To China, Syria and Turkey via Bath

Foreign affairs, travel and place feature strongly on the bill for the Bath Literature Festival, which runs from Friday, February 27 to Sunday, March 8.

On February 28, under the heading “Understanding China, the country and the myth”, the writer and broadcaster Isabel Hilton will be joined in conversation by Anne Witchard, whose research investigates changing conceptions of China in Britain, and Jonathan Fenby, author of Will China Dominate the 21st Century? On the same day, Diana Darke, author of My House in Damascus, will discuss the prospects for Syria with John McHugo, author of  Syria: From The Great War To Civil War.

On March 5, Elif Shafak, Turkey’s bestselling female writer, will talk about the conflicting feelings she has for her homeland, a place where, she has said, “men write, women read”.

On March 7,  Mark Cocker (Claxton: Field Notes from a Small Planet) and Tim Dee (Four Fields) discuss the interaction between people and nature.

The following day, a journey “Around the world in 10 books” will be conducted by Scott Pack, publisher and “über-bookworm”, and Ann Morgan, author of Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer, which draws on writing  from 196 countries.

This year marks the 180th anniversary of the Great Western Railway; among literary walks on the programme is one on March 7 that will point up the difficulties Brunel faced in building the line through Bath.

For details of the programme, see the Bath Festivals website.

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