Completed events 2021

Here are some events you may have missed in 2021.

 – This colour indicates a child & family event! 

 –  This colour indicates an event outside the main Festival weekend. 

  – This colour indicates an event during the main Festival weekend.


  • Tues 23rd February (Zoom)

    The Perils of Writing Historical Fiction with Christopher Joll

    Over the past ten years Christopher Joll has written and published fifteen volumes of a sequential series of historically-accurate works of fiction.  Collectively known as The Speedicut Saga, these books cover the period 1821 – 1979.  Interwoven into the narrative are a host of real historical characters, ranging from Queen Victoria to Scarlett O’Hara.  In this talk Christopher explained among other things how he set about researching and writing these books, and the multiple perils posed by copyright lawyers, historians and ‘anoraks’.  “I think you can regard this evening talk as an unqualified success.  He was a very fluent speaker.  Congratulations on a very good start in the world of zoom.” (Paul)

  • Thurs 25th March (Zoom)

    'Surviving the House that Sat Down' with Alice May

    Surviving The House That Sat Down was a positive and uplifting talk based on the events of 2014 when Alice’s house partially collapsed.  She and her husband and 4 children were forced to move into a tent in the garden.  They were on the verge of losing everything.  And yet it was not the end of the world.  Alice used that homeless scenario as the inspiration for her award-winning trilogy ‘The House that Sat Down’.  Using her own personal artwork as illustration Alice’s signature talk gave a flavour of her inspiring journey from the ruins of her home to her life now as an author, artist and speaker.  Packed with humorous anecdotes about family life and full of positivity, this is a tale about life, love and the true meaning of family values.“Inspirational and interesting and she deserves every success with her artistic and writing career particularly having been through such a traumatic experience.” (Marion Griffiths)

  • Weds 14th April (Zoom)

    Delving into the Past: Family History Unveiled with Sue Ablett

    In a departure from her usual travel talks, Festival Chair, Sue Ablett, took her audience on a journey unearthing the secrets of family history research.  In this new talk, ‘Delving into the Past’, Sue talked about how she got the family history bug; how she has found out some of the information; some of the gems she has unearthed; and how she put it all together in a book.  An interesting and very enjoyable talk, full of fascinating characters and their social history, with lots of useful information of how anyone can start to ‘delve’ into their own family’s past. Great talk this afternoon Sue, thank you! I really need to ‘write up’ some of the family stories from the reams of info that I have. Thank you for the tips, I think it’s inspired an idea for a starting point.  Claire (Costello)

  • Wednesday 12th May

    'Home and Away' - a poetry reading with Zoe Brooks, Ben Ray, Anna Saunders - and open mic

    In these times of pandemic we may be confined to our homes or perhaps even separated from them.  We were thrilled to welcome three acclaimed writers, plus Open Mic poets, who read poems from their collections, inspired by the theme of ‘home’ and what it means to them.  The main line up consisted of Ben Ray, who hails from Ross on Wye but is working and living in Belgium, Zoe Brooks who was born and lives in Winchcombe but spent many years in the Czech Republic, and Anna Saunders who comes from Hoylake in Merseyside but now lives in Cheltenham. “What an absolutely incredibly evening. A real privilege for EFoW to host these amazing poets and Open Mic folk. Such a sense of community from everyone present – the poems were unforgettable as were the performances. Great to get such positive feedback too from everyone who took part. Will certainly hope for a repeat next year.” Sue Ablett

  • Wednesday 26th May

    'In the Footsteps of Laurie Lee' with David Parker

    In 1994, TV Producer David Barker spent the summer recording interviews with the much loved author Laurie Lee, a man who generally did not ‘do’ television. On a beautifully sunny day, we were privileged to join David on a guided walk around the village of Slad, enshrined in much of Laurie Lee’s work. A fabulous tour made even more special through listening to Laurie’s voice in extracts from David’s recordings as we walked! “Have always wanted to do a Laurie Lee walk round his beloved Slad. Never in a million years did I expect to be “accompanied by Laurie.” A truly memorable event.” (Sheila and George)



  • Wednesday 9th June 7.30pm

    'Hidden Gems from Novel Research' with Ali Bacon and friends.

    From landmine-sniffing rats to the mysterious ‘red gene’… Bristol novelists Ali Bacon, Jean Burnett, Kerry Postle and Heather Child shared the three most amazing things they found out while researching their books.  We delved into the secrets of famous Italian artists, the birth of photography, the Spanish Civil War, some astonishing quantum physics – and all learned something new! “Really enjoyed it tonight. As you said, great format and some super random quirky hidden gems! Thanks to all!” (Sarah)

  • Thursday 24th June (Zoom)

    'Outside the Box - Everyday Stories of Death, Bereavement and Living' with Liz Rothschild

    Back by popular demand!  In 2019 Liz Rothschild gave an unforgettable performance of her one woman show ‘Outside the Box’.  Her book, Outside the Box – Everyday Stories of Death, Bereavement and Life was published in November 2020.  In this online session Liz offered storytelling and conversation, drawing on the content of the book.  It is described as a book not just for the bereaved and dying but, as the title rightly says, for the living too. “Liz got us all thinking – share those digital passwords now; have those conversations before its too late.  Another amazing event.”  (Sue Ablett

  • Friday 2nd July

    'Libraries of the World - More than just books' with Sue Ablett

    Back once more by popular demand, Festival Chair Sue Ablett once again combined her love of travel with a love of books in what was another fascinating talk. A really fun session, we all went away knowing more about libraries than when we arrived! As an attendee at one of Sue’s previous travel talks with a literary twist said: “It’s always fascinating to try and work out where Sue is going to take us in these talks.” And it really was! “Thank you for a super talk yesterday on Libraries of the World. I too love the sort of trivia you share with us. I have started a notebook in order to try and remember such things, as it’s so frustrating when one can’t recall these interesting snippets.” (Katie Batchelor)

  • Saturday 3rd July

    'The Addition No-one Helps - Memoirs of a Book Addict' with David Howe

    David Howe, a former teacher, school inspector, intermittent historian, is a very popular local speaker with an extensive and varied range of talks.  Over the years he has talked on more than 1,800 occasions to more than 800 plus groups.  Once again, he proved to be an entertaining speaker on a topic that so many of us could identify with, and must now be able to claim to be ‘book addicts! “A great event. David is one of those rare speakers who doesn’t need technology but just talks to his audience. So engaging. We’ll all be thinking how and when we got into books and when the addiction took over!” (Sue Ablett)

  • Saturday 3rd July

    Talk and Tour: 'Evesham Abbey site -the vision and the reality' with Natalie Hanson.

    The project to open up the site of Evesham Abbey, which was the third largest Abbey in the country, prior to Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, is the dream-child of Abbey Trust Chairman, Barrie Baldelli.  In this talk and tour, we heard from Natalie Hanson about the vision for the site and how it became a reality – the challenges along the way, and what the ultimate aim for the site entails.  There was an opportunity to walk around the site too. ‘A fascinating and informative tour, delivered with energy and clarity. It was particularly poignant to enter the cloisters, an area only previously admired through the railings!'(Lynn Lucchese)

  • Saturday 3rd July

    The Housman Lecture: 'Bredon and Other Hills.' with Peter Parker

    For this, our second collaboration with the Housman Society, we welcomed acclaimed author Peter Parker whose recent book Housman Country: Into the Heart of England shows how A.E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad has permeated English life and culture for over a century. Our local Bredon Hill is the focus for one of the best-loved of A.E. Housman’s verses from the famous 1896 collection, and its imagery of “the coloured counties” speaks of a deep feeling for English landscape.  In this wide-ranging talk, which took in poetry, music and topography, Peter Parker explored the allure of the hills, not only for Housman but for other writers and composers. “After a cancelled event last year we were delighted to welcome back Housman Society members to Evesham for a talk by acclaimed author Peter Parker.” (Sue Ablett)

  • Tuesday 6th July

    Meandering the Orkneys' with Paul Gillingham

    Paul Gillingham taught history in the UK, Canada, Tanzania and Hong Kong before switching to broadcast journalism in the 1970s.  He returned to the UK as a TV news presenter and wrote and presented features for BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Classic FM.  ‘Meandering Round the Orkneys’ is the result of his solo cycle tour of the islands, allowing Paul to dip into their history, embrace their culture and discover their quirkiness first hand.  Quite apart from the stunning natural scenery, he shared many fascinating wonders of Orkney – iron age sites which pre-date Stonehenge, the significance of Scapa Flow in both World Wars, the Italian Chapel built by Italian prisoners of war – and how one of the world’s richest women came to be linked to Orkney! ”What a superb talk – so varied, interesting and informative. I hope we can get Paul Gillingham again soon! I could have listened to him for a lot longer.” (Galen Bartholomew)

  • Saturday 7th August

    'A Dog's Tale' (A Mikron Theatre Production)

    What a treat the brilliant Mikron Theatre cast delivered in the garden at Raphael’s Restaurant and how successfully they drew us into the story of Linda and her wayward rescue dog Gary as they were pursued by security through the halls and history of Crufts, accused of a terrible crime. One of two brand new shows for 2021, this was an evening of fabulous, high energy performance and versatile musical accompaniment, thoroughly enjoyed by all.  ‘A really lovely way to spend a (mostly) dry summer evening, entertained by such talented performers. Full of fun and in such a unique and friendly setting, it was not to be missed! (John Lucchese)

  • 20th August

    Absolutely Delicious: A Chronicle of Extraordinary Dying' with Alison Lester

    With warmth and sensitivity, tinged with sadness and humour, novelist Alison shared the story of her book ‘Absolutely Delicious: A Chronicle of Extraordinary Dying’. She describes how her parents, in very different ways, chose to approach the end of their lives with the same  strength and positivism with which they had lived – communicating their wishes to their family with great clarity.  In contrast, the  death of her dear aunt presented very different challenge. “Alison is one of those speakers who doesn’t need to hide behind a powerpoint presentation. This was a wonderfully intimate session – Alison speaks so well, straight from the heart, and so engaged with her audience.” (Sue Ablett)
  • Weds 8th September

    Illustrated talk 'Waterways of Russia' with Sue Ablett

    Starting our Autumn series of zoom events, Festival Chair, Sue Ablett, gave us one of her famous travel talks.  ‘Waterways of Russia’ charted a trip by boat from Moscow to St Petersburg, incorporating lots of interesting stories along the way – some directly related to the trip and it’s highlights, and others from previous trips made by Sue. ‘I really enjoyed last nights talk, especially hearing all the personal anecdotes, they made it more than ‘just’ a talk about a Russian river cruise. I could have stayed longer than an hour, the time went so quickly and it left me wanting to hear more. I learned such a lot. ‘Kim (McGowan)  
  • Fri 17th September

    The Railway Travellers Handy Book 1862' with Tony Conder

    Tony Conder, a very popular local speaker and Festival favourite, delivered a fascinating talk based on the change in habits and manners that the railways brought about for Victorian society.   At the heart of his presentation was ‘The Railway Travellers Handy Book 1862’, published to help Victorian men help their women folk understand the meaning of timetables and how to ensure your place in society was upheld even on a train!  ‘Just wanted to put in writing how much I enjoyed Tony’s talk today. I loved the mix of information, background to the railways and his wry humour. I also loved the Victorian railway carriage paintings – not a genre I had seen before. (Noelle)

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