Tickets Go on Sale for the Chiswick Book Festival

Star attractions include Ed Balls, Clare Balding and Gyles Brandreth

Ed Balls and Gyles Brandreth will be appearing at the Chiswick Book Festival
Ed Balls and Gyles Brandreth will be appearing at the Chiswick Book Festival

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Tickets are now available to purchase for the Chiswick Book Festival which is taking place in front of live audiences this September.

Last year’s event was held online but there will be a return to in person talks from leading authors.

This year’s speakers include Gyles Brandreth and Ed Balls, talking about their memoirs; Clare Balding on her first non-fiction book for children; Alan Johnson on his first novel; and, from New York, Emily Mortimer, who wrote the BBC’s adaptation of The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford, a former Chiswick resident.

In case of further changes in government coronavirus guidelines, the organisers have initially put on sale only half the potential tickets. They have also increased the number of venues, partly to reduce overcrowding. New venues this year include The Chiswick Cinema, Hogarth’s House, the University of West London in Ealing and the Boston Room of the George IV pub in Chiswick High Road, which will host sessions on the main Festival weekend as well as two pre-Festival events.

The Festival director Torin Douglas said,“We are delighted to welcome book-lovers in person after last year’s online festival, but we want to reassure people we are being cautious in terms of COVID advice. We’re only selling half the tickets to start with, and though we hope to add more, we’d encourage people to book early to avoid disappointment.”

As part of a weekend of events celebrating the anniversary of the first Chiswick Flower Market, Kate Teltscher will talk about Palace of Palms, her book about Kew Gardens, now out in paperback. It will take place at the George IV at 12 Noon on Saturday 4 September.

The George IV will also be the venue for this year’s Waterstones Local Authors Party on Tuesday 7 September, at which twenty local authors have just two minutes each to talk about their books.

On Wednesday 8 September, the Festival will join members of the Chiswickbuzz Book Club for a free Zoom discussion with Adam Andrusier, the author of Two Hitlers and a Marilyn.

The Festival opens formally on Thursday 9 September in the Garden Pavilion at Chiswick House & Gardens, with a panel session exploring the life and work of Nancy Mitford and her sisters. It will include an interview with Emily Mortimer, the writer and director of the BBC serialisation of The Pursuit of Love. It will be chaired by Jane Thynne (Widowland) and will include Jessica Fellowes, author of the Mitford Murders series, and Bridget Osborne, editor of The Chiswick Calendar, who will explore the Chiswick connections of Nancy Mitford and her sisters.

Panel discussion to be held on Nancy Mitford
Panel discussion to be held on Nancy Mitford

The prizes for the Festival's 11th Young People’s Poetry Competition will be presented by Clare Balding on the afternoon of Friday 10 September and she'll then talk about her new book for children, Fall Off, Get Back On, Keeping Going.

At 6.30pm, in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Theatre at Arts Ed, the Emmy-award-winning film, TV and theatre director Alvin Rakoff will talk about his memoirs, I’m Just The Guy Who Says Action. A Chiswick neighbour and friend of Richard Briers, Alvin has seen it all, from Z Cars and the BBC Shakespeare, and working with Laurence Olivier and Peter Sellers, to discovering Sean Connery and Alan Rickman.

At 8pm in St Michael & All Angels Church, political commentator Steve Richards talks about The Prime Ministers We Never Had - eleven individuals who never quite made it to Number 10, including RA Butler, Denis Healey, Michael Heseltine and Jeremy Corbyn.

The main Festival weekend, 11 and 12 September, features the memoirs of Brandreth and Balls, as well as non-fiction stories of prejudice; of life on the NHS front line; and of global politics and how to save the planet; from writers such as Mary Ann Sieghart, Tim Marshall, Sarfraz Manzoor, Parm Sandhu, Stuart Prebble, Dr Amir Khan, Dr Jim Down, Suzette Llewellyn, Suzanne Packer, Andrew Mitchell and Rowan Hooper.

There’s a feast of fiction from Charles Cumming, Nancy Tucker, Susan Spindler, Luan Goldie, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Peter Hanington, Elizabeth Buchan, Ellen Alpsten, Marika Cobbold, Samantha Norman, Mary Chamberlain, Gill Paul, Jane Thynne, Louise Candlish, Charlotte Philby and others.

Children’s authors include Rob Biddulph, Chitra Soundar, Josie Dom, Kim Ansell, Lisa Read, Zoe Antoniades, Dianne Hofmeyr, Joshua Seigal and Neil Zetter plus The Really Big Pants Theatre Company and a 75th birthday tribute to Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking. Read more about the Children’s Book Festival here.

In the new Weston Studio at Hogarth’s House, on Monday 13 September Jacqueline Riding talks about her major new biography of Chiswick’s most famous son, William Hogarth. She is interviewed by Val Bott, chair of the William Hogarth Trust.

Two events held at the University of West London focus on writers from Ealing. On Tuesday 14 September, Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC technology correspondent, recounts the liberation, disruption and oppression of the smartphone era in his book Always On – Hope and Fear in the Social Smartphone Era. On Wednesday 15 September, this year’s Ealing Fiction Panel includes Nicola Rayner, Robin Duval and Saz Vora, chaired by Lisa Evans.

The final event on Wednesday 15 September is a virtual wine tasting and discussion led by Victoria Daskal, focussing on some of the wines featured in A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles.

The Festival is a non-profit-making community event with proceeds going to St Michael & All Angels Church, which runs the event, and three charities: Doorstep Library, InterAct Stroke Support and The Felix Project.

It relies on the generosity of the authors and venue partners, who take no fee and dozens of volunteers, who deliver the Festival leaflets and help in many other ways, including stewarding and greeting ticket holders.


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August 5, 2021

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