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High brow on the south coast: Daphne du Maurier festival May 9 – 20 2012

Take one sex toy, a genteel Cornish fishing town, mix with a semi-reclusive authoress who once had the Queen to tea, add a sprinkle of academia, music, one marquee and a stunning landscape and you are beginning to get an idea of the potency of Fowey’s annual du Maurier festival. Once considered the fodder of ‘light-minded’ readers, the festival establishes du Maurier as one of the country’s foremost fiction writers.

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Wednesday 9th - Sunday 20th May
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This year’s festival will happen only as a direct result of community spirit, local volunteers and dedicated festival staff, as Cornwall Council steps aside from running the annual event. The result: an even bigger and broader 12-day celebration of du Maurier’s life and works featuring artists, writers and performers of international, national and county fame.

Last year’s event was dominated by the drama of a ‘lost’ du Maurier short story all about a male sex doll. This year, the festival line-up includes writers such as Patrick Gale, Helen Dunmore and
Jon Ronson, whose book The Men Who Stare At Goats, was turned into a major motion picture, starring George Clooney. Those Cornish stalwarts, Richard and Judy will be making an appearance as well as speakers as diverse as Mike Shepherd of the inspirational Kneehigh theatre, Lord David Owen, Sir Terry Wogan, BBC filmmaker and photographer Ian McCarthy, Fern Britton and Prue

Beyond listening to lectures, the festival invites active participation in du Maurier’s life and passions. Walk in the footsteps of the authoress and her dogs as part of a series of guided tours,
ignite your inner writer with a series of creative writing workshops or give yourself up to the Scary Little Girls whose Secret Story Walks are quick to sell out, giving a unique insight into Fowey.

To help with funding, a Friends and Patrons scheme has been set up for a small annual fee in return for lunchtime talks, exclusive events and information about the festival. Organiser Tony Ryde,
explains how: “the festival is building up a group of like-minded people throughout the year. Our goal is to raise £25,000 from the friends’ scheme.”

The du Maurier festival is one of the only few remaining festivals that has remained true to its roots: think Glastonbury without the crowds (mud) and commerciality, Hay-on-Wye without Sky television and Port Eliot without the queues. The Daphne du Maurier festival runs from 9-20 May 2012.

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High brow on the south coast: Daphne du Maurier festival May 9 – 20 2012

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  1. Vicki Morley

    After Page fright,a creative writing workshop at the Du Maurier festival we walked down the steep streets into Fowey and sampled the two course lunch at The Bistro (previously Tinners.) A delightful return visit now that Nathan Outlaw is at Rock, and easier on the purse. Starters of chicken livers with beetroot sprouts and hot melt in the mouth squid paved the way for butternut squash linguine and handsome mussels in a cream sauce. A good wine list, wine served by the glass, three sizes to choose from, and delicious coffee fuelled us for more literary delights.

    May 20, 2012 @ 9:15 am