Chiswick Book Festival Programme

Lucy Worsley, Sir Max Hastings, Rula Lenska, a Street Cat Named Bob and James Bond among this year's line-up

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Chiswick Book Festival

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The Chiswick Book Festival now in its fifth year - returns in September with a host of top authors, appealing to the widest of tastes. More than two dozen writers will speak and sign books over the weekend of September 12th to 15th in the heart of west London.

Thursday September 12th 2013
6pm for 7pm: Lucy Worsley at Chiswick House: A Very British Murder

A special pre-Festival event in the splendid surroundings of Chiswick House in the Burlington Pavilion. Historian Dr. Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, explores our fascination with murder as a form of entertainment, in a book accompanying her new BBC TV series. Refreshments on sale from 6pm. Books on sale for signing afterwards. Supported by Hubbard Pegman & Whitney LLP
The Burlington Pavilion, Chiswick House. £12.

Lucy Worsley

Friday September 13th 2013
7 for 7.30pm: Berlin and Beyond: Philip Kerr and Jane Thynne
Philip Kerr has just published A Man Without Breath, his much-acclaimed ninth Bernie Gunther novel, about a detective living in Berlin in the 1930s and 40s. His wife Jane Thynne has just published Black Roses, her much-acclaimed first Clara Vine novel, about a British secret agent living in Berlin in the 1930s. For the first time together, they discuss their writing and how their lives and books overlap. Supported by Savills.
Philip Kerr is the author of more than 20 books, including seven Bernie Gunther novels, several standalone thrillers, and six books in the young-adult series Children of the Lamp under the pen name of P.B. Kerr. In 2009, he won the British Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award and Spain's RBA International Prize for Crime Writing for his Bernie Gunther series. Philip Kerr interviewed by the Daily Telegraph
St Michael & All Angels Church. £7. Refreshments available from 7pm

Saturday September 14th 2013
Children’s Book Festival
Admission to the two Saturday morning events is by Children’s Day Pass - £3 for adults & children age 4+. Books on sale and for signing afterwards

- 10am: Little Somethings: a mischievous tale of the unexpected
Award-winning author Jill Lewis (actually two people!) and illustrator Ali Pye are ready to entertain you with music, performance and art to tell the story of the Greedy Guzzler looking for a little something to satisfy his appetite. Imaginative and engaging, there’s also a little gentle hint that appearances can be deceptive. For ages 4 to 7.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Children’s Day Pass

- 11am: Andy Day: Puzzles, Problems and Paradoxes in Poetry
Using a deceptively simple poem from Thoughtings, ‘The Other Hand’ workshop will challenge the intuitions of children and any adults present – although a session in philosophy, the audience will be moving about, testing things out and interacting with each other while puzzling together. Supported by The Philosophy Foundation. For ages 7-11.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Children’s Day Pass

12noon: Prize-giving: Young People’s Poetry Competition
Following his earlier session Andy Day will present the prizes to this year’s winners of the Festival’s competition for 8 to 13 year olds, together with the Chair of the judges, James Priestman, who will comment on the winning entries. Supported by Walt Disney.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall downstairs, admission free (no Day Pass required)

Saturday September 14th 2013

11.45am: The Society We’re In: How Right and Left Both Got It Wrong
David Boyle (Broke: Who Killed the Middle Classes?) and Harriet Sergeant (Among the Hoods: Exposing the Truth about Britain’s Gangs) discuss the “disastrous institutions from Right and Left” over the past 30 years. They challenge everything we thought we knew about the state and its effect on current society. Chaired by Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor.
Tabard Theatre, Saturday Day Pass

12.15pm: Life with Street Cat Bob: James Bowen
When a stray ginger tom came to find James Bowen in the hall of his sheltered accommodation, James’s life changed. A street musician living hand to mouth, James didn’t need a pet, but their uplifting tales have subsequently become worldwide bestsellers. James and Street Cat Bob will be interviewed by writer Garry Jenkins who helped bring their story to light.
St Michael & All Angels Church, £5

James Bowen (with his street cat named Bob)

12.15pm: Inconvenient People - Sarah Wise
Social historian Sarah Wise uncovers the stories of “perfectly sane” people who in the 19th century were committed to lunatic asylums such as Chiswick House. ‘Fascinating’ - The Guardian. ‘Enthralling’ - Sunday Telegraph. Introduced by George Goodwin.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Saturday Day Pass

1.00pm: Feeding Families - Lindsey Bareham and Jo Pratt
Lindsey Bareham of The Times (The Trifle Bowl and Other Tales) and TV’s Jo Pratt (Madhouse Cookbook: Delicious Recipes for the Busy Family Kitchen) compare recipes. Supported by Whisk.
Tabard Theatre, Saturday Day Pass

1.30pm: Travellers’ Tales: Once Upon A Time in Venice and Rustic France
Polly Coles (The Politics of Washing) uprooted her young family to live with the locals in Venice. Celia Brayfield (Deep France) spent a year in a tiny village in the Bearn. Kate Pullinger edited the new compilation Once Upon A Time There Was a Traveller.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall downstairs, Saturday Day Pass

1.30pm: The Ides of April: Falco - The Next Generation - Lindsey Davis
After writing 20 crime novels set in Ancient Rome featuring Marcus Didius Falco, Lindsey Davis talks about her new series of books and their heroine, Falco’s adopted daughter, Flavia Alba. Chaired by Oliver Johnson.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Saturday Day Pass

2.45pm: Criminal Minds: Hilary Bonner and Felix Francis
Hilary Bonner (The Cruellest Game) is a former showbiz journalist. Felix Francis (Refusal) is a former physics teacher and son of the jockey and thriller writer Dick Francis. What made them turn to crime? Chaired by Fanny Blake, books editor of Woman & Home.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Saturday Day Pass

2.45 pm: Britain’s Quest for a Role: Lord Hannay of Chiswick talks to Michael White
Former Ambassador to the EEC and Permanent Representative to the UN, David Hannay is one of the UK’s most distinguished diplomats. He says making a success of Britain’s EU membership is vital to the national interest. With Michael White of The Guardian.
St Michael & All Angels Church, Saturday Day Pass

4pm: Families, Secrets & Lies: Lesley Pearse and Dorothy Koomson
In their latest books, bestselling authors Lesley Pearse (Forgive Me) and Dorothy Koomson (The Ice-Cream Girls, The Rose Petal Beach) both look at secrets within families and the emotional fall-out they can cause. Chaired by Fanny Blake.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Saturday Day Pass

4pm: Taking Liberties with Jane Austen: Jo Baker and Emily Brand
In the bicentennial of Pride and Prejudice, authors Jo Baker (Longbourn) and Emily Brand (Mr Darcy’s Guide to Courtship) discuss Austen’s inspiration of each of their very different new books: below stairs at Longbourn and courtship advice from Mr Darcy, illuminating the lasting appeal of the characters, society and settings created by one of Britain’s best loved authors. Chaired by Alison Barrow.
St Michael & All Angels Church, Saturday Day Pass

5.15pm: Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 - George Goodwin
On the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden - in September 1513 - George Goodwin’s new book, Fatal Rivalry, is the fascinating story of Henry VIII of England, James IV of Scotland, their Queens and the battle for Renaissance Britain.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Saturday Day Pass

5.15pm: Rula Lenska: My Autobiography
Born to Polish aristocrats, refugees from the Nazis and the Soviets, Rula Lenska found fame in the 1970s as ‘Q’ in the TV series Rock Follies. But her acting success in series such as Coronation Street, and on stage, was tempered by heartache when her celebrity marriage to Dennis Waterman turned sour. She tells her fascinating life story to Torin Douglas, director, Chiswick Book Festival.
St Michael & All Angels Church, Saturday Day Pass

Rula Lenska

6pm: Festival Anniversary Drinks Reception
A chance to celebrate the Fifth Chiswick Book Festival with authors who’ve appeared in previous years, and representatives of the three reading charities which continue to benefit.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall downstairs, admission free, drinks on sale

7pm: Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 - Sir Max Hastings
On the eve of the centenary of The Great War, historian and former war correspondent Max Hastings gives a magisterial account of the calamity that befell Europe in 1914, as it shifted from the glamour of the Edwardian era to the tragedy of total war.
St Michael & All Angels Church, £7

Max Hastings

Sunday September 15th 2013

11am: Cycling to the Ashes: London to Brisbane - Oli Broom
“Unfit and underprepared, I said goodbye to office life, my girlfriend and my family and pedalled out of Lord’s Cricket Ground.” Oli Broom’s account of his 14-month bike ride. “Rather marvellous” - Stephen Fry.
Tabard Theatre, Sunday Day Pass

12 noon: The Ashes: Cricket’s Greatest Rivalry - Simon Hughes
The cricket analyst Simon Hughes brings the 135-year history of this iconic fixture to life, describing the drama, atmosphere and social context of 10 gripping matches between England and Australia.
Tabard Theatre, Sunday Day Pass

12.15pm: Bedford Park and the Piccadilly Line
Two top writers explore this part of Chiswick. Bryan Appleyard’s novel, Bedford Park, was inspired by “one of the most extraordinary places in London” and the romance between WB Yeats and Maude Gonne. Peter York, another Bedford Park fan, has written The Blue Riband: The Piccadilly Line for Penguin and TFL, marking 150 years of the Underground.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Sunday Day Pass

1.30pm: A Humble Companion in Gin Lane: Scandal in Georgian England
Caricaturist and author Adrian Teal exposes the often debauched lives of real 18th century celebrities in his popular publication The Gin Lane Gazette, and Mrs Nellie Buzzard, A Humble Companion to HRH Princess Sophie, will appear with coachman Dick Morphew, by permission of their creator Laurie Graham who will also be on hand to assist the riotous proceedings. Supported by Hendrick’s Gin.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall, Sunday Day Pass

1.30pm: Understanding ebooks - for writers and readers
A workshop in which two flourishing ebook publishers - Diana Horner of and Martin Godleman of - unravel the mysteries of digital publishing, with questions from the audience.
St Michael’s Parish Hall downstairs, Sunday Day Pass

1.30pm to 4.15pm: Spies on Sunday - Marking 60 Years of James Bond
An afternoon celebrating the world of espionage in fact and fiction, with authors and Bond memorabilia. Our James Bond quiz-sheet is on sale all weekend – you could win a first edition of Thunderball. Supported by Fosters’ Bookshop and Orchards of London.

- 1.30pm: Secrets and Lies: George Blake and Bletchley Park
Two stories that changed the course of the 20th Century. With Roger Hermiston (Greatest Traitor: The Secret Lives of Agent George Blake) and Sinclair McKay (The Secret Listeners: Intercepting the German Codes for Bletchley Park). Ends 2.30pm
St Michael & All Angels Church, Sunday Day Pass

- 2.45pm: Ian Fleming’s Legacy: The New Generation
Kate Grimond, Ian Fleming’s niece and former chairman of Ian Fleming Publications, looks forward to William Boyd’s new Bond book, Solo. Plus Charles Cumming, whose latest bestseller A Foreign Country, is being filmed by Colin Firth; Alex Gerlis (The Best of Our Spies) on the rights and wrongs of fact-based fiction; and Chris Morgan-Jones (The Jackal’s Share). Ends 4.15pm
St Michael & All Angels Church, Sunday Day Pass

2.45pm: How we got published - three novelists discuss their paths to publication
Two years ago, Colette McBeth, Liesel Schwarz and Sally O’Reilly talked about writing courses at the Festival with author and lecturer Celia Brayfield. Today Colette (Precious Thing) has a two-book publishing deal for her dark crime thriller, Liesel (A Conspiracy of Alchemists) has a five-book deal for her steampunk series and Sally’s historical novel Dark Aemilia will be out in a few months, demonstrating everything she learned in researching her indispensable guide for new authors, How To Be A Writer. They discuss their progress with Celia and the audience.
St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall upstairs, Sunday Day Pass

Friday September 20th, 6pm: Elizabeth Buchan in Conversation.
Elizabeth Buchan, the Sunday Times critic and novelist (Daughters, Separate Beds and Revenge of The Middle Aged Woman) talks to Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival.
A Festival ‘Extra’ at Chiswick Library, £3.
Tickets are also available from Chiswick Library


Admission is by Saturday or Sunday Day Pass - £7 per day - excluding:
- Lucy Worsley at Chiswick House - £12
- Philip Kerr and Jane Thynne - £7
- James Bowen and Street Cat Bob - £5
- Sir Max Hastings - £7
- Children’s Day Pass for Saturday morning events - £3 (for adults and children 4+)

- Entry to the Poetry Competition Prize-giving and to the Festival Anniversary Drinks Reception is free.
- Tickets for most events will also be available on the door, unless already sold out.

Tickets available at:


August 17, 2013