New Festival President

Posted on 15th May 2023

The acclaimed writer Cathy Rentzenbrink takes on the role

We are delighted to announce that the acclaimed writer Cathy Rentzenbrink has agreed to become the Festival’s new President.

Cathy, who lives in Falmouth, is a memoirist whose books include How to Feel BetterDear Reader and The Last Act of Love, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the most powerful memoirs of the past decade’, and which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize. Everyone is Still Alive is her first novel, and Write It All Down is a guide to writing a memoir. She regularly chairs literary events, interviews authors, runs creative writing courses, and has done these at the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival in the past.

She will be the successor to Dame Hilary Mantel, who died in September 2022, and will take over the role for the Festival this September.

‘We are absolutely delighted Cathy has taken on the role,’ says Festival Chair Sue Briggs. ‘Not only is she a superb writer, she is highly respected in the book industry and will, I am sure, continue to fly the flag for the Festival – something Hilary did with such enthusiasm.’

Says Cathy: ‘It is a joy and privilege to be the new President of the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival. Along with many writers, I have always loved going there because it is a beautiful town, the team are welcoming and friendly, and the audiences are delightful and appreciative. I never met Hilary Mantel but I am hardly ever not thinking about her or rereading her or looking at her words I have on the wall next to my desk, or using her influence on me to cheer up my writing students who despair of finding a good mentor. “Don’t forget,” I say, “That your best writing mentor might never know you exist.” I am keen to tell them that this is the magic of literature, that if you feel words were written for you then they were, that a book is a portal between writer and reader, that you the reader is extremely welcome to see yourself in the pages. So it is a huge honour to succeed Hilary as President and I will give my all to support the Festival to continue to do its excellent work as a beacon of bookish delight for both writers and readers.’

The Festival is a registered charity that takes authors into schools and donates books to school libraries.

Posted by Festival Team on 15th May 2023

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