For most of his life Terry Waite has worked in the area of international affairs and has worked in most of the worlds conflict zones. As a young man, whilst living in Uganda, he negotiated directly with the late General Amin for the release of hostages; and as a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s private staff was successful in aiding the freedom of hostages in Iran, Libya and Beirut. It was in Beirut that he was captured and spent almost five years in solitary confinement. In the apartheid years he worked closely with Bishop Desmond Tutu and has continued his work for the disadvantaged in South Africa. He was a joint founder of YCare, an agency working for the development of young people throughout the world. He is President of Emmaus for the homeless and a joint founder of Hostage UK. He has written several books ranging from a serious account of his years in captivity, Taken on Trust, to a comic novel, The Voyage of the Golden Handshake. He believes that it is vital that we retain our humour in the face of some of the grim realities of life and that laughter is therapeutic for all of us. Taken on Trust, written in his head during his years in captivity, has been reissued in the Modern Classics edition by Hodder. His very latest book, Out of the Silence is a book of narrative, reflections and his own poetry and has been illustrated by Jenny Coles.
He is both an Anglican and a Member of the Society of Friends. He is not a pacifist but strongly believes that force should only be used as an absolute last resort. That, he says, has not been the case in recent years and has resulted in dreadful chaos right across the Middle East.
Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.