Chiswick Book Festival Authors On Prize Long List

Three have been nominated for the Samuel Johnson award

Chiswick Events


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Three of the authors appearing at this year's Chiswick Book Festival have made the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize long list, it was announced today (2 September).

Helen Macdonald for H is for Hawk, Jessie Childs for God’s Traitors and Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead are on the fifteen-title longlist for the award which is for writers of non-fiction.

Helen Macdonald's memoir, H is for Hawk tells the story of how she tamed goshawk Mabel, which she bought for £800 after her father died.

Caroline Moorehead (above) wrote her book Village of Secrets about the experiences of Jewish children in Vichy France.

Jessie Childs looks at the predicament of Catholics in Elizabethan England in God's Traitors.

All three will be appearing on Saturday 13 September and can be seen for the price of a £10 day pass. The Festival, a non-profit community event, will be based at St. Michael and All Angels and runs from Thursday September 11th to Monday 15th 2014. Tickets are available from the Festival's official web site

Programme Highlights This Year Include:


• Festival launch at the Burlington Pavilion, Chiswick House by historian Simon Thurley (The Building of England), head of English Heritage,who was closely involved in the restoration of the house.

• A special session on Westminster and its history featuring Chris Bryant MP (Parliament: The Biography) and Edward Young (Disraeli: or Two Lives), chaired by Times Parliamentary sketch writer, Ann Treneman.

• A Salon with Harper’s Bazaar. Mrs Trefusis (aka Helen Brocklebank) brings the Harper’s Salon to Chiswick with an interview with internet sensation London Liberty Girl Sasha Wilkins about the Books that Built her and her forthcoming book, Friends Food Family: Recipes and Secrets from LibertyLondonGirl

• Atmospheric presentation by Nigel Pickford of Lady Bette: and the Murder of Mr Thynne at Syon House, where much of the book is set.

Children’s programme – Radio DJ Simon Mayo (Itch Craft) introduces his new book and afterwards presents the winners of the Chiswick Book Festival Poetry Prize. He is joined by local Chiswick children’s writers Marcus Alexander (Keeper of the Realms) and Christopher William Hill (Tales from Schwartzgarten). Before the prize presentation, storyteller and poet Oscar Kolkowski performs making use of poetry, myths and legends, he transports children's imaginations to magical worlds.

• Workshops on: Creative Writing and Getting Started on a Novel by Rachel Hore, author (A Place of Secrets, the Silent Tide) and tutor at University of East Anglia on Creative Writing. Also a session on E-books and self-publishing, and David Miller, editor of A Glimpse of truth, the 100 finest short stories, discusses this form of writing.

• Poetry is served – bring your favourite poem (max 24 lines) about food and drink to share with us and a panel of experts Robert Seatter (Writing King Kong), James Priestman of Pitshanger Poets, Agnieszka Studzinska (What Things Are) and Susan Stanley-Carroll of Pass the Poem.

• Andy Miller’s 10 step programme on curing oneself of bad reading habits – recently reviewed in The Times at the Green Man Festival as - "A hilarious self-help session about getting through difficult books". Andy, author of The Year of Reading Dangerously, also has a local connection as he was married by Fr Kevin of SMAA.


• Sunday Times best-seller Helen Macdonald speaks about her experiences training her Goshawk -Mabel - and the influence of TH White in H is for Hawk. (See above)

• Charles Spencer introduces his soon to be launched history of Charles I, The Killers of the King

• AN Wilson presents Victoria: A Life

• Psychologist Stephen Grosz talks to David Miller about how to live well, reflecting on his Sunday Times best-seller The Examined Life.

• Explorer David Hempleman –Adams, (above) the first person in history to reach the geographic North and South poles, as well as climbing the highest peaks in seven continents, talks about what drives him to achieve these extraordinary feats in No Such Thing as Failure.

• Jessie Childs (God’s Traitors) is joined by Professor Graham Holderness (Tales from Shakespeare, Nine Lives of William Shakespeare) to examine the Elizabethan period through the experiences of the defiant Vaux family, who battled to save Catholicism. Jessie is also on the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize ( see above)

• Journalist and former Chiswick resident, Bryony Gordon, writes about her twenties, a decade of chaos, in The Wrong Pair of Knickers, a book debunking many myths about the pleasures of being a single girl in London.

• A session on health and weight by Guardian Health editor Sarah Boseley (The Shape We’re In), Jane Michell (creator of the eponymous Jane Plan Diet), and chaired by health and fitness academic and expert Ann Elliott.

Toby Young (above) and Miranda Thomas (What Every Parent Needs to Know) talk about what parents need to know about primary schools in a session chaired by primary school Executive Head, Karen Bastick-Styles

• Session with award- winning writers and historians Paul Bailey (The Prince’s Boy), Oscar Coop-Thane (Zenith Hotel) and James MacManus (Black Venus) on using Paris as a backdrop for their work. Led by Anne Sebba, Chair of the Society of Authors.

• Katie Waldegrave’s book, The Poets’ Daughters brings Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge out of the shadows of anorexia, drugs addiction, depression and their fathers to demonstrate their own important legacies.

• Chiswick Library hosts novelists Elizabeth Speller (At Break of Day) and Juliet West (Before the Fall) on writing against the backdrop of WWI. Also festival sessions on true stories from heroines of WWII with Elisa Segrave (The Girl from Station X) and Caroline Moorehead (Village of Secrets and A Train in Winter)and fictional women in WWII with Elizabeth Buchan (I Can’t Begin to Tell You) and Jane Thynne (The Winter Garden). Caroline Moorehead is also on the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize ( see above).

• Writers Fanny Blake (With a Friend like You), Tamar Cohen (The Broken) and Veronica Henry (The Beach Hut Next Door) discuss families, friends and feuds in their fiction

• Historian Judith Flanders explores the history of home making over 500 years in The Making of Home

• Bibulous tales from wine writers Malcolm Gluck (A Life in Wine) Paul Keers and Charles Jennings (Sediment: Two Gentlemen and their Mid-Life Terroirs). Wine included.

• Sports Journalist Ross Biddescombe (Ryder Cup Revealed) tells stories about the nine decades of the Ryder Cup that have never been heard before. Tim Moore (Gironimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy) is interviewed by Jonathan Legard about his efforts to recreate personally, on a wooden bike made at home, the 1914 Giro when 81 competitors set off and only 8 made it back…

• Peter Oborne (Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan) details the triumph, tragedy, scandal and savagery in cricket in Pakistan since 1941, and finds hope for its cricketing future. Peter is a Chiswick resident and married to Martine Oborne, vicar of St Michael's in Elmwood Road.

Events take place in St Michaels and All Angels, Chiswick House, Chiswick Library, the Tabard Theatre, Syon House and Arts Educational School.


October 31, 2014