Huge range of events in the West Dean Festival

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No festival this year, but West Dean College is still promising a busy 2012 in prospect with a huge range of events coming up.

Last year’s inaugural West Dean Festival will be back in 2013.

Ellen Cheshire, head of marketing and communications, said: “The feedback from those who attended, performed and worked during the event was fantastic – and we certainly know we have a successful formula for the future. ”

Key dates coming up in the meantime include February 1 when West Dean Gardens re-opens after its winter break. Also coming up is Merrie England and the Edwardian Musical Theatre, a talk by Ian Gledhill (Sunday, March 11, 2.30-5pm).

The fifth Chichester Writing Festival sees Kate Mosse chair three An Audience with... events in The Auditorium:

n Friday, March 30, 8pm, £12, Mark Billingham, author of ten straight Sunday Times bestselling novels, twice Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year, recipient of seven Crime Writers Association Daggers, adapted for TV starring David Morrissey as Thorne.

n Saturday March 31, 8pm, £12, Joanna Trollope, chairman of judges of next year’s Orange Prize for Fiction, an author of non-fiction, historical novels and a string of massive contemporary successes, most recently the number one best-seller Daughters-in-Law.

n Sunday April 1, 2pm, £12, Francesca Simon, ex-medievalist, graduate of Yale and Oxford, originally from St Louis, Missouri, now one of the UK’s best-selling children’s writers, the creator of the popular Horrid Henry series.

June includes the puppet show Circle of Tales (Sunday, June 10, 3pm) and the talk Why Garden?, a RHS lecture with Ursula Buchan (Saturday, June 16, 2pm).

The year continues with MedFest – A Taste of the Mediterranean, June 23–24, 10.30–5pm, an event which aims to capture the diversity and richness of the region’s cultural and gastronomic traditions. The month also sees the end-of-year show from West Dean College’s full-time visual arts students End of Year Show (June 29-July 6, 12noon–4pm, free admission).

The Chilingirian Quartet Concert series, master classes and student showcase concerts run from Sunday, July 15-Thursday, July 19. Chilli Fiesta then runs from July 27–29 - a three-day event which sees West Dean Gardens given over to chilli madness, from flaming food, live music and salsa dancing to hot, hot chilis.