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Cultural events in the most 'beautiful village in England'

Welcome to the official website of Bibury Festivals. From arts and crafts to music and literature, Bibury Festivals bring a wealth of cultural talent to the heart of the English countryside.

We are thrilled to have launched BibLit in 2019.  The event was a great success and plans are already underway for making next year a two day event over the weekend of 27th-29th March 2020 with the theme of 'Our Special Relationship with the US'.  Full details of the proposed line up of authors can be found below and they include amongst others Nicholas Coleridge, Rev. Jonathan Aitkin, Anne de Courcy and Mark Billingham.

Tickets will be on sale on 1st February so register here if you would like to be notified.



Following the success of BibLit2019 we are delighted to welcome you to BibLit 2020, the most intimate and informal of Literary Festivals, run by authors for authors, in the village once described by William Morris as they most beautiful in England’
This year we decided to explore the the fascinating relationship between Britain and the United States, building on local links: Namely that Arlington (One half of Bibury) gave its name to the best known Military Cemetery in the world, and that in Bibury churchyard lies Lady Elfrida Clarke, nee Roosevelt.
Speakers include Jonathan Aitken, who has written about Richard Nixon, Chuck Coulson, and John Newton; Nicholas Coleridge, whose ‘Glossy Years’ with Conde Nast made him a transatlantic sensation; former ambassador to the USA, Sir Christopher Meyer; historian Anne de Courcy, whose latest book about Chanel’s Riviera tells an intriguing tale of Anglo-American relations and many many more including Andrew Lownie, Mark Billingham, Jessica Fellowes and Diarmaid MacCulloch. Something for every taste, perhaps reflecting the eclectic interests of the committee!
We very much look forward to welcoming you
Tim Hastie-Smith
Chairman BibLit 2020



Read below to get an insight into the fascinating and inspiring backgrounds of our guest speakers who will be at BibLit 2020



Victoria Summerley is an award-winning journalist and author. A former executive editor of The Independent and deputy editor of the I newspaper, she has also worked in senior positions on The Observer and the Evening Standard. She trained as a journalist after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, and she has also written for the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The English Garden magazine.

She is a keen gardener and opens her garden in Bibury both for the National Gardens Scheme and in aid of the village hall. Her intention, on quitting daily newspaper production and moving to Bibury in 2012, was to live a quieter life and spend more time in her garden. Since then, she has written three books: Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds (2015); Great Gardens of London (2015) and The Secret Gardeners (2017), all published by Frances Lincoln.

She was a judge for the Garden Media Guild Awards in 2018


Anne de Courcy has worked on newspapers most of her life, most recently on the Evening Standard as a section editor, columnist and feature writer and then on the Daily Mail as a feature writer. A critically-acclaimed and best-selling author, she has written fourteen books, among them The Viceroy’s Daughters, Snowdon: The Biography, Diana Mosley, Margot at War  (shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political Book of the Year award) and The Fishing Fleet. Most of her books have been serialised, two turned into TV documentaries and her most recent book, The Husband-Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York, has been optioned for a feature film. Anne is a past Chairman of the Biographers’ Club and was a judge for the Biography section of the Costa Award in 2013, and on the final selection panel. Her latest book, Chanel’s Riviera, the Cote d’Azur in Peace and War, will be published this June.


The Revd Jonathan Aitken has had one of the most high profile and colourful careers in British public life. His career has spanned the worlds of books, newspapers, television, business, politics, Parliament, prison, theology, charitable service, prison reform and offender rehabilitation.  He was ordained on 30 June 2018 and is now a curate and part time prison chaplain at HMP Pentonville.  He is the author of fifteen books


Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality, 2013; Kazakhstan and Twenty Years of Independence, 2012 ; Nazarbayev and the Making of Kazakhstan, 2009; John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace, 2007 ; Porridge and Passion, 2005 ;  Pride and Perjury, 2000 ;  Richard M Nixon: A Life, 1993 ; Officially Secret, 1970.


Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001. Sleepyhead was an instant bestseller in the UK, sold widely throughout the world and was published in the USA in the summer of 2002. The series of crime novels featuring London-based detective Tom Thorne continued with Scaredy Cat and was followed by Lazybones, The Burning Girl, Lifeless, Buried, Death Message, Bloodline, From The Dead, Good As Dead, The Dying Hours, The Bones Beneath, Time of Death, Love Like Blood and the most recent, The Killing Habit. The next Tom Thorne thriller, Their Little Secret, was published in March 2019. Mark is also the author of the standalone novels In The Dark, Rush Of Blood and Die Of Shame. An acclaimed television series based on the Thorne novels was screened on Sky One and a series based on the novels In The Dark and Time Of Death was screened on BBC1 in 2017. Mark lives in London with his wife and two children. He is currently writing his next novel.


Nicholas Coleridge CBE is chairman of Condé Nast Britain, chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum, chairman of the Prince of Wales' Campaign for Wool and chairman of the Gilbert Trust for the Arts. He is an ambassador for the Landmark Trust and a patron of the Elephant Family. From 1989–2017, he was successively editorial director of Condé Nast Britain, managing director, Condé Nast Britain, vice president, Condé Nast International and president, Condé Nast International. British Condé Nast publishes numerous titles including Vogue, Vanity Fair, House & Garden, Tatler, The World of Interiors, Condé Nast Traveller, Glamour, GQ, Brides, Wired, Love and GQ Style, as well as owning the Johansens hotel guides and the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design.        
He was the 1982 British Press Awards Young Journalist of the Year, as a columnist at the Evening Standard, and was given the Mark Boxer Lifetime Achievement Award for magazine journalism in 2001. In 2013, he was awarded the Marcus Morris Lifetime Achievement Award and in June 2017 he was inducted into the Professional Publishers Association's Hall of Fame by Lord Heseltine. In May 2018 he was awarded the lifetime “Outstanding Contribution to British Media” Prize at the British Media Awards. He is the only person ever to be awarded all four of the Publishing industry’s Lifetime Achievement Awards. Coleridge was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.


Jessica Fellowes’ debut novel The Mitford Murders was her tenth book. Her most recent novel, The Mitford Scandal was published this year. She has written five official companion books to the television series Downton Abbey, which was created by her uncle, Julian Fellowes. These were guides to the making of the six series as well as explaining the social history context of the show. These books led to an international speaking career, touring America from coast to coast, talking to audiences of up to 2,500. 

    She has also made numerous appearances on radio and television and is a contributor to a number of publications including The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times Style.

   Her career began at the Mail on Sunday as a celebrity interviewer and lifestyle editor, before going on to be Deputy Editor of Country Life magazine, where she wrote the weekly Town Mouse column as well as a townie's guide to country weekends for The London Paper, the latter of which formed the basis of her first book, Mud & the City. 

    She lives in Oxfordshire with her family and an energetic Labradoodle but remains a Londoner at heart.


Andrew Lownie was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was Dunster History Prizeman and President of the Union, before taking his Masters and doctorate at Edinburgh University. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and former visiting fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, he has run his own literary agency since 1988. A trustee of the Campaign for Freedom of Information and President of The Biographers Club, he has written for the Times, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, Spectator and Guardian and formerly served in the Royal Naval Reserve. His previous books include acclaimed lives of the writer John Buchan and the spy Guy Burgess. His latest book is the Sunday Times best-seller The Mountbattens, their Lives and Loves.


Diarmaid MacCulloch Kt FSA FRHistS FBA is an English historian and academic, specialising in ecclesiastical history and the history of Christianity. Since 1995, he has been a fellow of St Cross College, Oxford; he was formerly the senior tutor. Since 1997, he has been Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford.
Though ordained a deacon in the Church of England, he declined ordination to the priesthood because of the Church's attitude to homosexuality. 
MacCulloch was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of Oxford in 2001 and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History.
His book Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490–1700 (2003) won the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award and 2004 British Academy Book Prize, adding to his earlier success in winning the 1996 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Thomas Cranmer: A Life. A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, was published in September 2009 with a related 6-part television series called A History of Christianity. The book won McGill University's Cundill Prize.
In 2012, he wrote and presented How God Made the English, a three-part documentary series tracing the history of English identity from the Dark Ages to the present day. In 2013 he presented a documentary on Thomas Cromwell and his place in English ecclesiastical and political history. His 2015 series Sex and the Church on BBC Two explored how Christianity has shaped western attitudes to sex, gender and sexuality throughout history. In 2018, MacCulloch published the biography Thomas Cromwell: A Life. MacCulloch sits on the European Advisory Board of Princeton University Press.


Mark Meredith is the founder of HouseHistree, a free website where we can all come together and “connect” with the houses and buildings that matter to us: Whether that’s because you just love the architecture, or because they're connected to you or your family’s history. HouseHistree is where you can document your connection to your special places. Meredith is passionate about genealogy and the history of the places that surround him. Having spent twenty years in the building industry, he decided the time was right to blend his passions. Mark believed there were five principal benefits to this. To provide a fresh and engaging way for people to expand on their own ancestral stories; to allow the present-day custodians to connect with their building’s “alumni”; to enable those with a shared love of a particular building to connect to each other and to 
support the preservation of buildings under threat and retain the memories of those lost.


Sir Christopher Meyer, KCMG is a British former diplomat who served as the Ambassador to the United States (1997–2003), Ambassador to Germany (1997) and the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission  (2003–2009).
He published his controversial memoirs, DC Confidential, in November 2005, with extracts serialised in The Guardian and the Daily Mail. Jim Hoagland, the authoritative Washington Post commentator on foreign affairs, described his book as "thorough" and "credible".
In 2009 he published a second book, Getting Our Way, a 500-year history of British diplomacy that accompanied a BBC 4 television series of the same name. He was again in the news with this book, serialized this time in The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. 
In November 2013 Meyer published a third book, Only Child, a personal memoir of his childhood interwoven with the story of how his father was shot down and killed in the Second World War. It includes interviews with still surviving witnesses of his father's crash and burial. Meyer writes regularly on international affairs for a variety of newspapers and publications.


Joanna Blythman  is a leading investigative food journalist and writer. To date, she has won five Glenfiddich Awards for her writing, and, in 2004, won the prestigious Derek Cooper Award, one of BBC Radio 4’s Food and Farming Awards. She contributes regularly to Observer Food Monthly, among other newspapers and magazines, and frequently broadcasts on food issues. She is the author of seven books, the latest of which is Swallow This: Serving Up The Food Industry's Darkest Secrets.


Hannah Dennison is the author of The Vicky Hill Mysteries and the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Constable Crime), both set in the wilds of the Devonshire countryside. British born, Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Hannah has served on numerous judging committees for Mystery Writers of America and is serving on the MWA board for 2018-2019.


Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based mystery writer who also lectures about gardens and travel. She is the author of the Potting Shed mysteries (published by Random House/Alibi), about Pru Parke, an American gardener who moves to England and digs up more than weeds. Her second series, Birds of a Feather, follows the adventures of Julia Lanchester, daughter of a celebrity ornithologist and manager of the tourist information center in a Suffolk village. Marty is a former garden writer and leads garden tours to European and North American destinations. 


Stephen Tomkins Journalist and author Stephen Tomkins is a contributing editor to shipoffools.com and deputy editor of Third Way magazine. His books include biographies of William Wilberforce and David Livingtone; A Short History of Christianity, and Paul and his World. He has a PhD in church history.


Would you like to know about the authors that took part in BibLit 2019?  
Read below to get an insight into the fascinating and inspiring backgrounds of our guest speakers.



Angela Levin has been a senior feature writer on The Observer, Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.  She has also written for the Telegraph, Newsweek and Standpoint and contributed to NetDoctor, the online medical site. Her speciality has been interviewing well-known people and those who have suffered a huge personal trauma. She also writes on medical issues. She has been commended twice in the British Press Awards.

Angela has written nine non-fiction books including three on the royal family. Her latest biography, Harry: Conversations with the Prince, was published in May 3 2018.  Angela broadcasts world-wide on TV and radio.  This includes Sky, BBC4 and 2, CNN, NBC Canadian TV, Australian TV and many stations in Europe. She was part of CNN’s commentary panel for the May 2018 wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.


Sandra Howard was one of the leading photographic fashion models of the 1960s and 70s. She is the only model to have appeared on the cover of American Vogue two months in succession. She began doing freelance journalism while still modelling and continues to write for the press alongside writing novels.

Her fifth novel Tell the Girl, set mainly in the Sixties, while not an autobiography, draws heavily on personal experiences and her sixth, The Consequence of Love, recently published, is, though it stands alone in its own right, a sequel to an earlier thriller about home-grown terrorism called A Matter of Loyalty. She is currently working on a novel based on a true story, set in Cairo and East Africa in WW2

She was for many years a trustee of the drug rehabilitation charity, Addaction, and is a Vice-President of Youth Epilepsy.

She is married to the former British Conservative Party leader Michael Howard.


Jessica Douglas-Home trained at Chelsea Art School and the Slade School of Fine Art as a painter, etcher and theatre designer. She has had one-man exhibitions of her paintings  in London, Washington and Brussels and has also designed productions for the National Theatre and other London theatres. 

In 1996 her first book, Life and Loves of Violet Gordon Woodhouse,on the musician Violet Gordon Woodhouse, was published and nominated for the Whitbread Award. This her fourth book, is in some ways a sequel to Violet, adding a new dimension to our understanding of the Arts and Crafts movement and the vibrant cultural life in England and Europe between the two World Wars.

Jessica Douglas-Home is President of the Mihai Eminescu Trust which seeks to preserve Romania’s heritage, natural landscape and areas of wilderness. She and was married to the late Lord Leach and lives mainly at Quenington.


Charlie Hart is the author of Skymeadow, the story of how he singlehandedly built a five-acre garden from scratch. When he first visited Peverels, a small farmhouse on the lip of a hill running down into the Peb Valley, he was at breaking point, grieving the loss of his father and anxious about the impending death of his mother. He and his wife Sybilla felt that their London life had been steadily growing in noise: the noise of grief, the noise of busyness, the noise that comes from the expectations of others and, for Charlie, the constant clamour of dissatisfaction at work.

At Peverels, Charlie found an expanse of untouched meadowland, the perfect setting for an audacious garden. Charlie felt an unquenchable urge to dig, to create something. The days he spent wrestling with the soil in the rose garden were the days in which he mourned the loss of his parents. Gardening has taught him that you can dig for victory, but you can also dig for mental health. As the garden formed around Charlie, he buried his fears and anxieties within it. 

Charlie Hart read Theology at Cambridge University before working in a number of roles in London. He now lives and gardens on the Essex Suffolk border with his family.


Jane Ridley is a historian, biographer, author, broadcaster, and Professor of Modern History at the University of Buckingham. She has been in charge of the university's Master of Arts course in biography (now called Life Writing) since establishing it in 1996. This was the first such postgraduate course. She is the current Chairman of the Biographers’ Club.

Jane Ridley won the Duff Cooper Prize in 2002 for The Architect and hisWife, a biography of her great-grandfather Edwin Lutyens.  Other books include: The letters of Edwin Lutyens to his wife Lady Emily, ed. with Clayre Percy, Fox Hunting: a history, The Letters of Arthur Balfour and Lady Elcho, ed. with Clayre Percy, The Young Disraeli, Bertie: A Life of Edward VII, The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince, Queen Victoria: a short life. She is currently writing the lives of King George V and Queen Mary.


Caroline Sandon started writing poetry for her father at the age of five and won a national poetry competition aged nine. She continued to write, whilst juggling first a law degree which she gave up at nineteen to get married, followed by modelling, an interior design career and seven children and step children.

When she married her second husband Conroy Harrowby, with whom she lives at the Cotswold manor house of Burnt Norton – immortalised in the first quartet of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Four Quartets. Here she wrote her first novel, Burnt Norton.inspired by the former inhabitants of the house.

More recently she has signed a two-book deal with Orion. An Italian Affair. telling the story of a family divided by war, comes out this month, The Promise, next year, both under the name of Caroline Montague.  Caroline divides her time between England and Italy.


Christopher Wilson (T.P. Fielden) has unfortunately had to withdraw owing to urgent business in New York. Instead, we are delighted to have secured Jane Corry, many of whose crime thrillers have been on the Sunday Times Best Sellers list. Jane was also writer in residence at a high security prison for men - an experience that helped inspire My Husband's Wife and Blood Sisters. Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. Many of her ideas strike during morning dog-jogs along the beach followed by a dip in the sea - no matter how cold it is!


Working Together





We would also like to thank the following publications for their assistance in publicising our events...

Cotswold Info

Whats On Advisor

Round and About magazine

Cotswold Life