8 October, 2023




Pay what you decide


The Grand Pier,
Marine Parade,
BS23 1AL


Weston Lit Fest: The Seaside: England’s Love Affair

A vivid journey around England’s great seaside resorts, exploring what they reveal about England, from the award-winning author of ‘Love of Country’.

England’s seaside is made up of a striking variety of coastlines including cliffs, coves, pebbled shores, wide sandy beaches, salt marshes, and estuaries cutting deep inland. On these coastal edges, England’s great holiday resorts grew up, developed in the early eighteenth century originally as spas for medicinal bathing but soon morphing into places of pleasure, entertainment, fantasy and adventure.

Acclaimed writer Madeleine Bunting journeyed clockwise around England from Scarborough to Weston to Blackpool to understand the enduring appeal of seaside towns and what has happened to the golden sands, cold seas and donkey rides of childhood memory.

Join Madeleine for chips and a seaview to hear more about her book and add your voice to the conversation.

About Madeleine Bunting: for twenty five years, Madeleine was a journalist and Associate Editor on the Guardian. She wrote on a wide range of subjects including politics, social affairs, faith and global development.   Her books have won several awards and listings for major prizes. Labours of Love was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing and longlisted for the Baillie Gifford. Love of Country was shortlisted for the Wainright and the Saltire Prizes in 2017. Her first novel, Island Song, won the Waverton Good Read Award in 2020 and in 2010 she won the Portico Prize for The Plot which was also shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize.

Madeleine was made a Visiting Professor at the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute in 2021.  She held a visiting fellowship at Manchester University 2016-19 and received an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University in 2013. She was awarded a Lambeth MA degree in 2006, and her journalism was awarded the Commission for Racial Equality’s Race in the Media award in 2005 and the Imam wa Amal Special Award in 2002. She has won several One World Media awards for her journalism on global justice.

About Tamsin Badcoe: Tamsin Badcoe is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Bristol. Her first book, Edmund Spenser and the Romance of Space (Manchester University Press, 2019), focused on early modern poetry and the representation of coastlines, wetlands, and islands in sixteenth and seventeenth-century literature. She is currently researching the representation of the role of devotional culture in life at sea during the early modern period and is also a member of Bristol Common Press.

“A poignant picture of life on the edge of England… Bunting snoops around where most of us don’t bother to look:”  Spectator

“Eloquent and detailed… Britain’s island story has never seemed so pertinent:” Financial Times

“[A] remarkable book, as bracing as a smack in the face by a stiff sea breeze, Madeleine Bunting tours the English coastline to discover what it reveals about the state of the nation today:” Guardian.


Weston Lit Fest is produced in partnership with Weston-super-Mare Town Council and The Write Box.