From chefs to crime writers and from journalists to judges, the Isle of Wight Literary Festival 2023 welcomed a host of fascinating writers to Northwood House and other venues in Cowes.

This year there was an additional Lit Feast theme, where speakers came from the world of food, including Isle of Wight chef Robert Thompson and big name stars including Rosemary Shrager.

There was also a crime theme, which culminated in crime writer Elly Griffiths, former detective Jackie Malton and former Old Bailey judge Wendy Joseph KC unite to present a fascinating talk on the subject, from their different perspectives.

In Jackie Malton's earlier solo talk, she spoke about the challenges of being an openly gay woman working in the police service, with jaw-dropping detail of how she was treated by some colleagues.

Isle of Wight County Press: Jackie Malton was the real Prime SuspectJackie Malton was the real Prime Suspect (Image: IWCP)

She also championed the good cops, saying the majority were in the service to help people, and said one of the best ways to combat crime is to talk to the offenders and find out their reasons for committing the offences.

She was the inspiration behind Prime Suspect, played by Helen Mirren, and worked with author Lynda La Plante to create the character.

Another full house could be found when Wendy Joseph spoke at St Mary's Church.

She gave clear and concise explanations of what homicide encompasses, and how sentencings are decided upon.

Isle of Wight County Press: Literary Festival fan Pat Howard, having a book signed by author Wendy JosephLiterary Festival fan Pat Howard, having a book signed by author Wendy Joseph (Image: IWCP)

She also gave some fascinating examples of how anyone can find themselves ending up in the dock or the witness box, and some case studies explained in her book, Unlawful Killings.

Elly Griffiths drew a large crowd as she discussed The Last Remains, the latest book in the popular Ruth Galloway series. 

Revealing that book 15 may be the final time we will get to see Dr Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson investigating murders in Norfolk, Elly shared that she might return to the series in the future. 

Isle of Wight County Press: Novelist Elly Griffiths (right) being interviewed by crime historian and author Angela BuckleyNovelist Elly Griffiths (right) being interviewed by crime historian and author Angela Buckley (Image: IWCP)

For now though, Elly is focusing on other stories and even mentioned the concept of a possible TV adaptation of the Ruth novels.

Jake Curran watched Philip Norman, the legendary journalist who has interviewed the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Paul McCartney. 

Jake said: "Philip, who grew up on the Island, told stories about working on Ryde Pier and even applying to the County Press - which he was rejected by! 

Isle of Wight County Press: Philip NormanPhilip Norman (Image: IWCP)

"Discussing his latest book, We Danced On Our Desks: Brilliance and Backstabbing at the Sixties' Most Influential Magazine, Philip also talked about the life and death of George Harrison, which will be included in a new biography published at the end of the month. 

"Fans of The Beatles will know that Philip has previously written biographies of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, as well Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation back in 1981. 

"Philip entertained the crowd at St Mary’s Church with his stories from working on the Sunday Times Magazine to being a child on the Isle of Wight." 

Jake also saw Sir Michael Morpurgo, who appeared at the festival only days after his 80th birthday.

Jake said: "Sir Michael sold out St Mary’s Church so fans, young and old, could hear him speak about his incredible career as an author.

"Starting with how productive and positive his Covid-19 lockdown was, Michael then read from his latest book, Michael Morpurgo’s Tales From Shakespeare - a number of Shakespeare’s most famous works simplified and explained. Michael noted that Shakespeare comedies were difficult to do because of their confusing plots.

Isle of Wight County Press: Chef Rosemary ShragerChef Rosemary Shrager (Image: IWCP)

"Before taking questions from the audience - including one on what inspired him to write War Horse - Michael talked about the upcoming film adaptation of Kensuke’s Kingdom, a fan favourite story that sees a boy end up on a deserted island with a former Japanese soldier. 

"Michael last appeared at the festival in 2019 and, from the crowd’s reaction last week, he is clearly welcome back any time!"

Isle of Wight County Press: Christopher Jackson was delighted to get a selfie with Dame Maureen LipmanChristopher Jackson was delighted to get a selfie with Dame Maureen Lipman (Image: Christopher Jackson)

Organisers were delighted with the numbers of visitors they achieved at the IW LIterary Festival this year, and thanked the many people who make the entirely volunteer-led event happen.