Bridport Literary Festival Director Tanya Bruce-Lockhart said this year’s event, from November 7-13, was more successful than ever.

“We wanted to make up for the disappointment of 2020 when we could only host one day of ‘live’ events due to Covid constraints,” she said.

This year, the annual festival hosted a broad range of events, opening with Jonathan Sumption in conversation with Howard Davies about his sometimes controversial views in the book, Law in a Time of Crisis.

The former Supreme Court Judge wrestled with past, present and potential crises faced by what many consider to be an increasingly divided country.

From the role of the Supreme Court to the uses of referenda to the rise of nationalisms within the UK, Sumption exposed the subtleties, uses and abuses of legal and judicial interventions.

The festival ended with the inspirational James Rebanks talking about his hopes for future farming. The writer and farmer won the Wainwright Prize for his book, English Pastoral: An Inheritance, and was pleased to see a fair number of farmers among the audience. Rebanks’ family have farmed in the Lake District for more than 600 years. He keeps Herdwick sheep and now has a herd of Belted Galloways.

He was involved in the bid for the Lake District to receive World Heritage status which was approved in 2017. His bestselling autobiography, The Shepherd’s Life, won endless plaudits when it was published in 2015.

Other talks included former MP Peter Hain recalling growing up in South Africa, Marina Wheeler’s mother’s life growing up and through India’s Partition and Tim Marshall identifying why politics are linked to geography.

Mrs Bruce-Lockhart said: “It was great to see almost full houses in all of our venues and the town felt a buzz of energy. This is Bridport’s Literary Festival and we are delighted that so many visitors as well as locals come to sample our wonderful town and all it has to offer.”

She added: “It was great to have our independent local bookshop, the Book Shop, Bridport, managing book sales for the author signings, which went so well.”

The festival was spawned originally from the international Bridport Prize, which was founded in 1973 to encourage and reward writers of short stories and poetry.

It takes place annually and has become a firm fixture in the West Dorset calendar for November.