Celebrating 20 years of Words by the Water

All of the WBTW:Replay talks are free for you to enjoy and we hope you take as much pleasure in listening to them as we did. If you feel able to support the festival by making a donation we would be very grateful. You will find options to make a donation beneath each talk. 

Anna Pasternak – Wallis Simpson

Wallis Simpson is known as the woman at the centre of the most scandalous love affair of the 20th century. Bestselling biographer Anna Pasternak seeks to redeem a women wronged by history offering illuminating new information from those who were close to the couple.

From Words by the Water, 2019
Buy the Book – Untitled: The Real Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
Publisher – William Collins


Chris Bonington – The Top of the Mountain

Having undertaken 19 Himalayan expeditions, including four to Mount Everest, mountaineer and explorer Chris Bonington will be in conversation with author and friend Julie Summers about what it takes to conquer fear, how to survive in the most inhospitable places on earth and overcome physical and emotional obstacles.

Words by the Water, 2019
Buy the Book – Ascent: A Life Spent Climbing on the Edge
Publisher – Simon & Schuster


Diarmaid MacCulloch – That Ruffian Thomas Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell is one of the most famous, or notorious, figures in English history. For a time, the self-made ‘ruffian’ (as he described himself) was ruthless, adept in the exercise of power and a master of events. Diarmaid MacCulloch sets out Cromwell’s true place in the making of modern England and Ireland, for good and ill.

Words by the Water, 2019
Buy the Book – Thomas Cromwell: A Life
Publisher – Allen Lane


Kamal Ahmed – Grounds for Optimism

Kamal Ahmed, editorial director of BBC News had a very ‘British’ childhood in every way – except for the fact that he was half English and half Sudanese. Raised in 1970s London at a time when being mixed-race meant being told to go home, he now makes the case for a new conversation about race in Britain.

Words by the Water, 2019
Buy the Book – The Life and Times of a Very British Man
Publisher – Bloomsbury


Melvyn Bragg – Book of Books

Melvyn Bragg, one of our finest authors and broadcasters, has written the definitive history of one of the most influential books in the English language. He tells the political, linguistic and literary stories behind The King James Bible.

Words by the Water, 2012
Buy the Book – The Book of Books: The Radical Impact of the King James Bible
Publisher – Hodder & Stoughton



Prue Leith – Life in Words

It’s fair to say that Prue Leith has a busy life. She explores her varied career as a successful business woman, food writer, Michelin starred restaurateur, Chancellor of Queen Margaret University, judge on the ‘Great British Menu’ and discusses writing her seventh novel, ‘The Prodigal Daughter’.

Words by the Water, 2017
Buy the Book – The Prodigal Daughter
Publisher – Quercus