A look back at ILF November 2021…


Celebrating Literature and the Arts…

If you hadn’t heard of us before that’s because ILF was established only in 2016. But it’s grown year on year, becoming a star event in the annual Ilminster calendar and attracting speakers from across the arts.

Thanks go to our wonderful audiences, speakers, volunteers and venues for helping to put Ilminster Literary Festival so firmly on the map.

Special Post…

After Covid led to the cancellation of ILF 2020 there was plenty of angst over whether the 2021 Festival would follow suit. Should we cancel again given that Covid was still around? Would venues be open for use? Would audiences stay away even if we went ahead? And if ILF 2021 did happen would it at least break even financially and not eat into limited cash reserves?
It was touch and go for many months but a smaller Festival than usual finally went ahead between November 10 and 13. We’re so glad it did! Thank you to everyone who turned out to support it, to the speakers who provided such great sessions, to the Friends of ILF, sponsors and advertisers for their generosity and to the Ilminster venues – The Warehouse Theatre, Monks Yard, The Arts Centre and Donyatt Village Hall (venue for the pre- Festival quiz) – which provided invaluable cooperation and help. The positive comments were numerous, the audiences genuinely pleased to see ILF’s return. Despite a deliberate reduction in audience sizes to avoid unhealthy overcrowding, finances held up well, helping to ensure the future of Ilminster’s very own Festival.

Special thanks to our festival sponsors...

The talk by Lucy Pollock was one of the best ever I’ve been to…such a larky, informing and happy talk

If you missed the Zoom event…

Etta Lemon The woman who saved the birds

Etta Lemon : The Woman Who Saved the Birds

Anyone who missed this session missed a real treat. Author Tessa Boase’s talk on her book ”Etta Lemon : The Woman Who Saved the Birds” was about an aspect of Victorian and Edwardian times rarely considered today – the widespread craze amongst women of all classes for extravagant hats, swathed in gorgeous feathers and even featuring whole stuffed birds perched among the plumage.

The resulting trade in exotic feathers was hugely profitable, worth  £20 million by 1890, £200 million in today’s money. By 1903 a single ounce of egret feathers was valued at twice its weight in gold while in one auction alone the feathers of 8000 parrots, 1450 grebes and 12000 humming birds were sold. The trade proved devastating for some of the world’s most beautiful bird species. Finally, women such as Etta Lemon became pioneers in protecting birds from slaughter purely in the name of fashion. Out of their work came the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which still thrives today.

Tessa’s book was originally published in 2018 as “Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather”, to mark the 100th anniversary of the achievement of votes for women. The Suffragettes it seems were as devoted to plume swathed hats as they were to winning those votes…

As good as a detective novel, a real page turner

I thought Tim Mirfin’s was the best talk we’ve ever had at a Lit Fest

What comes next?

It’s onwards and upwards from here and , all being well, ILF 2022 will happen in late May. Planning is advancing well and we’ll soon start to publish programme details. The main festival will be from Saturday May 21 to Saturday May 28 inclusive. PLEASE SAVE THE DATES and look out for information and updates on our ILF 2022 web page or on Facebook

Looking for a small gift?

If you’re looking for a small gift, Yola Munro has produced these attractive vouchers for use against the cost of any Festival ticket in May 2022. Priced at £5 and £10 they’re available now from the Festival office – Please send a cheque and Stamped Addressed Envelope to Ilminster Literary Festival, Bay House East, Bay Hill, Ilminster TA19 OAT.

Alternatively, call in there to buy in person from Secretary Gill Walker or e mail ilminsterlitfest@gmail.com for more information.

Ilminster Literary Festival Vouchers

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Ilminster Literary Festival Patrons

Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson

Alice Temperley

Alice Temperley MBE

Alan Johnson, former Home Secretary, now author and Alice Temperley MBE, top fashion designer whose business is a vibrant new addition to the Ilminster community.

ILF also supported by…

Ilminster Town Council, South Somerset District Council, Rotary Club of Ilminster, The Ilminster Educational Foundation, Tesco Stores, The Gooch Charitable Trust, Friends of ILF and numerous community sponsors.