THE coronavirus pandemic has caused many festivals to be cancelled but one in Bridport will still be going ahead.

BridLit is still very much on course, with a stellar line-up of speakers in a carefully reduced schedule which will run from November 4 to 7.

Festival Director Tanya Bruce-Lockhart remains optimistic that the festival will be ‘live’ in November unless another spike on coronavirus cases hits the West Country.

Events will be rotated between the Electric Palace and the Bridport Arts Centre, both of which will have configured seating to take into account social distance and will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised before and after each event.

Speakers this year include James Rebanks, in conversation with Helen Macdonald, and Lord Darroch in conversation with Oliver Letwin. Pointless’s Richard Osman and award-winning nature writer Raynor Winn are also among the authors appearing at this year’s festival.

James Rebanks runs a family-owned farm in the Lake District and hit the best seller lists with his first book, The Shepherd’s Life, in 2015 which was shortlisted for the Wainwright and Ondaatje prizes, and has been translated into 16 languages.

A graduate of Oxford University, Rebanks describes himself as an ‘old fashioned farmer’. His second book, English Pastoral, came out on September 3.

James will be in conversation with Helen Macdonald, best known as the author of H is for Hawk, which won the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize and Costa Book Award. Her latest book, Vesper Flights, comprises a collection of her best loved essays, along with new pieces on topics including nostalgia for a vanishing countryside.

Lord Darroch is a former British diplomat. He served as the British Ambassador to the US for almost three years but resigned in July 2019 following the leak of diplomatic cables in which he was critical of the Trump administration. His book, Collateral Damage, is a behind-the-scenes account revealing the inside story behind his resignation. His appearance at the festival will come just days after the US election.

Richard Osman’s debut novel, The Thursday Murder Club, is set in a luxury retirement village in Kent where four residents gather to investigate crime cases, including a ‘live’ murder mystery.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn became a Sunday Times bestseller in 2018. It was nominated for the Costa Book Awards and the Wainwright Prize and won the inaugural RSL Christopher Bland Prize. Her second book, Wild Silence, was published in April.

There will be an online brochure on the website – – later this month, with information and tickets at Bridport Tourist Information Centre on 01308 424901.

“There will be a warm welcome to everyone who enjoys reading and loves literature,” Tanya Bruce-Lockhart said. “It will be something to look forward to in these troubled times.”