Annie Ashworth

Annie Ashworth

East Devon’s best loved literary festival has appointed a new Artistic Director. The Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival has welcomed Annie Ashworth to its team to take the popular festival through its next phase of growth.

Annie, who founded the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival in 2008, is already getting to grips with plans for next year’s festival and says she is buzzing with ideas to take Budleigh Lit Fest to the next level.

Annie has extensive experience as Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival and will continue in her role as Director and Trustee in Stratford, whilst taking on this new position in Budleigh. Annie follows on from Sarah-Jane Roberts, who led the Budleigh Lit Fest as Artistic Director for four years.

Annie said: “The Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival is a fantastic event showcasing incredible talent in one of Devon’s most beautiful seaside towns. It’s a real honour to have been appointed the role of Artistic Director and I can’t wait to get started.

She continued: “I am incredibly impressed by the authors that have featured at Budleigh and I hope I can bring some of the authors I have programmed in the past to future festivals, as I think there are many similarities between Stratford and Budleigh. I am also hoping to introduce some new events to the programme which have worked well in Stratford, 2017 is set to be a very exciting year. I was brought up near the sea and live miles from it now, so to be working in Budleigh is an utter treat!”

The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival has welcomed a wide range of popular writers including award-winning author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, UK chef and poet Michael Rosen, former Python Michael Palin, anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts and BBC’s wildlife enthusiast Chris Packham.

Annie has had a varied career, working in both journalism and copywriting, and has always focused her work around her passion for writing and reading. As well as her involvement in the Stratford Lit Fest, she is also a published author under the name of Annie Sanders, writing women’s fiction with one of her closest friends.

Annie will be taking up her role immediately as the festival goes into its 9th year, delivering one of Devon’s most popular annual literary events.

Festival Chairman, Malcolm Elliott, said: “We’re very excited to see what Annie’s got up her sleeve for next year’s festival. Her extensive experience in running the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival will be highly valuable to the team and will hopefully bring a new range of authors that will prove popular with our ever-growing audience. Annie joins us at a very exciting time as the festival continues to go from strength to strength. Sarah-Jane has done a tremendous job over the past four years and we look forward to working with Annie to build on this success.”

The 2016 Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival line-up featured a diverse range of novelists, poets, biographers, philosophers, historians and even a mathematician.

Popular events included a talk from Marcus du Sautoy, the University of Oxford’s Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, a performance from Honorary President Dame Hilary Mantel DBE who read from her short story ‘In a Right State’ and Shami Chakrabarti discussing the battles she faced as former Director of the worldwide charity Liberty.

Other speakers included award-winning author Mark Haddon who wrote the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Jackie Kay who was this year named as the new Scottish Makar, National Poet for Scotland and British Philosopher A.C. Grayling.

To find out more about the festival please visit http://www.budlitfest.org.uk/ and follow the festival activity on Twitter @BudleighLitFest and Facebook /BudleighSaltertonLiteraryFestival