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WhitLit festival to celebrate Kent as the Garden of England and gardening this year at Whitstable castle

By Angela Cole

Kent’s crown as the Garden of England and the work of world famous writer and gardener Vita Sackville West will be celebrated at the fourth WhitLit festival this weekend.

In keeping with its green fingered theme this year the festival will be held at Whitstable Castle and gardens on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14.

Top names appearing at the festival include The Woman in Black author Susan Hill, who will be discussing her new novel From the Heart, a devastating coming-of-age story on the Sunday at 6.30pm.

Vita Sackville West, author and world famous gardener of Sissinghurst Castle will be celebrated at this year's WhitLit festival
Vita Sackville West, author and world famous gardener of Sissinghurst Castle will be celebrated at this year's WhitLit festival

Biographer Victoria Glendinning will be discussing the life of Vita Sackville West on Sunday. Head gardener of Vita’s garden at Sissinghurst, Troy Scott Smith, will be making his first literary festival appearance, talking to national garden columnist Francine Raymond, on Saturday at 6.30pm.

Grounds of Sissinghurst Castle
Grounds of Sissinghurst Castle

Other “green” events include talks on parks, gardens and Kent marshes, and a free book debate on Vita Sackville West’s novel All Passion Spent chaired by Val Hennessy.

Other events include actor turned author John Gordon Sinclair talking about his latest book, Whitstable’s Emma Slade/AniPemaDeki talking about how she went from being a banker to a Buddhist nun in Bhutan.

Local crime writers Simon Booker, MJ McGrath and John Tagholm will be discussing how to write the perfect thriller with Richard Barber on Saturday from 3.30pm.

Festival director Victoria Falconer said: “We want to keep WhitLit fresh and interesting so are excited about our new venue at Whitstable Castle and hope that our garden theme will be of interest to our green fingered town.”

For tickets visit whitlit.co.uk

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