Shute Festival 2019: diverse speakers and UK premiere of Free Men documentary

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 September 2019

Shute Gatehouse. Picture: Supplied by Shute Festival

Shute Gatehouse. Picture: Supplied by Shute Festival

Supplied by Shute Festival

A top forensic scientist, an ocean conservationist, a garden designer and journalists who have worked all over the world are among the speakers at this year’s Shute Festival.

Owen Matthews, author of An Impeccable Spy, one of the speakers at the festival. Picture: James HillOwen Matthews, author of An Impeccable Spy, one of the speakers at the festival. Picture: James Hill

There will also be the UK premiere of an award-winning documentary, followed by a very unusual question and answer session.

Now in its fourth year, Shute Festival, near Axminster, returns on the weekend from Friday, September 13 to Sunday, September 15.

It will begin with a free walk to the medieval King John Oak in Shute's former deer park, led by Legacy to Landscape.

The programme of speakers includes Tim Pears on his latest book The Redeemed (the last in his West Country Trilogy); Isabel Bannerman on her forthcoming book, Scent Magic: Notes from a Gardener; Owen Matthews on his Sunday Times top 100 listed new book, An Impeccable Spy, and Lisa Clifford, a former journalist who will be presenting extracts from her film Militia Man, about the miscarriage of justice in a war crimes trial at The Hague.

Jason Webster, one of the speakers at the festival.Jason Webster, one of the speakers at the festival.

Forensic scientist Angela Gallop CBE will be speaking about her work on some of the UK's most high profile murders, whilst poets Anthony Wilson and Fiona Benson will be reading and speaking from their published work. Nick Jubber will be discussing his acclaimed travel book, Epic Continent.

In a change to the line-up, Jason Webster will speak about his new book Violencia: A New History of Spain. He replaces Jaz O'Hara who cannot make it because of a work commitment.

The festival will also host the UK premier of the award-winning documentary, Free Men, about death row artist Kenny Reams. He will dial in from his nine by four-foot cell for a Q&A after the screening. This coup for the festival stems from a connection with one of the directors, Samantha Knights QC, who worked on Reams's appeal as an intern in the US in 2000.

Co-director Paddy Magrane said: "We are completely thrilled to have such a diverse array of speakers coming to beautiful Shute.

Former journalist and film-maker Lisa Clifford.Former journalist and film-maker Lisa Clifford.

"When we started in 2016, we couldn't have imagined how the festival would take off".

Tickets are available online at and at Archway Bookshop, the independent Axminster-based shop which has run the festival's pop-up store from the outset.

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