Review: Packed BroadstairsLit event with Terry Waite CBE

Author Jane Wenham-Jones with Terry Waite Photo by Encade

More than 200 people packed the Pavilion in Broadstairs last Sunday to hear Terry Waite CBE talk about his time as a hostage in Beirut.

The one-time envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had travelled from his home in Suffolk for the BroadstairsLit event,  described his captivity – much of it spent in solitary confinement –  to local author Jane Wenham-Jones, detailing the brutal realities of being held by a terrorist group.

Despite being chained up, interrogated, and allowed only one bathroom visit a day, the Quaker and humanitarian told a spellbound audience that he made efforts to calm his anger and understand his captors, focussing on forgiveness and creativity to get him through. Terry Waite wrote his first book – Taken on Trust –  in his head during his five years as a prisoner, as he was refused pen and paper.

Photo by Encade

There were laughs as well as awe-struck silence, as the founder member of Hostage International – a charity that does much to support hostages and their families – also told of his travels with the late Robert Runcie, many of them recalled in his book Travels with a Primate, which has recently been re-issued.

Queuing to have books signed, many who had watched, described the afternoon as “moving” and “Inspirational”.

Photo by Encade

“It was a humbling experience, a chance to reset and remind yourself of what really matters in life,” said Denise Martin-Harker, director of BroadstairsLit, while Jane Wenham-Jones described the chance to interview Terry Waite as “a joy and a privilege.”


  1. If ever there was a man who was naive beyond belief it was him, against all advise he went into the hands of the terrorist with his eyes closed.

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