The Hamstead & Highgate literary festival is now in its 5th year. I managed to catch a few events at last year and really enjoyed it so I thought I’d highlight some of the great things coming up this September. The festival takes place in Ivy House, London NW11 7SX and you can book online or call 020 8511 7900
Top authors and celebrities scheduled to appear include Ruby Wax, Nick Ross, Maggie O’Farrell, Tracy Chevalier, Sathnam Sanghera, Gill Hornby, Marcus Burkemann, Shelina Permalloo, Miles Jupp, Charlotte Mendelson, Mark Billingham, Countess of Carnarvon, Daisy Waugh, Kate Figes and Baroness Gillian Shephard, to name but a few.
Returning author Tracy Chevalier said; ‘Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival has the feeling of a local event, yet with national players. I am very pleased to be returning.’
Here is my pick of events:
Sunday 15th Sept:
Like Mother Like Daughter
Deborah and Lottie Moggach talk to John Crace
Deborah Moggach’s new book, Heartbreak Hotel is a warm, wise and funny romp in the Welsh countryside, which will appeal to the legions of fans who enjoyed the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Lottie Moggach’s Kiss Me First is a moving coming of age story hidden within a harrowing mystery. While Lottie explores a lot of dark territory-suicide, alienation, innocence betrayed–she has also written an unexpectedly warm-hearted novel.
Charlotte Mendelson talks to Claire Armitstead
In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family’s crushing expectations, traditions and un-English pride, she knows she must escape. But at Combe Abbey, an English public school, she realises she has made a terrible mistake. Man Booker nominee Charlotte Mendelson talks about her perfectly balanced observations of human nature captured in all its hideous glories to Guardian Books and News Editor, Claire Armitstead.
Monday 16th Sept
Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath & life before Ted
Andrew Wilson talks to Henry Kelly
Fifty years after her death, Andrew Wilson explores the life of Sylvia Plath before her marriage to Ted Hughes, in an intimate portrait of the brilliant and tragic literary enigma based on her early poems, letters and diaries. Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers and using previously unavailable archives and papers, this is the first book to focus on the early life of the twentieth century’s most popular and enduring female poet.
The Complexities of Motherhood and Family Life
Gill Hornby & Hilary Boyd talk to Lisa Jewell
Gill Hornby’s The Hive is wickedly funny, but is also a fascinating and subtle story about group politics and female friendship. In Hilary Boyd’s Tangled Lives a happily married woman in her early 50s, with three grown children, guards a dark secret. And in Lisa Jewell’s new novel, a tragedy tears a family apart but something happens that calls them back to The House They Grew Up In …
Mark Billingham & Robert Ryan
Complex individuals both alienate and inspire those around them. In the Sunday Times, best-selling author Billingham’s, The Dying Hours, Detective Tom Thorne, having stepped out of line once too often, is back in uniform and he hates it. Patronised and abused by his new colleagues, he is forced to investigate alone. In Robert Ryan’s new book Dead Man’s Land, Dr John Watson, Sherlock Holmes’ sidekick, is finally forced to take centre stage. Ryan’s Watson must for once step out of the shadows and into the limelight if he’s to solve the mystery behind inexplicable deaths.
This year the organisers, the London Jewish Cultural Centre in partnership with the Ham&High, have also added a Kidsfest on Sunday 15th September with a host of ‘kid for a quid’ events and activities designed to engage and entrance young readers from 6+.
Here’s my pick:.
Ruby Redfort and Other Friends
With Lauren Child
Kid For A Quid – £1
Adults – £5
Age range: all ages
Bestselling author Lauren Child talks about her latest creation – Ruby Redfort, the thirteen year-old, super smart secret agent who is always cool in a crisis, as well as some of her other favourite characters, including Charlie and Lola as well as Clarice Bean.
Meet the producer and performers of both the stage and screen shows of Terry Deary’s much loved Horrible Histories. Hear how these stories are brought to life; the challenges of turning facts into fun and the different techniques used in adapting them for screen and stage.
Judith Kerr’s Creatures
Judith Kerr celebrates her life & work with Julia Eccleshare, tea & jam sandwiches!
Kid For A Quid – £1
Adults – £10
Age range: 8+
In celebration of her 90th birthday, Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and many other iconic books, talks about her life and work with Guardian children’s book editor, Julia Eccleshare.
Through her lavishly illustrated new retrospective, Judith tells her own story, and of the ‘creatures’, that spring to life from the pages of her books.
All of that and loads of creative writing workshops to boot. If you live in London I highly recommend it. Visit the website here.
Thanks to Sara Miller at the LJCC