Words by the Water

We've had an excellent weekend's entertainment with Words by the Water, at the Theatre by the Lake, in Keswick.

I booked three talks: David and Ben Crystal, Stuart Maconie and Kerri Andrews.

The first talk was David and Ben Crystal speaking about their book Everyday Shakespeare Lines for Life.

I've loved David Crystal's books about language and linguistics for years, and always wanted an opportunity to hear him speak. The talk was fascinating, father and son talking about how they collaborated to create the book. 

Together, the Crystals have taken a fresh look at the vocabulary of Shakespeare's poems and plays and compiled a glossary of nearly 14,000 words and meanings.

The next speaker was Stuart Maconie. I booked this talk mainly for Chris, he really likes Stuart Maconie's books, and I'm not such a big fan. However, he was fantastic! What a brilliant talk, with so much to think about. The book under discussion was The Full English. I had no idea that the book was based upon J B Priestley's 1933 book English Journey. Maconie walks in the footsteps of J.B. Priestley’s classic travelogue to explore our national identity and how it has evolved over the last century. 

I left the talk with a renewed interest in Stuart Maconie and  keen to read The Full English. I've also bought a new copy of Priestley's English Journey, as well as a copy of The Good Companions. I think my interest in Priestley has been renewed thanks to this talk.

The final talk was Kerri Andrews discussing her two books about women walkers, Wanderers and Waymakers. I've read both of these books and really enjoyed them. There are so few books, if any, charting the history and importance of women's walking. 

Kerri Andrews spoke about walking in the lives of ten women, including Dorothy Wordsworth, Daphne du Maurier (elegant and not very keen on exertion!) and Virginia Woolf. For each woman, walking was integral, whether it was rambling for miles across the Highlands, like Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt, or pacing novels into being, as Virginia Woolf did around Bloomsbury.

We really enjoyed our weekend of words and ideas and have got lots of food for thought, as well as inspiration for books to read.