Victoria Hislop will be at Guildford Book Festival
Authors announced for Guildford Book Festival
A sparkling programme is promised for the 2014 Guildford Book Festival (12-19 October), as the premier literary event in the South of England celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Organisers have announced the initial list of names for the event, which includes best-selling authors John Boyne, Louise Doughty, Sophie Hannah and Freya North, TV presenter and book club champion Richard Madeley, crime writer Isabelle Grey and actress Sheila Hancock with her debut novel, Miss Carter’s War.
The impressive line-up also includes Penny Junor, who will divulge the stories behind the headlines in her new biography of Prince Harry; one of Britain’s greatest comedians Paul Merton, renowned for his witty repartee; a literary lunch with Victoria Hislop, and Sunday Times reporter Christina Lamb, who will tell the inspirational story of Malala, whose courage in the face of the Taliban and determination that girls should have the right to education has made her a heroine throughout the world.
The First World War will be commemorated in a series of sessions which explore the experiences of those engaged in battle, as well as the challenges faced by those left behind at home. Richard van Emden gives a gripping and graphic depiction of life at the front-line, with first-hand accounts by the ‘Tommies’ including letters and photographs that will, for the first time, feature in an exhibition at the Lewis Elton Gallery to coincide with the Festival.
Women writing about war is an important theme of this year’s Festival. Kate Adie examines the social turbulence and changes in attitude which helped transform the role of women in Britain in Fighting on the Home Front, while Esther Freud, Anna Hope and Adele Parks each give their own insights into how they have responded to the Great War in their novels.
War also features in the session ‘Spying and Seduction’, a discussion led by Fanny Blake with novelists Elizabeth Buchan and Jane Thynne, which looks at tales of intrigue from the Second World War that have inspired their latest works. Continuing the espionage theme, James Bond fans will enjoy Matthew Parker’s story of Ian Fleming’s time in Jamaica, and Matthew Pritchard, grandson of Agatha Christie, will join Sophie Hannah to discuss the international best-selling author’s new Hercule Poirot novel.
Hannah Ellis will present a session about her grandfather, Dylan Thomas, in celebration of the great poet’s centenary year, and fans of Jennifer Worth’s Midwife series will enjoy Letters to the Midwife, a collection of correspondence to Jennifer, with insights by her husband and daughter Philip Worth and Suzannah Hart.
Historical events are to be examined by Charles Spencer, who explores the aftermath of the Restoration, which brought retribution for those who had signed Charles I’s death warrant – the Killers of the King - while Irving Finkel explains the fascinating story of how he decoded the ancient story of the Flood from an Assyrian tablet in his session The Ark before Noah.
Historical fiction is to the fore with Suzannah Dunn and Elizabeth Freemantle’s tales from the Tudor court, Jo Baker’s look at life below stairs in Jane Austen’s times and the latest instalment from James Heneage’s series set in the Byzantine Empire, The Towers of Samarcand.Lovers of romantic fiction will be able to hear from top authors Sue Moorcroft, Chrissie Manby, Judy Astley and Carole Matthews in the ‘Truly Madly Deeply’ session. Also sessions with Ali Harris and Paige Toon who will discuss their latest books in the genre.
Laura Bates, founder of the hugely popular Everyday Sexism Project, will talk about how #shoutingback has inspired a worldwide movement to give women a voice.
For family historians, the programme includes a ‘must see’ session with David McKie’s explanation of What’s in a Surname.
Interactive events include a workshop on how to get published, by the editor of the Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book, Alysoun Owen, while booklovers can share their enthusiasm for the written word with authors on Readers’ Day, finding out what inspires top novelists, discovering new works, and meeting literary heroes in small break-out groups.
Children will have their own lively programme of events, which will include Steven Butler with more mischief from an old favourite, Dennis the Menace.
Commenting, Jim Parks, Guildford Book Festival Creative Director, said: “I am very excited to tease a few fabulous highlights from the 25th Anniversary of Guildford Book Festival line-up. This is the tip of a wonderful iceberg of delights for readers of all ages and interests. Book lovers will once again be entertained, challenged, stimulated and inspired by the literary delights coming to town in October."
Advance tickets for select events will go on sale mid-July at guildfordbookfestival.co.uk or from box offices at Guildford’s Tourist Information Centre and Electric Theatre. See website for more information and for latest updates.