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Autumn Book Festival News

Ever fancied a literary tour of Great Britain? Visit these autumn festivals and soak up the treats on offer at Budleigh Salterton (15-18 Sept), win tickets to Victoria Hislop at Henley Literary Festival (26 Sept-2 Oct), Jersey Festival of Words (28 Sept-2 Oct), Chiswick Book Festival (15-19 Sept) and Wigtown Book Festival (23 Sept-2 Oct).


Budleigh Salterton – 15-18 Sept

The line-up for this year’s Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, taking place from 15 – 18 September, has been revealed. The announcement unveils an impressive selection of well-known names from the worlds of literature, philosophy, politics, science, maths and history.


Returning to Budleigh will be much loved poet Jackie Kay MBE and Honorary President Dame Hilary Mantel DBE. They will be joined by new faces including historian Helen Rappaport, biographers Alexandra Harris and Juliet Nicolson, political journalists Peter Snowdon and Tom Bower and best-selling authors Mark Haddon and Deborah Moggach and Helen Dunmore.

Following David “Bumble” Lloyd’s popular event at last year’s festival, first-class retired cricketer Mike Brearley OBE will make an appearance, as will award-winning foreign correspondent Luke Harding and barrister and former Liberty director, Shami Chakrabati.

As well as the critically acclaimed authors’ events, this year’s festival will include all the usual activities, such as the marquee on the green, where attendees get a rare chance to have their books signed by the authors after their events. There will also be a wide selection of refreshments and live music throughout the four-day festival and a special Roald Dahl tent filled with fun activities to keep children entertained.

The opening event for the 8th annual festival will welcome historian Helen Rappaport in discussion about Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917 which tells the story of the first year of the Russian Revolution through eye-witness accounts.

Britain’s most famous Mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy OBE will discuss his most recent release What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge which takes readers on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest boundaries of modern science.

Returning to the festival for another year, will be double Man Booker Prize winner, author of Wolf Hall and the festival’s long-standing Honorary President, Dame Hilary Mantel DBE. Hilary will be performing a reading of her short story In a Right State, followed by a conversation about writing short stories.

Investigative journalist Tom Bower will dissect one of the 21st century’s most divisive politicians, Tony Blair. Whilst in discussion with the Observer’s Rachel Cooke, Bower will discuss his biography of Blair Broken Vows: Tony Blair: The Tragedy of Power, tracing Blair’s career to date from an historic election to post Iraq-war demise.

Bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Deborah Moggach, will talk about Something to Hide, a witty and wise novel about the unexpected twists that later life can bring. Jenny Balfour-Paul will deliver a visually rich and inspiring talk around her book Deeper than Indigo which traces the journey of forgotten Victorian explorer, Thomas Machell from his ancestral home in England to the Middle East and Asia.

Cultural historian and writer Alexandra Harris will discuss her latest book Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies on the inspiring role weather has played in our art and literature. Juliet Nicolson, granddaughter of the infamous diplomat Harold Nicolson and poet Vita Sackville-West, will be in conversation with Rachel Cooke about her family memoir A House Full of Daughters which traces 200 years and seven intriguing generations of her family tree.

First-class retired cricketer Mike Brearley OBE, will be in conversation about the 30th anniversary re-release of his seminal treatise on leadership and motivation, The Art of Captaincy: What Sport Teaches Us About Leadership.

An analysis of another well-known British politician will take place with historian and BBC journalist Peter Snowdon. Snowdon will be offering his critique of the first five years of Cameron’s premiership, Cameron at 10: The Inside Story 2010-2015 and his thoughts on the EU referendum.

Returning to the festival for her second visit is Scotland’s poet laureate and author of Red Dust Road, Trumpet, Fiere and The Adoption Papers, the multi-award winning Jackie Kay MBE who will discuss and read her work with Observer writer Rachel Cooke.

Bestselling social historian and author of Just my Type, To the Letter and On the Map, Simon Garfield will be in discussion about A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt, a collection of brilliant and incredible funny diaries kept by a kept by a Buckinghamshire bookseller between 1910 and 1986. Harry Parker & Peter Hanington appear in the festival’s ‘New Voices’ event, where they will discuss their experiences of combat, conflict and the aftermath of war in their acclaimed debut novels; Anatomy of a Solider and A Dying Breed.

Tahmima Anam, award-winning author of A Golden Age and The Good Muslim will appear at midday on the Saturday to discuss her newest release Bones of Grace. This book is the final in her Bengal trilogy, a sweeping love story set in the present day which explores migration, belonging, identity and climate change as her character’s traverse countries, continents and communities.

Award-winning foreign affairs correspondent Luke Harding and barrister and former director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabati. Chakrabati will discuss her book On Liberty and his excellent and timely new book, A Very Expensive Poison: The Definitive Story of the Murder of Litivenko and Russia’s War with the West.

Former journalist and editor Kate Summerscale will be in conversation with Erica Wagner about her latest book The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer which traces the shocking story of two young brothers who became an overnight sensation when they were found to have murdered their mother.

Multi award winning novelist and author of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon will talk about The Pier Falls, a collection of short stories demonstrating Haddon’s sinister imagination.

Helen Pearson will introduce her book, The Life Project, which documents the world’s longest-running study of human development, running from 1946 and encompassing five generations of children. Respected British Philosopher A.C. Grayling will discuss his latest release, The Age of Genius, which examines scientific developments throughout the 17th Century where intellectual thought moved from observation to evidence-based investigation.

Critically acclaimed author Artemis Cooper will present her biography of novelist, actress and model, the late Elizabeth Jane Howard. Cooper will discuss Howard’s colourful life on and off the page with Honorary Festival President Hilary Mantel, a good friend and admirer of Howard’s work.

Closing the festival will be award-winning author Helen Dunmore talking about her exceptional new novel Exposure. She will be in conversation with Erica Wagner about this masterful thriller which captures the mood, tension and the paranoia of the Cold War.

There will also be also be two workshops including Prose Fiction: Keeping it Real with Devon-based award winning author Virginia Baily and Poetry Workshop: Let your imagination flow with Professor Andy Brown, lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Exeter.

Tickets for Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival are available from 22nd July. For more information and to purchase tickets visit . Tickets can be booked in person or by phone from The Tourist Information Centre: 01395 445 275.

Follow the festival on Twitter @BudleighLitFest.



Cartes Postales from Greece at 6.30pm on 28 September



Michael Hesltine, Julian Clary, Alan Johnson, Carol Decker, Victoria Hislop and Susan Calman announced for the 10th Henley Literary Festival, in association with Baillie Gifford


Some of the UK’s most respected writers will be joined by top speakers from comedy, cookery, politics, music and more with over 150 events for adults and children at the 10th annual Henley Literary Festival this autumn.


Michael Heseltine, Nadiya Hussain, David Essex, Sara Pascoe and Jeremy Paxman are among the names joining bestselling novelists Robert Harris, Val McDermid, Sebastian Faulks, Fay Weldon and Victoria Hislop at the Henley Literary Festival in association with Baillie Gifford, which takes place at venues across Henley on Thames from September 26 to October 2.

Over 50 events for children and families include Lucy Worsley, Julian Clary, One Show reporter Mike Dilger and Tiger Who Came To Tea creator Judith Kerr, as well as special Harry Potter and Roald Dahl events.

In addition to Lord Heseltine, who served as Henley’s MP for almost three decades, political speakers include Alan Johnson, David Laws, Anne Widdecombe, Ken Livingstone and Margaret Hodge. From the world of entertainment, comedians Sara Pascoe, Ben Miller, Gyles Brandreth and Susan Calman are joined by David Essex, guitarist Wilko Johnson, T’Pau star Carol Decker and actress Eleanor Bron. Debut novelists include Kit de Waal, Harry Parker, Fiona Barton and Abir Mukherjee, while Miniaturist author Jessie Burton discusses her second book.

Guardian editor-at-large Gary Younge, Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates, Daily Mail columnist Bel Mooney and Terry Waite will be taking a look at current events, while Tracy Borman, Ben Macintyre, Liam Byrne and David Owen will cover history. On the food front Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya is on the line-up alongside Tom Parker-Bowles and Prue Leith, while broadcasters Alan Titchmarsh, Woman’s Hour host Jenni Murray, Ben Fogle and the Reverend Richard Coles will all discuss their latest books.

A nationwide short story competition, with adult and child categories, is being held in partnership with Dragonfly Tea, with judges including Floella Benjamin, Helen Lederer, Hugless Douglas creator David Melling, Irenosen Okojie and Daily Mail literary editor Sandra Parsons. The winners will be revealed at a special ceremony on the final day of the Festival, which will also see a series of creative writing workshops held at Henley’s Hotel du Vin.

9781472223203Venues for the tenth festival include the historic Kenton Theatre, Fawley Court, Henley Town Hall and a boat on the Thames. Tickets go on general sale from July 18 at

Click here to enter our free prize draw: we have a pair of tickets to give away to hear Victoria Hislop on Wednesday 28 September at 6.30pm. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash and does not include transport or accommodation.

Draw closes on 29 August 2016. The winners will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 2 September 2016.


JERSEY FESTIVAL OF WORDS – 28 September-2 October


INTERNATIONAL best-selling authors Victoria Hislop and Louis de Bernières have been added to the line-up for the second Jersey Festival of Words.

The full programme will also feature leading writers from a range of genres, including former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo, historian Alison Weir, novelists Louise Doughty and Simon Scarrow and journalist Cathy Rentzenbrink, whose memoir The Last Act of Love recently topped national sales lists.


Victoria Hislop’s first novel The Island, held the number one slot in the Sunday Times paperback charts for eight weeks and has sold more than two million copies worldwide. Since then she has written numerous bestsellers and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages. She will appear at the festival to discuss her new novel Cartes Postales from Greece, a compelling family saga due for publication this September.

Louis de Bernières, best known as the author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best Book in 1995 and was adapted into a popular film starring Nicholas Cage, will be joined on stage by Jersey’s culture minister Murray Norton for a discussion of his numerous books, life and writing.

Sponsored by Le Gallais, popular blogger Sarah Turner, better known as The Unmumsy Mum, will also be at the festival, which runs from Wednesday 28 September to Sunday 2 October at venues including Jersey Opera House and Jersey Arts Centre.

So too will acclaimed performance poet Jo Bell, the former Canals Laureate, and science fiction and fantasy legend Michael Moorcock, in Skype conversation at Jersey Library with his biographer, Jeff Gardiner.

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural Jersey Festival of Words, when thousands of Island children and young adults had the chance to experience top authors at close quarters, there will once again be an extensive schools programme offering free tickets to all schools across Jersey.

Sponsored by the One Foundation, it will feature the entertaining performance poet and writer A.F.Harrold, Jim Smith, author of the Barry Loser series, Chris Bradford’s spectacular Young Samurai and Young Bodyguard shows and, for young adults, William Sutcliffe and Eugene Lambert.

Social issues under the spotlight will include prostitution, with a presentation by Kay Banyard, author of The Pimp State; and freedom of speech, in a collaboration with the Jersey Evening Post which will feature a talk by Mick Hume, author of Trigger Warning, and a lively panel discussion.

Historian Andrew Lownie will discuss his new biography of Soviet spy Guy Burgess while contemporary Russia will be explored by Oliver Bullough, author of The Last Man in Russia.

As well as bringing literary celebrities to the Island and contributing to the development of event-led tourism, Jersey Festival of Words aims to celebrate and encourage home-grown creative writing, some by Islanders already making their mark nationally such as performance poet Christian Foley, novelist John Samuel and the irrepressible Story Beast, John Henry Falle.

Jenny Lecoat will talk about scripting Another Mother’s Son, the forthcoming cinema release about the Jersey Occupation heroism of her great-aunt, Louisa Gould.

Great war historian Ian Ronayne will explore the part played by Jersey soldiers in the Battle of Guillemont, 100 years ago, and journalist Chris Stone will discuss his book, Dangerous Driving, written with one of the Island’s last Normandy veterans, Bill Reynolds.

Elsewhere, Jersey Heritage will feature in presentations on Lillie Langtry by writer and director Tessa Coleman, and Elinor Glyn, the scandalous Jersey-born literary superstar of the early century, whose life has been fictionalised by Paul Darroch. The best-selling Jersey Legends by Erren Michaels will also feature, as will Jersey poet Nicky Mesch’s new collection, Ice Bound.

Jersey Festival of Words will once again include support for the Island’s own language, Jèrriais, including a performance by Badlabecques at a unique literary cabaret night featuring both local and visiting writers and musicians, to be directed by the Jersey Arts Centre’s Daniel Austin.

And aspiring authors have a chance to display and develop their skills through the Jersey Evening Post Writing Competition, run in association with the festival.

As this year marks the 400th anniversary since the death of England’s greatest writer, Jersey’s own team of talented playwrights – Plays Rough, will be presenting an exciting and varied set of short plays based on their unique interpretation of Shakespeare. ‘Plays Ruff at the Castle: Inglorious Bardsters’ will open the 2016 literary festival on the evening of Wednesday, 28th September, at Mont Orgueil.


Jersey Festival of Words chairman Jennifer Bridge said: ‘In our second festival, we continue to celebrate the joy and importance of reading in all its forms in the setting of our beautiful island with its distinctive and inspiring heritage.’

To book an Early Bird Festival Pass (available till end July) please visit For further information and the full line up visit:


Chiswick Book Festival 15-19 September


Top comedy writers and performers will bring a fresh look to the 8th Chiswick Book Festival, alongside many of Britain’s best-loved novelists, non-fiction writers and children’s authors. Andy Hamilton, Shappi Khorsandi and Mark Watson will talk about their new novels, while the creators of the best-selling ‘Ladybirds for Grown-Ups‘ series, Joel Morris and Jason Hazely, will preview their latest ‘How To…’ books due out this autumn.


Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Cressida Cowell head the Children’s Book Festival line-up, talking about their bestsellers and introducing their latest books. Children will also be entertained by Jonathan Meres (World of Norm), Rob Biddulph (Odd Dog Out) and the Really Big Pants Theatre Company.

In a feast of crime writing, Paula Hawkins and SJ Watson will describe the process of turning their best-selling novels The Girl On The Train and Before I Go To Sleep into blockbuster films. And Jill Dawson and Sophie Hannah will debate who deserves the title the Queen of Crime: Agatha Christie or Patricia Highsmith?

Spy writer Charles Cumming will analyse what makes a great thriller with former Radio 4 Today producer Peter Hanington, whose first novel has received rave reviews. Nina Stibbe and Cathy Rentzenbrink will discuss what makes a great memoir with Sali Hughes.

Queen Victoria’s biographer AN Wilson will talk about ‘Victoria in Fact & Fiction’ with Daisy Goodwin, who has written ITV’s major new drama series about the young Queen. The centenary of the Battle of the Somme will be marked by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, author of Somme: Into The Breach. Historian Rebecca Rideal will remember 1666, a watershed year for England, 350 years after the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London. And novelists Jane Thynne and James MacManus will talk about Berlin in the fateful year 1939, on the eve of World War II.

Other non-fiction highlights include Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson marking 40 years of the Pocket Book of WineFlags, Tim Marshall’s follow-up to his bestseller Prisoners of Geography; a Foodies Question Time; and a panel on Britain, Brexit and Beyond, with Hilary Benn MP, former shadow foreign secretary, Sonia Purnell (Boris) and parliamentary sketch writer John Crace.

Among the novelists, Victoria Hislop will talk to Jane Garvey of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour about her new book; Janet Ellis will discuss her debut novel with Joanna Cannon and Barney Norris, whose first works have also been acclaimed by critics; Mark Lawson will talk to Andy Hamilton about their new novels; and Santa Montefiore and four other bestselling authors will take part in Books In The City: Girls on Tour, a relaxed event with a glass of bubbles for Saturday evening!

All this and much more will take place at the 8th Chiswick Book Festival from September 15 to 19, 2016, in a variety of venues close to Turnham Green tube station on the District Line. The Festival is a non-profit-making community event, raising money for reading-related charities and St Michael & All Angels Church, which organises the Festival.

The full programme is published at the end of July, when tickets go on sale at You can follow updates and join in the conversation on Twitter @W4BookFest #ChiswickBookFest.


WIGTOWN BOOK FESTIVAL 23 September-2 October

Every autumn thousands of people descend on a small town in Dumfries and Galloway to experience Scotland’s greatest literary party.


Now in its 18th year, the award-winning festival has more than 240 events and activities for all ages across its 10 days, including 35 especially for the 0-12 age group and a dedicated young people’s festival for 13-25s. It has featured many of our most loved children’s authors from Scotland and beyond and this year includes Vivian French, Chae Strathie, Theresa Breslin, Debi Gliori, Philip Ardagh and many more. There are storytelling sessions, workshops and play activities for children, as well as panel debates, dinners and arts events to entertain and inspire the adults.

A host of leading authors (still to be announced) are attending this year’s festival, but here are a few highlights:

Lisa Owens: Not Working

Claire Flannery has quit her job in order to discover her true vocation – only to realise she has no idea how to go about finding it, while all around her seem to have their lives entirely under control. Moving and hilarious, Lisa Owens’ debut novel is a Bridget Jones’s Diary for the 21st century.


Chitra Ramaswamy: Expecting

When Chitra Ramaswamy discovered she was having a baby, she longed for a book that did more than describe what was happening in her growing body. In Expecting, she has written it, a brilliant portrait of a pregnancy that sets her own experience beside that of writers and artists, from Mary Shelley to Sylvia Plath.


Anne Strathie: From Ice Floes to Battlefields: Scott’s “Antarctics” in the First World War

What happened to the surviving members of Captain Scott’s mission to the South Pole? Anne Strathie talks about her fascinating group biography, which follows them through the first world war, from the trenches of the Western Front and Gallipoli to Jutland and Arctic Russia. As in Antarctica, life is challenging and dangerous. As on the ice, not all survive.


Anna Pasternak: Lara

Despite the huge popularity of Dr Zhivago, the real-life love affair that inspired the novel has not been fully explored until now. Pasternak’s muse and the model for his heroine Lara, Olga Ivinskaya was twice sent to Siberia labour camps because she refused to betray her lover. Anna Pasternak – Boris’s great-niece – reveals a tale of almost unimaginable courage, suffering and loss.


Anne Barclay, Operational Director of Wigtown Festival Company, organises the children’s festival with input from parents, teachers and children. She says, “We’re really excited about all of the fantastic events we have planned for this year. We have a dedicated venue in Wigtown Primary School which will be decorated beyond recognition and has great facilities all in one place. We’re especially looking forward to our James and the Giant Peach reading den which has been made by local artist Julie Houston.”

As Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown offers the perfect space to explore fresh ideas for the whole family – just one reason why it has grown to become the biggest Scottish book festival outside the central belt. Come and join in and inspire our next generation of readers and writers.

Full programme launches in August, for information and tickets visit

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