Sturminster Newton Literary Festival focuses on celebrating three writers associated with the town (Thomas Hardy, William Barnes, and Robert Young), current Dorset and Wessex writers, and aspiring writers of the future. The festival has a range of talks, workshops, guided walks, and collaborative events with local businesses to promote writing from the region.

Events 2024

Our online calender of events is now complete apart from the final details for our DDay exhibition and memorial event. These will be posted as soon as they are available.
Our printed programme will be available shortly thereafter and we will begin distributing it around Sturminster Newton and further afield. If you have a suitable location (eg a waiting room, B&B etc) and would like some for your guests please contact us and we will send or deliver them to you. Your help in publicising the Festival is always appreciated!
Subscribe to our mailing list on Substack to keep informed as the Festival develops.
The UK commemorates 80 years since DDay on the 6th June 2024. As part of this commemoration, Sturminster Newton Literary Festival is devoting the 9th of June to military history. We’re offering a special price ticket covering all events on that day including:
  • 14:00: D-Day Spearhead Brigade – The Story of the Hampshires, Dorsets and Devons on 6th June 1944 by James Porter.
  • 15:00: Official opening of the special D-Day testimony exhibition at The Exchange.
  • 16:15: The Army that Never Was – D Day and the Great Deception by Taylor Downing.

Click here to buy your ticket from TicketSource.

Writing Black Beauty

Writing Black Beauty

Saturday 08th June 2024
14:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

Celia Brayfield will talk about her book Writing Black Beauty and how ​Anna Sewell influenced the development of the animal welfare movement in Victorian Britain.

42, The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams

42, The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams

Saturday 08th June 2024
16:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

In “42, The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams”, Kevin Jon Davies explores the writer’s life through Adams’ personal papers.

D-Day Event Day Pass

D-Day Event Day Pass

Sunday 09th June 2024
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

A day ticket covering all three events on Sturminster Newton Literary Festival’s DDay Commemoration Day.

D-Day Spearhead Brigade: The Story of the Hampshires, Dorsets and Devons on 6th June 1944

D-Day Spearhead Brigade: The Story of the Hampshires, Dorsets and Devons on 6th June 1944

Sunday 09th June 2024
14:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

James Porter will talk about the role of the Hampshire, Dorsetshire and Devonshire Regiments on D Day.

Reading of D-Day Testimonies

Reading of D-Day Testimonies

Sunday 09th June 2024
15:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

D-Day testimonies will be read by descendants of people who were there.

The Army that Never Was - D Day and the Great Deception by Taylor Downing

The Army that Never Was - D Day and the Great Deception by Taylor Downing

Sunday 09th June 2024
16:15
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

Historian, broadcaster and best-selling author Taylor Downing discusses the remarkable deception campaigns which surrounded and made possible the D-Day invasion 80 years ago.

Hearts of Steel - Jim Carter

Hearts of Steel - Jim Carter

Monday 10th June 2024
19:00
The Library, Sturminster Newton

Jim Carter discusses his unique and engaging biography of the ships HMS Effingham, Hawkins and Nubian, their crews, commanding officers and the development of the Royal Navy between 1918 and 1941 with the life of one man, Able Seaman Herbert Leeder, at its core.

The Bone Hunters - Joanne Burn in Conversation with Jo Durrant

The Bone Hunters - Joanne Burn in Conversation with Jo Durrant

Tuesday 11th June 2024
15:00
Zoom

Joanne Burn discusses her new book, The Bone Hunters which is set in Lyme Regis, Dorset, with Jo Durrant. This event will be shown on Zoom

Celebrating Far From the Madding Crowd

Celebrating Far From the Madding Crowd

Tuesday 11th June 2024
19:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

To celebrate 150 years of the publication of Far From The Madding Crowd, we’re showing the classic 2009 film made by Gryphon School students and an opportunity to meet the actors 15 years on.

Becoming Liz Taylor

Becoming Liz Taylor

Wednesday 12th June 2024
15:00
The Library, Sturminster Newton

Elizabeth will talk about how she came to write Becoming Liz Taylor, the inspiration behind the story, the research she undertook, and why she chose to set it in Weston-super-Mare. She will explore the theme of loss in the novel, and the connection between grief, memory and stories.

The Ghosts of Stur

The Ghosts of Stur

Wednesday 12th June 2024
18:00
The Swan Inn, Sturminster Newton

A ghost walk around Sturminster Newton

Tess' Marlott - A Walk in the Countryside that Inspired Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess' Marlott - A Walk in the Countryside that Inspired Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thursday 13th June 2024
10:30
The Crown, Marnhull

Enjoy a meandering walk in and at the southern edges of Marnhull, the village that is Marlott in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Marlott was where Tess grew up; the home that she left four times and to which she returned on three.

Inanna - Emily H Wilson in Conversation with Jenny Devitt

Inanna - Emily H Wilson in Conversation with Jenny Devitt

Thursday 13th June 2024
19:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

Inanna is the first novel in an epic trilogy set in the lost world of Ancient Sumer, the world’s first civilisation. It is a retelling of the very oldest pieces of literature in existence, including the Epic of Gilgamesh and The Descent of Inanna.

Emily H Wilson will be speaking about Inanna and the Epic of Gilgamesh in conversation with Jenny Devitt.

The House of Broken Bricks - Fiona Williams in Conversation with Jenny Devitt

The House of Broken Bricks - Fiona Williams in Conversation with Jenny Devitt

Friday 14th June 2024
15:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

Set in the Somerset Levels, The House of Broken Bricks is Fiona William’s debut novel. Fiona will be discussing the inspiration for the book and her writing with Jenny Devitt.

Running on Empty - Guy Deacon in Conversation with Jenny Devitt

Running on Empty - Guy Deacon in Conversation with Jenny Devitt

Friday 14th June 2024
19:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

Ambassador for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, and Parkinson’s Africa, Guy Deacon was diagnosed with Parkinson’s while serving in the Royal Armoured Corps. He went on to drive the length of Africa improving knowledge of the condition and dispelling the myths that Parkinson’s is caused by witchcraft, is contagious, and that any meaningful life ends as soon as it is diagnosed.

Unravelling the Murder Mystery - A Writing Workshop with Nikki Copleston

Unravelling the Murder Mystery - A Writing Workshop with Nikki Copleston

Saturday 15th June 2024
10:00 - 12:30
Town Council Offices, Sturminster Newton

In this writing workshop, learn what elements go into a murder mystery and how to combine them to the best effect.

Crime Writers Day Pass

Crime Writers Day Pass

Saturday 15th June 2024
12:55 - 20:25
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

Saturday 15th June is Crime Writer’s Day at Sturminster Newton Literary Festival. This special price Day Pass covers three talks on crime writing

Byways, Rabbit-holes and Turns in the River - a talk with Paula Harmon

Byways, Rabbit-holes and Turns in the River - a talk with Paula Harmon

Saturday 15th June 2024
13:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

Byways, Rabbit-holes and Turns in the River is a talk with Paula Harmon, writer of historical and contemporary mysteries.

Past Participle. Jane Labous in Conversation with Paula Harmon

Past Participle. Jane Labous in Conversation with Paula Harmon

Saturday 15th June 2024
16:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

A Senegalese lawyer decides to investigate her brother’s death, three decades ago in Dakar, at the hands of the British ambassador’s wife.

Trial By Jury with Mark Bridgeman

Trial By Jury with Mark Bridgeman

Saturday 15th June 2024
19:00
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

Guilty or innocent? You decide. Best-selling author Mark Bridgeman will be taking the part of judge, prosecution and defence when he presents a real-life murder trial at this year’s Sturminster Newton Literary Festival – in which YOU the audience will become the jury!

A Walk to Bagber with David Fox

A Walk to Bagber with David Fox

Sunday 16th June 2024
10:30
The Museum, Sturminster Newton

David Fox leads a circular walk to Bagber and includes places and sights that would have been familiar to William Barnes, Thomas Hardy and Robert Young.

The Ghosts of Stur

The Ghosts of Stur

Monday 17th June 2024
18:00
The Swan Inn, Sturminster Newton

A ghost walk around Sturminster Newton

The Ghosts of Stur

The Ghosts of Stur

Wednesday 19th June 2024
18:00
The Swan Inn, Sturminster Newton

A ghost walk around Sturminster Newton

The Ghosts of Stur

The Ghosts of Stur

Thursday 20th June 2024
18:00
The Swan Inn, Sturminster Newton

A ghost walk around Sturminster Newton

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