Star Line up for the Chiswick Book Festival

Names include Michael Morpurgo, Andy McNab and Vanessa Redgrave


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The 2011 Chiswick Book Festival is less than a month away, and Britain's literary stars are lining up to take part. The third Festival will take place from 16 -18 September, giving visitors the chance to rub shoulders with bestselling authors, academics, laureates and TV & social media personalities.

Speakers include Michael Morpurgo, Andy McNab, Vanessa Redgrave, Kate Mosse, Isla Blair, Lucy Worsley, Katie Fforde, Daisy Goodwin, Rosamund Lupton, Emma Kennedy, Brian Moses, Graham Holderness, Fiona Neill, a team of Private Eye writers and more.

Michael Morpurgo, one of Britain’s best-loved children’s writers, will tell how his First World War novel, Warhorse, was turned into a hit play and a forthcoming film directed by Steven Spielberg. And ex-SAS Gulf War hero Andy McNab, author of Bravo Two Zero, will talk about War Torn, his new novel about war in the 21st century.

Kate Mosse, founder of the Orange Prize and author of the best-selling Labyrinth, will talk about writing for the page and the stage. And the chair of last year’s Orange Prize jury, author and TV presenter Daisy Goodwin, will discuss how Facebook and Twitter are changing the relationship between writers and their readers.

Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Queen Elizabeth I in the new film Anonymous, will discuss Who Was William Shakespeare? with Professor Graham Holderness, author of The Nine Lives of William Shakespeare.

Another actress, Isla Blair, will talk about her acclaimed new autobiography, A Tiger’s Wedding, with her son, fellow-actor Jamie Glover.

There are two sessions on women’s fiction with Katie Fforde, president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Kate Lace, Elizabeth Noble and Fiona Neill, who writes the Times column The Secret Life of A Slummy Mummy.

Victorian murder novels will be discussed by Kate Summerscale, who wrote The Suspicions of Mr Whicher which was televised by ITV, and Kate Colquhoun, whose book Mr Brigg’s Hat is about the first murder on a train.

On the 50th anniversary of Private Eye, four of its writers will talk about what makes us laugh, in print and TV shows such as Dead Ringers. And there's a creative writing session on how to be a 21st ccentury writer, led by novelist and lecturer Celia Brayfield, founder of W4Writers.

There’ll be a special pre-festival event at Chiswick House, with Dr Lucy Worsley. The popular TV historian and curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, will discuss her latest book and accompanying BBC TV series, If Walls Could Talk. Other historians speaking at the Festival include Helen Castor, Tracy Borman, George Goodwin and Mathew Lyons.

Actor Paul Slack will appear as DH Lawrence looking back on his early life, in his acclaimed one-man show, Phoenix Rising: DH Lawrence, Son and Lover. Sir Derek Jacobi called it “totally absorbing” and Sir Ian Holm said it was “spellbinding”.

At the Children’s Festival, actress, writer and comedian Emma Kennedy will read from her latest book about Wilma Tenderfoot - small, accident-prone assistant to the greatest living detective, Theodore P. Goodman. And one of the most popular children’s poets Brian Moses, will play drums to emphasise the rhythm of poetry in a session called The Alternative 3 Rs: Rhyme, Rhythm and Rap.

The winning entries in the Festival’s Young People’s Poetry Competition will be read and discussed at a poetry-writing workshop with top English teachers.

The full programme is now published at Events take place at St Michael & All Angels Church and the Tabard Theatre, by Turnham Green tube station. Tickets can be ordered now via the Advance Booking Form, and can be bought in person from Waterstone’s in Chiswick High Road from early September.

The Chiswick Book Festival is a non-profit-making, community event. Over the past two years, it has raised over £11,000 for the three chosen charities, all of which support reading, literacy and the arts.

This year Chiswick Book Festival is running a Young People’s Poetry competition for children and teens aged 8 to 13 years.

The Competition is free and open to young people aged between 8-13 years on the closing date 31st August 2011. See for details and entry forms.


August 20, 2011