Chiswick Book Festival Hailed As "Astounding Success"
Hundreds queue to hear Lady Antonia Fraser, Sir Ian McKellan, Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson and many other leading authors
The first Chiswick Book Festival has been hailed as "an astounding success" and "a spectacular tour de force". Hundreds of people queued at the weekend to see Lady Antonia Fraser and Sir Ian McKellan, children's authors Anthony Horowitz and Jacqueline Wilson and many other top writers.
More than 350 people packed into St Michael & All Angels church on Friday afternoon to hear Horowitz, writer of the Alex Rider books and TV dramas such as Foyle's War, talk and answer questions from his young fans. Many queued for an hour afterwards for him to sign their copies.
That evening, the church was filled again for the keynote talk by Lady Antonia Fraser, speaking on the 40th anniversary of her ground-breaking biography of Mary Queen of Scots.
Over the weekend, St Michael's Parish Hall was also full for authors such as Michael Frayn - talking about his new book Travels with My Typewriter - and for the actor Ian McKellen, who read extracts from Ghost Hunter, the latest book in Michelle Paver's best-selling series, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. On Sunday, around 200 excited young girls queued in the sunshine to file into the church to hear Jacqueline Wilson talk about her new book, Hetty Feather.
"The first Chiswick Book Festival was an astounding success - stimulating, professional and packed with appearances by well-known authors." said Councillor Elizabeth Reilly. "This is an experience that must be repeated - Chiswick, and St Michael and All Angels Church, is the perfect setting."
The Mayor of Hounslow, Paul Lynch, also praised the Festival at a Drinks Reception attended by the artist Sir Peter Blake. Sir Peter signed copies of his new ABC book for children and collections of his pictures.
"We've been delighted with the response, from authors, publishers, booksellers, sponsors and the hundreds of people who came to the Festival - not to mention the dozens of volunteers, who worked so hard to make it go smoothly" said Torin Douglas, the Festival director. "It's exceeded all our expectations - and lots of people have said thank you, please do it again!"
Staff from Waterstones in Chiswick High Road ran a bookstall in the church throughout the Festival, and a team from Midas PR - which handles the London Book Fair and the British Book Awards - liaised with all the authors and publishers.
The Festival is a non-profit-making community event and any proceeds will go to three charities related to reading and the work of St Michael & All Angels church.
September 30, 2009