Ways With Words: Dartington Festival, 8-15 July

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The Independent Culture
Events are selling out, rooms are being snapped up, but don't despair: it's not too late to send off for a brochure and take part in the scintillating, week-long literary extravaganza that is the Ways With Words Literary Festival. A Rover Ticket (pounds 135) admits you to 76 events in the dramatic setting of the medieval Main Hall. And there are also a range of workshops and special Theme Days.

There's The Craft of Writing, with Philippa Gregory, young black novelist Joanna Traynor; Julie Myerson and Geoff Dyer; plus Alan Byford, winner of last year's memoir competition. Another Theme Day tackles philosophy: Thomas Moore, an ex-monk, tells us how to "re-enchant" everyday life; Sara Maitland examines the lives of female saints; and Jonathan Dollimore takes us on a breathtaking tour through Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture.

In the Main Hall: lives were changed by Susie Orbach's Fat is a Feminist Issue - 20 years after its first publication, Susie will be talking about the impact of this groundbreaking book. And Natasha Walter (left, top) talks feminism with Aminatta Forna.

Two journalists-turned novelists, Giles Foden and Real Life columnist Andrew Martin (left, bottom) introduce us to their bizarre fictional worlds. And Miranda Seymour (left) invites us into the menage-a-trois of Mr and Mrs Robert Graves and Laura Riding.

It's 100 years since the scandalous young illustrator Aubrey Beardsley died of TB. Matthew Sturgis, Beardsley's latest biographer, will introduce a hint of fin-de-siecle decadence to Dartington Hall.

Tom Paulin (left) needs no introduction to lovers of TV's Late Review. Meet him in person as he talks about his great obsession, the unjustly neglected writer and critic William Hazlitt.

Finally - are you sickened at the ever-increasing "Diana-isation" of the national psyche? Alarmed at the growth of therapy and counselling? Bemused by the sight of formerly reserved Brits gnashing and wailing on the sort of tacky, breast-beating TV shows we thought were confined to America? Or are New Men, open emotionalism and the willingness to bare psychic wounds a sign of mental health? Don't miss the IoS debate as we ask: "Should Britain stiffen its upper lip again?"

READER OFFER: prices for the full package, including full-board accommodation and entry to all main events, start at pounds 445 pp in a twin room. There is also a special weekend package at pounds 165 pp.

For a brochure and full booking details, send your name and address to Ways With Words, Droridge Farm, Dartington, Devon TQ9 6JQ, enclosing 2 x 26p stamps. Or telephone 01803 867373.

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