided to write it all down and so began Maryport; an account of the day-to-day lives of a tight-knit coastal community in the years following the war. Edna said: "I think that the war years get a lot of bad press as do the 1960s. But there isn't a lot written about the 50s, and if there is, it's a very dismal and bleak view, when in fact it was all rather hopeful and glamorous and fun." Maryport is the account of Edna's journey through childhood, and the story of the people and town she was surrounded by. It begins with her birth on a cold and bleak December night She tenderly describes her mother's determination to achieve the best life possible for her daughters and relates to images of children playing hockey in the street, and holidays by steam train to the beach; scenes that were a part of the common lives of people of Edna Croft's generation:"The response has been fantastic. People like the humour, and as it's only being sold locally, so a lot are remembering the people's names and can identify with it." "I think people of my generation were fortunate in that we got a solid education that would set us up for life, and I was lucky in that my mother was very forward thinking and wanted her children to know about the outside world; about culture and the arts. It was a happy childhood but I'm not completely nostalgic about that time. I hated how we had to wash, and I wouldn't have a coal fire now if you begged me; I enjoy central heating far too much." 10.15am SE DAY AT V VORDS BY THE V VATER By Tim Jennings `ACROSS THE OCEANS' BY MARGARET E. SHEPHERD F F or over ten years the Words by the Water festival has brought some of the biggest names in literature to the picturesque Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. On March 8th it's the turn of the local, independent publisher Bookcase. Bookcase is a vast secondhand antiquarian bookshop in Carlisle that has published books of local interest for twenty years, and one whole day in the Studio is devoted to its latest publications. Owner Stephen Matthews has drawn upon a long-standing relationship with the Words by the Water festival to bring a range of local writers to a wider audience. Stephen said: "It's great to have the opportunity to give a voice to people who have something quite interesting to say, but don't normally have big audiences. So many people have specialist interests and enthusiasms and it's a nice way of sharing them." "Edna Croft has a fascinating story and an interesting view of her childhood and on the other end of the pole you've got Margaret Shepherd who has done a vast amount of scholarly work that would ordinarily be lost in specialist journals, yet appeals to a lot of people." rom 1850 to 1914, tens of thousands of people left their homes in Cumberland and Westmorland and set sail across the oceans in search of opportunity. Margaret E. Shepherd traces their story in Across the Oceans. "When I decided to investigate Cumbrian emigration, I discussed the project with friends and relatives in Cumbria I found that almost everyone knew of a member of their family or a family friend who had emigrated." The book describes the three-month journey, which, in the early years of emigration, was far from comfortable: Storms battered the small ships that set sail from the harbours in Maryport and Whitehaven; sometimes tearing away masts and tossing cargo overboard. Below deck, the passengers were packed like sardines in dark and damp accommodation, and fed an unappetising diet of dirty water, salt meat, rice, and lime juice to prevent scurvy. "The research and writing has impressed upon me the very different experiences that the emigrants had � for example, the difference between crossing the Atlantic in 1831 in a tiny sailing ship or by a luxury liner such as the Mauretania in 1912." "Most of all, I think the courage of the early emigrants has to be admired � venturing over the ocean to an unknown future with the recognition that they might never see their Cumbrian relatives again." In researching the book, Shepherd has travelled far and wide herself: "I wrote to local newspapers in Cumbria, to all UK Family History journals and, as New Zealand was a destination favoured by many Cumbrian's and still had a small population I wrote to every regional newspaper in that country � all inviting descendants of the emigrants to contact me with as much information as possible. The response was amazing!" 11.45am ROBERT DRAKE `BECKS AND GILLS OF THE NORTHERN FELLS' T he landscape of the Lake District is diverse, vast and above all else beautiful. For centuries tourists have trailed across the fells in search of the picturesque grandeur that has been described in print since the time Daniel Defoe visited the area in the early 1724 and described the region as the `wildest, most barren and frightful land I have ever passed over.' Robert Drake, rural craftsman and writer, describes how he was rambling through the Northern Lakes in search of inspiration for a new book, when he discovered a hidden waterfall and pool at the top of Hay Gill, and the idea for `Becks and Gills of the Northern Fells' crystallized. "The book is an exploration of the unknown, in that the watercourses of the Northern Fells are rarely visited, by humans at least. And they haven't been especially well-written about. When I saw this exquisite fountain, I decided to focus my exploration on the hidden watercourses in the hope of finding other such magical places." He hopes that the book will interest people enough to direct them off the beaten track, so he can share `the intimate experience of being close to the becks and gills in all their infinite variety'. Robert Said: "I hope that some people may be inspired to seek out the delights that I encountered, there may be those who are physically not able to explore, for all kinds of reasons, and if this book, together with a good map provides a way for some to venture in spirit along the becks and gills of the Northern Fells, then I will be well pleased." 1.15pm 9 V V S happi Khorsandi was such an avid reader in her younger days her parents worried about her social skills. So it's ironic that Shappi now makes her living from talking to complete strangers and making them laugh. "I have been inspired by books in general, I think we all have." said Shappi. She is coming to the Words by the Water festival to perform her well-acclaimed narrative stand-up piece Me and My Brother in our Pants, Holding Hands. The show will tell the audience the story of her relationship with her brother, a show described by the London Evening Standard as: "About a brother and sister who were best friends but also beat each other up. Piercingly funny material." Shappi's rise stardom has seen a series of high profile appearances on Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow and Have I Got News For You among many more. She is also the star of her own show on Radio 4 `Shappi's Talk' As a 2010 British Comedy Award Nominee she is looking forward to coming to Cumbria, and 10 V V Award winning comedian Shappi Khorsandi spoke to Jonny Irving ahead of her narrative stand-up piece `Me and my brother in our pants, holding hands'. performing at the festival: "The audience at festivals is very different to normal. They're lovely gigs to play. The comic John Richardson says Keswick is amazing, so I'm looking forward to spending a weekend in Keswick and seeing what it's like." However, she has an unusual favourite place in Cumbria: "I have been on lots of holidays to the Lake District, but Shap is my favourite place because it's my namesake. Even though I have never actually been there." Originally born in Tehran, Iran she fled to London with her family after the 1979 revolution. She has built a great career here in UK but still has a deep connection with the people. On the current Middle East conflicts Shappi says: "I hope it's going to be resolved without military action. It's a difficult time for everyone involved; it should be dealt with through politics." AN EVENING OF PANTS COMEDY V VITH SHAPPI By Darren Harper Friday 9th: 8pm � THE MAIN HOUSE CONVERSATIONS V VITH DAVID HOCKNEY BY MARTIN GAYFORD By Liam Budd Martin Gayford is a British writer who, in his own words, writes mostly about art and jazz. His newest book ` Bigger Message: Conversations A with David Hockney' will be under discussion when he appears at the festival this year. artin Gayford has spent most of his working life as an art critic. Currently he is the chief art critic for Bloomberg News whilst also contributing regularly for the Telegraph as well as many other art magazines. Throughout the course of his career Gayford has written four books, each one focusing on a particular artist and over a very specific timeframe. For instance, his first book The Yellow House looks at Vincent Van Gogh over a period of nine weeks in his life. Following the publication of this book -which gained critical acclaim both here in the UK and overseas in America- Martin then went on to write books about the artists John Constable and Lucian Freud. Interestingly the latter of which, titled Man in a Blue Scarf, details the time when Martin posed for Lucian over a period of around 250 hours. The painting, which was given the same title as the book, then went on to hang in the National Portrait Gallery. Martin's latest book once again uses a singular artist as its subject. In A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney, Gayford speaks with one of Britain's most well-known and most popular living artists. Hockney, born in Bradford, but now based in Bridlington and London, spent time with the author last year discussing the finer points of his career and his life and art as a whole. We are given the privilege to look back and learn about Hockney's time studying in London, working in California and moving back home to his beloved Yorkshire. He also discusses art theory and art history with Gayford addressing predominantly `the paradoxes of representing a three-dimensional world on a flat surface'. Most specifically the book looks on Hockney's latest obsession with painting wide reaching landscapes and trees. The book comes at a time when David Hockney seems very much in fashion, with his new exhibition of art created on his iPad this book seems to fit in perfectly at the moment. However, it also will appeal to anybody who is interested in not only David Hockney, but the British Art Scene and the actual reasoning behind the creation of painting and art. M "The paradoxes of representing a threedimensional world... on a flat surface" Saturday 3rd: 11.30pm � THE MAIN HOUSE TORY RORY SHARES HIS KNOV VLEDGE By Liam Budd Rory Stewart, Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border, is appearing at this year's festival to discuss his two books `The Places in Between' and `The Prince of the Marshes'. Both books detail Stewart's vast interest, knowledge and career in Afghanistan. Liam Budd takes a look and Stewart's life so far. ory Stewart is a man with an immensely interesting and varied life. Born in Hong Kong to Scottish parents, he was raised partly in Malaysia, but returned to Scotland when he was still young to be educated. He attended Eton College as a boy and then went on to study History, Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford. Here he had a chance encounter with Prince Charles who later gave him a summer job to tutor the young Princes; William and Harry. You may be inclined to think that Stewart's journey to become a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party would have been predictable and speedy; however, this is not the case. In fact, as a teenager he was a member of the Labour Party and it was after University that he decided he wanted to leave Britain once again. It would take Rory several jobs and one long walk until he became the MP for Penrith and The Border. During his gap year Rory joined Scotland's Black Watch regiment as an officer. Afterwards he joined the British Foreign Service as a diplomat. During his time in this role he worked as a diplomat in the British Embassy in Indonesia and subsequently as British Representative to Montenegro after the Kosovo campaign. In spite of this, his biggest and most astounding achievement came at the turn of the Millennium. In 2000 through to 2002 Rory Stewart trekked a 6000 mile journey across Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan (post-invasion,) India and Nepal. During this trek he stayed in the homes of people living within small village communities. It was most likely thanks to Stewart's gained experience in his already varied career and his mammoth trek that gained him the job of Deputy Governorate for the Coalition Provisional Authority in not one, but two provinces in Southern Iraq. Then in 2006, Prince Charles once again gave him a job; as Chief Executive of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation. This was a charity that helped to repair and rebuild areas of Afghanistan as well as stimulate their craft and arts market. Stewart held this role until 2010 when he was finally elected as a Member or Parliament. During this incredibly busy time for Stewart (I haven't even mentioned his numerous academic roles such as a teaching post for Human Rights at Harvard) he even managed to write two critically acclaimed books. His first book, The Places in Between was published in 2004 and focuses on his 32 days walking solo across occupied Afghanistan. This book made the New York Times bestseller list and gained him the attention of many American politicians including the now President, Barack Obama, and their Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Then in 2008 his second book, `The Prince of the Marshes,' was published. This time Stewart chose to look on his time as Deputy Governorate Co-ordinator in Iraq. This second book looked closely at the civil unrest and the need for a more humane approach in the country. Today, Rory Stewart works closer to home, here in Cumbria. In 2010 he was elected as MP for Penrith and the Border constituency, however, this hasn't stopped Stewart from taking on other challenges. In an attempt to get to know his constituency, Stewart has been embarking on walking expeditions since 2009. He also walked the entire length of the River Eden to gain better knowledge of the ecology and to raise money for the River's Trust. R Friday 2nd: 12.30pm � THE MAIN HOUSE "It would take Rory several jobs and one long walk until he became the MP for Penrith and The Border" V V V V R oger Bolton takes to the stage twice during this year's festival, firstly to discuss with Michael Buerk their careers at the BBC, and also to talk about the unusual number of Carlisle students who became outstanding writers, journalists and broadcasters following the Second World War. However, the Radio 4 presenter stressed that he was here to learn as well, and looks forward to hearing what Hunter Davies and Eric Robson have to say about Carlisle's post war flourish of writers. "I want to ask whether this could be an accident and what does it say about the Carlisle grammar school system of the time. There was a really big opening in the 60s for Northerners, who were welcomed into writing and I would like to know what Eric thinks about it, about that generation and how they saw the world. I'm here to find things out as well; about why things have happened. I want to make sure the audience get their say as well because it's very frustrating when the audience's questions don't get answered." Roger will also be speaking about his BBC career which has spanned several decades. "Me and Michael Beurk are both the same age, but we have had different career paths. He came through local journalism into the BBC and has always been in ROGER BOLTON front of the camera. I was always behind the scenes, working as an editor but when my BBC contract was cancelled when I was about 50 I ended up making the move in front of the camera presenting. I would like to ask him about exploring current affairs news because we worked in the same period but in different ways. I would like to see his views on news presenting, and anything interesting he has to say on censorship." "It will be really interesting to hear what he has to say about his definitive period of reporting about South Africa in the 1980s. I used to know where the front line was with regard to reporting on conflict; both sides wanted you to survive so that they could tell their tale. But now it is difficult to know where the front line is, and journalists are becoming targets." See our middle page pull out guide to find out where you can listen to Roger at this year's festival. Tom Little Tuesday 6th: 8pm � THE MAIN HOUSE Desert Island Books The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats When I was young I travelled to Ireland and I have done a lot of professional work there. W.B. Yeats is one of the greatest people of the 20th century and I would love to travel with this collection. A Walk Around The Lakes by Hunter Davies This book allows me to follow Hunter round the lakes! The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Chris Hibbert This is a brilliant book, and London is a fascinating place. The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald She is a genius who only started writing novels at sixty and in this one she creates a very strange intriguing atmosphere. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy I've never read it but it's a very long one so it would keep me busy on the desert island for a while, and its length makes it excellent toilet paper for afterwards as well.