Book now for this year’s fabulous festival!

Wantage Literary FestivalTickets are now on sale for the 2015 Wantage (not just) Betjeman Literary Festival!

Book online – or buy directly from The Beacon on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, or at the Vale and Downland Museum – for the best seats in the house to hear The Life and Loves of a She Devil author Fay Weldon’s thoughts on a half century of writing contemporary fiction.

Racing legend Henrietta Knight will unveil her latest book, Not Enough Time, which chronicles her marriage to former National Hunt jockey Terry Biddlecombe – while former Beirut hostage Terry Waite will be telling us about his first novel The Voyage of The Golden Handshake.

Saturday, October 24 – Sunday, November 1 2015

Former Childrey resident and Wantage school pupil Eleanor Stewart will be coming home to describe what made her leave holy orders as a nun … to become a mother-of-two – and laughs will be a plenty during the week courtesy of one of the most talked-about shows on the UK comedy scene – Austentatious.

Back by popular demand is Little Chico’s hilarious Murder Mystery dinner, which this year will be serving up ‘Die School Union’ at The Bear Hotel – with not all of the guests making it to registration…

To keep the jokes coming, sports hack Martin Johnson will regale us with entertaining tales of his life as a journalist in Can I carry your bags?

In addition to talks on the ancient Greeks, Gallipoli, Wantage tales from WW1, a scandal at Blenheim Palace, and female boxing in the 18th Century, chemistry teacher Andy Brunning will be explaining the weird science behind our every day food and drink in Why does asparagus make your wee smell?

And as the story of the army’s secret X platoon is revealed, there will also be writing and art workshops, contemporary poetry, and a unique scratch and sniff fragrance event with tea.

Wantage Parish Church will host an evening of John Betjeman poems set to classical music; Jonathan Beckman will tell us about an affair that ruined the reputation of the Queen of France, while Agatha Christie fan Kathryn Harkup investigates the poisons the author used to bump off her characters.

There will also be a chance to pitch your work to an editor and a literary agent – and take part in a debate to find out if self-publishing is a dirty word.

To ensure the children aren’t bored over half term, Guardian cartoonist Ros Asquith will read poetry and teach them how to draw; narrator Marion Leeper will take them on a bear hunt, and Matt Brown, author of the adventure series Compton Valance, will be putting them through a time traveller test.

Saturday, October 24 – Sunday, November 1 2015

Programme organiser Dorothy Burrows said: ‘This year we have something for everyone, from famous and first time authors, to comedy and interactive sessions that involve food, tea and even perfume.

‘Keep checking our website and Twitter for updates on what’s happening – and remember to book early!’

Advance booking is strongly recommended for all events and essential for creative writing and craft workshops, the Murder Mystery Dinner, the Scratch and Sniff Afternoon Tea and the Pitch to the Agent and Pitch to the Editor events.

There are three ways to buy tickets…

Visit The Beacon coffee shop and buy from the Festival Stall at the following times and dates only…September 23, 25, 26, 30 and October 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 10.30am – 1pm. This is a brilliant way to find out more about the events, as a member of the committee will be there to answer your queries.

Buy in person from the Vale & Downland Museum during museum opening hours.

Buy online from Tickets Oxford (NB the Murder Mystery Dinner and the Craft Cafe workshop tickets are not available online).

The Festival Stall or Vale & Downland Museum will only accept cash or cheques.