Record Audiences For Best Ever Chiswick Book Festival

Packed venues and enthusiastic feedback for all events

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Image - David Beresford

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This year’s Chiswick Book Festival has been hailed by organisers as the best ever, with record ticket sales, packed venues and enthusiastic feedback on social media.

“What a weekend!” tweeted one enthusiast.

“Thank you @W4BookFest for providing so much to think about, debate and discuss. Today #AN Wilson, @JohnTorode1, @vincecable”. You can see an overview from chiswickbuzztv here:


More than 300 book lovers flocked into St Michael & All Angels Church on Friday night to hear Sir Max Hastings talking about espionage in The Secret War. Over 200 were in the church on Sunday afternoon when Sir Vince Cable spoke, and more than 150 heard Mary Portas interviewed by Jane Garvey of Woman’s Hour on Saturday evening.

Image - Lawrence Brook

Similar numbers enjoyed the opening ‘Books and the Blitz’ session at Chiswick House and the talk by former Sky News diplomatic editor Tim Marshall on global politics. And the Tabard Theatre was full to capacity for a session on 'Breadline Britain, The Rise of Mass Poverty' by Stewart Lansley.

“It was a superb Book Festival” said Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angel, “measured by the crowds, the quality of the talks, the great atmosphere and the many positive feedbacks that we have had.

“There was a seriousness with which people engaged with the ideas and experiences which was very satisfying” he said “but many talks were also entertaining and fun. Chiswick is a richer place - in absolutely the right way - for having the Book Festival and the community it engenders.”

Pic - David Beresford

The festival marked the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland with an event for children, including stories, fancy dress and a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. And the 75th anniversary of the Blitz was commemorated by an exhibition ‘Chiswick, the Blitz and the V2’ which will be displayed at Chiswick House and Chiswick Library and in local schools.

A quiz based on literary anniversaries is on sale at the church for £1, with entries closing at the end of September. The prize is a special 150th anniversary edition of Alice in Wonderland.

“We had a great range of speakers and events this year and audiences really appreciated that” said the Festival director Torin Douglas. “On Sunday we went from the Rugby World Cup and the First World War in the Tabard Theatre, to music, cooking with John Torode and politics with Vince Cable in the church.

“And upstairs in the Parish Hall we had three Crime sessions, including Killer Women. All human life – and death – was here!”

As well as record ticket sales, the Festival attracted more sponsorship from local firms than ever before. Profits from the Festival will go to three reading charities: Doorstep Library, which brings books and reading into homes in deprived parts of London; RNIB Talking Books; and InterAct Stroke Support, which provides actors to read to stroke patients in Charing Cross Hospital.

September 15, 2015