Bath Festival returns live this month with Richard Osman and Max Porter

Bath Festival returns live this month with Richard Osman and Max Porter

The Bath Festival will become of the first live arts festivals to take place after lockdown, featuring more than 40 authors such as Richard Osman, Francis Spufford and Daisy Buchanan as well as "Bridgerton" walking tours. 

Running from 17th to 24th May, the festival features writers, broadcasters and musicians and insights from local experts, based in the historic city's socially distanced venues. The event comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a further relaxation of lockdown rules and The Bookseller revealed “cautious optimism” from publicists over increased numbers of live events in the coming months. 

Highlights will include regular "Bridgerton" walking tours to celebrate the hit Netflix adaptation of Julia Quinn’s novels set in high-society life in the early 1800s, mapping some of the 14 locations used in filming, including the Assembly Rooms which were used for Bridgerton’s lavish ballroom scenes. Osman will discuss his bestselling debut, The Thursday Murder Club (Viking), with presenter Miles Jupp on 21st May and on the same day Stuart Turton will also be sharing insights about his second novel, The Devil and the Dark Water (Raven Books), in conversation with fantasy novelist Natasha Pulley.   

“Using some of the world heritage city’s most beautiful venues, socially distanced audiences will be able to enjoy seeing authors and musicians once again,” festival organisers said. “The literature programme consists of over 40 writers encompassing the best current fiction and non-fiction, many of whom are excited to be talking live about their books for the first time. Highlights include Richard Osman in conversation with Miles Jupp, debut authors Caleb Azumah Nelson and Daisy Buchanan discussing love, Max Porter talking to Rachel Clarke about her book Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of the Pandemic, skincare queen Caroline Hirons sharing her tips, tricks and advice and Poorna Bell and Bryony Gordon exploring strength and resilience in a time of chaos. 

“For those not able to travel to Bath, there will be the chance to watch 'The Bath Festival At Home', a selection of carefully curated events, filmed live in Bath, that launches on Friday 28th May. The digital events will be accompanied by a visual celebration of the historic city of Bath and behind the scenes footage and interviews. Audiences will be able to watch on demand for free for two weeks via the website.” 

Kate Abbey, interim head of literature programming at the festival, told The Bookseller: “The whole festival team is thrilled to be able to welcome authors back to Bath from 17th May. It’s been a long and uncertain journey to get to this point and we are so grateful for the support, patience and enthusiasm shown by the writers, chairs and publishers involved as well as our fantastic sponsors, partners, our festival bookseller Mr B’s and the local community who are getting ready for an exciting week of book talks.” 

Accompanying the festival is the Bath Reads project, which focuses on five titles all by writers who live in or near Bath. Video interviews with the Bath Reads authors will be available to watch for free during The Bath Festival at Home from 28th May to 11th June.  

The festival itself has been running for more than 70 years. The charity, Bath Festivals, is also responsible for the Bath Children’s Literature Festival in the autumn as well as a year-round creative learning programme of music and literature projects for young people. 

To book, visit the website.