Wrtiers Take on Chiswick Book Festival's 'Two Minute Challenge'

Local authors will pitch their works to an audience in the George IV

Local writers go head-to-head in the Boston Room
Local writers go head-to-head in the Boston Room

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August 13, 2023

21 local authors are limbering up for the Chiswick Book Festival’s annual ‘Two Minute Challenge’. They will be ‘selling’ their books to a packed audience in the Boston Room at the George IV pub before a loud blast on a horn tells them their time is up! The event takes place on Wednesday 6 September and tickets are on sale here.

The Festival’s programme director, Jo James, who comperes the event, says “The Local Authors Showcase is a fast-paced, fun and fascinating evening, with a great range of speakers of all ages and backgrounds, from first-time novelists to well-established authors.”

This year’s speakers include the former BBC journalist Alex Gerlis (Agent in the Shadows), who has published eleven spy thrillers and sold more than half a million copies, and Mary Chamberlain, who was the first author to be published by Virago: she is Emeritus Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University and her latest novel is The Lie.

Joining them are: Elizabeth Loudon, who has just published her first novel, A Stranger in Baghdad, after a career as a teacher and charity development consultant; Louise Burfit-Dons, who returns with her fourth thriller, Our Man in Kuwait; and several authors of historical fiction: Brian Clewly Johnson’s fifth book is Everything Goes, a novel set in the Far East in World War II; Annette (AR) Duckworth’s The Napoleon of Egypt, about the Pharoah Tutmose III, is a follow-up to her novel The King and her Children; and Chris Lethbridge, a TV documentary maker, has written The Redemption of William Wynne, based on the real-life story of the Royal Engraver to King George III, a historical novel set in the louche art world of 18th Century London and Paris with scenes in Chiswick, Hammersmith and Feltham.

In non-fiction, BBC journalist Dougal Shaw’s CEO Secrets is based on interviews he conducted for BBC Business; Stein Ringen has written The Story of Scandinavia: from Vikings to the Welfare State; Bob Osborne’s book is Zennor Spirit of Place; and James Thellusson has gathered lots of school stories in School’s Out: Truants, Troublemakers and Teachers’ Pets.

There are several ‘how to’ books: former BBC News presenter Rachel Schofield has written The Career Change Guide: Five Steps to Finding Your Dream Job; Patrick Tucker has published the latest edition of Secrets of Screen Acting; Alan Kelly has tips for publishing your own books in Books To Be Written; and Sara Ward of Hen Corner is Living the Good Life in the City.

There are also several books for children: What’s New, Harper Drew? by Kathy Weeks; Rawry’s Missing Tooth by Corina Stanescu; What Football Job Can You Do?, the latest careers advice book by Emma Juhasz; and Zoe Antoniades returns with the latest in her Cally and Jimmy series.

Criminologist and bridge player Helen Erichsen grew up in Chiswick and her debut crime novel Murder by Natural Causes reflects all these experiences. By contrast, Donna Freed grew up in the United States and her book, Duplicity: My Mother’s Secrets, is about real life crime – she discovered she was the daughter of notorious con artists in one of the biggest true crime stories to grip America in the 1960s.

All the authors’ books are for sale on the evening, either through James Barber’s team at Waterstones Chiswick or from the authors themselves.

To book tickets for any other Chiswick Book Festival events click here.

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