Ex-teacher Barbara Fauset joined the organising team for what turned out to be its final year. By now the country’s literary festival calendar had become increasingly crowded. As a result it became difficult to attract top bestselling writers and remain financially viable.
Nevertheless, the return of Dinah Jefferies, by now a nationally recognised name, John Challis (from TV’s Only Fools and Horses), the music-themed speaker, international music journo Barney Hoskins, and a live-streamed Evening with George Smiley celebrating John le Carré were all popular and well received.
Three weekend events played to packed and enthusiastic audiences in the St George’s Main Hall. The regular Saturday tea and cake afternoon – this time with Milly Johnson and Cathy Bramley – was another success. It was preceded, on the Friday night, by a rollicking ‘Mum’s Night Out’ hosted by the Internet’s Unmumsy Mum Sarah Turner and followed, on the Saturday evening, by the poet Brian Patten. He was celebrating the 50th year of the ground-breaking poetry collection Mersey Sound and the 30th anniversary of his appearance in the inaugural Bewdley Festival.
The second half of Brian Patten’s evening featured an informal chat-show-style interview with Neville Farmer. Neville had returned intermittently to host some of the music-themed evenings and it was fitting that he should appear on stage alongside Brian for what would turn out to be Bewdley Book Week’s final performance.