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11-13 March 2022

Welcome to the Shaftesbury Book Festival

The theme 'Reading the Land' is an invitation to share in the passion, experience and insight of our authors as we explore the best of nature writing.

With much of the last 18 months spent adjusting to new limitations, many of us have explored the lanes and paths closer to home in a bid to find new ways to stretch our minds (and legs!). For some, it has been a chance to reconnect with nature, while for others it has proven an opportunity to examine more closely the natural world around us.

"We hope to stimulate positive ways of living with nature, and encourage the audience to share our passion for the landscapes, coasts, and flora and fauna”

Whether you're in the town or country, high-rise or ground-level, there are ways to notice nature and what's happening in the environment around us. Our authors bring their insights to the Festival, exploring a variety of themes connected to the landscape; the importance of trees and bees, rewilding, and so much more.

Our patron: Richard Mabey


Main sponsor


This event is supported by the UK Live Events Reinsurance Scheme

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We are proud to say that Richard Mabey has agreed to be our patron.


Richard’s first book Food for Free came out in 1972 and since then he has impressed all who love nature with his thoughtful and challenging writing in over 30 books, many television films, radio, writings and talks. The Unofficial Countryside (1973) and Weeds (2010) explore the bits and pieces of land and the plants that purists failed to ’see'. His biography of Gilbert White (1986) won the Whitbread Biography Prize while Flora Britannica (1996) celebrated plants in popular culture.   From Nature Cure (2005) and Beechcombings (2007) to the Cabaret of Plants (2016) his reading of the land has always opened our eyes to new ways of looking and caring about our surroundings.

Our sponsors and supporters

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We would also like to thank those who have personally donated toward this event, including: Sara Jacson, Juliet Rogers, Laura Loncar, Clare Martin, Bernard Ede, Julia and Charles Cardozo, and a number of people who wish to remain anonymous.