Words By The Water Returns To Keswick, Cumbria


Festival of Words and Ideas
5th to 9th June 2024
Keswick, Cumbria

Return of the much missed Words by the Water Festival of Words and Ideas to Keswick 2024.

After a challenging period post pandemic festival organisers are excited to return to Theatre by the Lake for a five day festival from 5th to 9th June.

What started life as a short festival in Keswick 23 years ago flourished and brought enormous joy to many people. So when the covid-19 pandemic hit, the loss of Words by the Water was felt by both guests and speakers.

The fallow period of the festival has shown all of us how much we need and value the arts and Words by the Water is delighted to be back in Cumbria in full capacity.

The festival is kicking off this year with Alexander McCall Smith, one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors. Most famous for his highly successful The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, he will be appearing at Theatre by the Lake on Friday 10 May with tickets on sale now.

An exciting development in the future of the festival is a new partnership between independent local bookshop Bookends and the festival organiser Leah Varnell. Bookends Director Lucy Matthews explains her enthusiasm for the return of the festival ‘For over 20 years, selling books at the Words by the Water festival has been an annual highlight for Bookends. We know how much our customers look forward to Words by the Water in Keswick so we are delighted to welcome the festival back to the community. We will have a very different role this year as, not only will we be selling books at the festival, we will also be organising and running the festival alongside Leah. We are thrilled to be working in partnership like this and believe this year will just be the start of a wonderful new era of Words by the Water.’

Leah shares the same excitement as the festival approaches: ‘It has been a really challenging few years in the arts but we are absolutely thrilled to be back in full force to share ideas and bring the Words by the Water festival community back together. I’m looking forward to June and hope to see lots of familiar faces and new faces at the festival in Keswick in June’

Words by the Water is delighted that Melvyn Bragg is once again lending support to the long established festival. “I am thrilled that the festival is returning against the odds after a number of challenging years. It has been a very difficult time across the board in the arts and it is important for Cumbria that cultural events such as Words by the Water continue and thrive.”

He is joined by his daughter, teacher and writer, Marie-Elsa Bragg as co-president for the second year. Marie-Elsa has spoken many times at the festival and has become increasingly involved with securing the future of the festival. “I am looking forward to continuing in the role of president and know that the festival has a bright future. Leah and the team have lots of innovative and exciting plans moving forward and also will continue to deliver thought-provoking and interesting talks at Words by the Water. I am delighted to be part of the project as the festival grows and moves from strength to strength.”

Theatre by the Lake is also keen to welcome back the long established festival. Simon Stephens, Executive Director of Theatre by the Lake, adds: ”Words by the Water has always been an extremely popular event at the theatre and we know audiences have missed it in recent years. We’re really excited for the return of the festival and to be hosting a truly wonderful celebration of literature once again here at Theatre by the Lake.”

The festival promises a diverse, entertaining and thought-provoking programme including talks, comedy, workshops, music and a play. As ever, the focus is on sharing ideas and celebrating local talent.

To sign up for the Words by the Water Festival newsletter to learn more about the festival visit the website wordsbythewaterkeswick.com and click the link to sign up to receive all the latest updates.

Tickets will be on sale from the 15th April for Best Friends of the Theatre and the 18th April for Friends by calling the box office 017687 74411 or online www.theatrebythelake.com

Tickets will be on sale from 22nd April for general booking by calling the box office 017687 74411 or online www.theatrebythelake.com