Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Inside View

It's really hotting up here in the Ways With Words office, with the sun returned and the festival only sixteen days away. I am the latest addition to the intern family, and as a keen attendee of WWW have been having great fun experiencing it all from the inside. I get positively star-struck when I pick up the phone and find an author on the other end, and am holding out for Andrew Motion.

Tickets are still selling nicely, and I often find myself advising people on the standby queue for sold-out events. (Let's see if we can get the line past the Barn this year!) Nonetheless, I have been thrilled at how nice all the festival-goers have been, even when disappointed - you are not preparing me for the cruel world of business at all!

With regard to the festival double acts, I am sure Harvey & Hart are a successful duo of stand-up comedians, or possibly children's television presenters.

Ahh, how many kisses to sign off with? The norm so far has been anything between one and three...

Francesca Intern

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Dear Reader,

Please note our special offer that automatically enters any Follower of INTERNal Thoughts into a prize draw.

The prize draw will take place on Monday 6th July and will entitle one Follower to a pair of Great Hall day tickets for Sunday 12th July, allowing them entry into events #18-#23 inclusive.

This fantastic prize, worth over £70, is a wonderful opportunity to see and hear Michael Buerk, Christopher Potter, and Susie Boyt (amongst others) in action!

To be in with a chance of winning, sign up as a Follower and participate in our blog. Why not add a paragraph to our running short story which will be performed at Ways With Words on Saturday 18th July by roving performers from the Voice Cafe.

Good Luck!

All the best from the team at Ways With Words

Don't forget, you can download the full festival programme at or ring the Box Office on 01803 867373 to request a free copy.

2for1 OFFERS

Sitting here in the office, while outside the wind harasses the trees and the clouds rush over our den of efficiency, I thought I'd take the time to explain our special offers in more detail. 2 for 1 is obviously self-explanatory, but the variety of events that are on offer deserve an introduction.

On our opening night, Friday 10th July, there is the opportunity for yourself and a friend to come along and enjoy the 'comedy-infused, musically-enhanced, interactive poetry' of the Wondermentalist Cabaret. Hosted by Radio 4 Saturday Live's Matt Harvey, it features Jerri Hart, Liv Torc, and Nomad Shuffle, along with an array of other Ways With Words festival writers.

For poet enthusiasts there is also the opportunity to join us the following morning as Terry Gifford recounts his survey on the life and work of Ted Hughes. Gifford will not just be examining the poet's reputation as a major literary figure, but also his role as a serious environmentalist, appealing to those of you that are interested in ecological issues.

For all you budding writers out there I definitely recommend Jane Borodale and Sarah Hall, newly accomplished authors themselves, who will be discussing the genesis of their fiction on Sunday 12th July. Borodale, writer and artist, will be focusing on her first novel, ‘The Book of Fires’, while Sarah Hall will be recounting the influences for her fourth novel, ‘How to Paint a Dead Man’.

The Desmond Elliott Prize for New Writers also holds an explanatory title, but it prompts me to stress the importance this event has to any budding writer. On Wednesday 15th a member of this year’s judging panel will be discussing emerging fiction, of which YOU may be a part in the near future, as well as exploring the actual dynamics behind a literary award worth £10,000 that ‘enriches the careers of new fiction writers’.

Later in the evening there is Shakespeare on Toast for those interested in a revelational snack. Ben Crystal will ‘sweep the cobwebs from the bard, bring colour to the words and reveal how exciting, relevant and thrilling the writings can be for a modern audience’ – essential for all you students of English Literature.

Thursday 16th sees Rob Perks and Jamie Andrews from the British Library, along with the author Graham Swift, reflect on 120 years of writers’ lives, illustrated by the British Library’s rich collection of writers’ personal papers, sound recordings and in-depth oral history interviews with living authors – of which Graham Swift is himself a part.

Last, but by no means least, there is the chance to observe the award-winning political cartoonist Martin Rowson give an illustrated account of how he works in ‘Doing Damage from a Distance’. Containing strong language, this will appeal to all those with an inner political activist waiting to break out!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Another day in the office...

With the blog running for well over a week now I thought perhaps I should take a turn at posting. Last week we were all making the most of Kay and Stephen's garden by basking in glorious sunshine. Today we were huddled around the fire trying to keep warm. Tomorrow I’m going to be traveling around Devon bringing our Ways With Words brochures to a bookshop near you! (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for dry weather).

The mayhem of the first two weeks seems a bit of a distant memory. The office feels very tranquil in comparison. We seem to be taking more tea and coffee breaks, and biscuits are leading the agenda. The addition of a pre-coffee-break coffee has also proven very popular.

The ticket sale count shows that we’re doing well with the sales, which is great news! And I’ve finally begun to read the book that I’ll be reviewing for you; Ben Crystal’s Shakespeare on Toast. It’s entertaining, light-hearted and interesting. There’s something to be said for being able to read a book about Shakespeare when you first wake up in the morning! It seems like a popular choice. A queue of people wanting to read it is forming behind me as I type.

I’ll be back with more soon, but right now it’s home time!

Bryony Intern xxx

Friday, 5 June 2009

Dartington Hall

I am new to the area, and so I’ve been taking advantage of the (surprising) weather to do some exploring. Obviously my first trip had to be Dartington Hall itself (well, by way of the sweet shack at the Cider Press Centre…). My sister and I wound our way up the hill, past the picturesque church filled with wildflowers, and some local cricketers resplendent in their whites against the green. We entered the grounds through the gardens, stopping off at Dorothy Elmhirst’s folly to admire the view (and have some sweets), and then made our way to the sunken garden. It really is a breathtaking sight, standing at the top – it’s a long way down to the lawns and flowerbeds. The Medieval Hall is simple but very atmospheric – you can almost imagine King Arthur holding court within the whitewashed walls and high ceiling. Now that would be surprising – but all our various writers will be just as amazing!
Rachel Intern xx

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Sunny Lunch Times...

While the weather continues to be so fantastic we have all been making the most of it and having lunch outside. In our own private garden boudoir, we have a chance to relax while our skin soaks up the sun rays and nature joins in the festivities of our lunch. Relaxing on the grass, it also gives us an opportunity to delve into the books of our choice - mine transporting me to the 17th century of yesteryear as 'Agnes Trussel' journeys from rural Surrey to London. Don't worry though all you WWW festival goers, we have the phone handy and each take turns to answer your calls between munching our curds and whey.

Today I had to rescue Jimmy Cricket from a thirst-quenching glass of water! He jumped right into the glass and needed a little help to get out. We also have a regular visitor, Henry, the neighbour's dog, who weaves his way around us, nosing for tidbits and affection (he particularly likes Charlie's selection of sandwiches). One important aspect to look out for, however, is where one chooses to sit - yesterday I had the misfortune to sit in something that left a remarkable green pattern on my shorts, which unfortunately I did not notice until I was long gone from the office!

The bad news is this glorious English weather is not due to last to the weekend, yet I'm sure it will return in time for the Ways With Words festival!

Natalie Intern x

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Phones and Double Trouble

Here at Ways With Words over the last three weeks the phones have been ringing heavily. The lines opened for ticket bookings the day after we four interns started and they have only just quietened down this week.

Answering the phone has mostly been fun. A few disgruntled people who couldn’t get the tickets they wanted aside, most people have been happy and looking forward to the festival and been keen to indulge in a bit of banter that makes life all the more interesting.

One of my favourite points of banterage has been discussing the double acts at the festival. We have quite a few coming this year, particularly on Monday 13th July, and I’ve been fielding suggestions about what these people could do, together, if they wanted a career change.

I was put onto this by a frivolous conversation with a caller about how Lovelock & Gribbin (James Lovelock and John Gribbin) sound like a couple of Private Detectives from a 1930’s Hollywood film. So that got me thinking and then asking customers. Subsequently, I firmly believe Francis Beckett & David Hencke should setup an Accountancy firm, while Beckett & Hattersley are probably your local Solicitors.

Furthermore, Jane Borodale & Sarah Hall could quite easily lend their surnames to a demolition firm based near Sheffield, while I swear I have seen the names Perks, Andrews and Swift on an Estate Agents board out side someone’s house.

There are some double acts that we have not yet been able to place in new lines of employment however; Chisholm & Partridge, Harvey & Hart and the rather long but good sounding – Glendinning, Holroyd, Lively and O’Reilly. The latter one at least deserves a good suggestion, so I call on you readers to give us your suggestions.

Oh and one more thing. I’d like to congratulate everyone who has purchased Horatio Clare tickets. You boosted my chances of winning the office sweepstake no end. However, that spoilsport Ashdown went and sold out first, thus I am not £9 better off!

Charlie Intern xx

Monday, 1 June 2009


Hello all readers and welcome to the beginning of our blog.

We, by way of introduction, are four interns working at Ways With Words for the 2009 Dartington festival. The four of us; Natalie, Rachel, Bryony and Charlie, will contribute to this blog, letting you know what’s happening in the Ways With Words office and looking ahead to the festival.

Also each of us will be reviewing a book in the run up to the festival. We will be choosing books by people speaking at the festival and will relay our verdicts here.
Watch out as well for a short story we will start which you can all add to.

So, I hope you are going to follow us towards and during Ways With Words 2009.

The Interns xx