Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves: Book Talk by Rachel Malik

Tuesday July 11th, 7.30pm in The Hungerford Bookshop

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As part of Hungerford Arts Festival Rachel Malik will be talking about her new novel – the start set locally in Sheepdrove Farm and Lambourn) over a glass of fizz in the bookshop.

A story of the land, friendship and of secret lives. When Rene Hargreaves is billeted to Starlight Farm as a Land Girl, far from the city where she grew up, she finds farmer Elsie Boston and her country ways strange at first. Yet over the days and months Rene and Elsie come to understand and depend on each other. Soon they can no longer imagine a life apart.

But a visitor from Rene’s past threatens the life they have built together, a life that has always kept others at a careful distance. Soon they are involved in a war of their own that endangers everything and will finally expose them to the nation’s press and the full force of the law.

Tickets £5 from Hungerford Bookshop (includes a glass of fizz and £3 off the book) – call 01488 683480 – or buy on-line now

A New Map of Love – Abi Oliver talks about her novel

Friday 30th June, 7.30pm at The Hungerford Bookshop

George Baxter has settled for a comfortable life, content as the years unfold predictably — until Win, his wife of twenty-six years, dies.

With his loyal dog Monty by his side, George throws himself into his work as an antiques dealer. His business is at the heart of the village and all sorts pass through the doors, each person in search of their own little piece of history.

When George meets local widow Sylvia Newsome, he imagines a different kind of future. But life has more revelations to offer him. Over the course of an English summer, George uncovers some unexpected mysteries from his past that could shape his tomorrows…

Tickets £5 (includes a glass of wine and £3 off the book on the night) call 01488 683480 – or buy on-line now


Paula Byrne & Helena Kelly: Jane Austen Weekend

Saturday 24th June at 10:30am in St Mary’s Church, Kintbury


Authors Paula Byrne and Helena Kelly will be talking about their books as part of ‘Jane Austen – the Kintbury Connection’: a weekend of events celebrating the writer’s association with the village.

We just don’t read her properly – we haven’t been reading her properly for 200 years. ‘Jane Austen, The Secret Radical’ puts that right.

In her first, brilliantly original book, Austen expert Helena Kelly introduces the reader to a passionate woman living in an age of revolution; to a writer who used what was regarded as the lightest of literary genres, the novel, to grapple with the weightiest of subjects – feminism, slavery, abuse, the treatment of the poor, the power of the Church, even evolution – at a time, and in a place, when to write about such things directly was seen as akin to treason.

Uncovering a radical, spirited and political engaged Austen, Jane Austen, The Secret Radical will encourage you to read Jane, all over again.

Paula Byrne, author of ‘The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things’ & ‘Kick: The Story of JFK’s Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth’ will be talking about her new book ‘The Genius of Jane Austen’, a book that explores why her books have been adapted so successfully into films.

Jane learned much of her art from a long tradition of English comic drama and took joyous participation in amateur theatricals. Her juvenilia, then Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice,Mansfield Park and Emma were shaped by the arts of theatrical comedy.

This book presents an Austen not of prim manners and genteel calm, but filled with wild comedy and outrageous behaviour.

Tickets are £8.50 from us. For the full line-up of events including an adaptation of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ by Gill Hornby please visit their website janeaustenatkintbury.co.uk

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The Otters’ Tale: Book Talk by Simon Cooper

Tuesday 20th June, 7.30pm at Hungerford Bookshop


Otters hold an almost unique place in the animal kingdom of the British Isles, being one of the very few creatures that give birth once every two years. They are the most secretive yet also the most popular mammals – they are found in every county but are so rarely seen that they have been raised to mythical status. When Simon Cooper bought an abandoned water mill that straddles a small chalkstream in southern England, little did he know that he would come to share the mill with a family of wild otters.

Yet move in they did, allowing him to begin to observe them, soon immersing himself in their daily routines and movements. He developed an extraordinary close relationship with the family, which in turn gave him a unique insight into the life of these fascinating creatures. Cooper interweaves the personal story of the female otter, Kuschta, with the natural history of the otter in the British Isles, only recently brought back from the brink of extinction through tireless conservation efforts.

Following in the footsteps of Henry Williamson’s classic 1920s tale Tarka the Otter, readers are taken on a journey through the calendar year, learning the most intimate detail of this most beautiful of British mammals. Cooper brings these beloved animals to life in all their wondrous complexity, revealing the previously hidden secrets of their lives in this beautifully told tale of the otter.

Tickets £6 (includes a glass of wine and £3 off the book on the night). Call 01488 683480 to reserve your place, pop in to see us, or buy on-line at Arts for Hungerford (no booking fee).

A Secret Sisterhood: Book Talk by Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney

Thursday 15th June, 7.30pm in Hungerford Town Hall

secret sisterhood

Emily Midorikawa & Emma Claire Sweeney explore the hidden friendships between Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot & Virginia Woolf.

A Secret Sisterhood (published June 1st) uncovers the hidden literary friendships of the world’s most respected female authors. Drawing on letters and diaries, some of which have never been published before, this book will reveal Jane Austen’s bond with a family servant, the amateur playwright Anne Sharp; how Charlotte Bronte was inspired by the daring feminist Mary Taylor; the transatlantic relationship between George Eliot and the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe; and the underlying erotic charge that lit the friendship of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield – a pair too often dismissed as bitter foes. In their first book together, Midorikawa and Sweeney resurrect these literary collaborations, which were sometimes illicit, scandalous and volatile; sometimes supportive, radical or inspiring; but always, until now, tantalisingly consigned to the shadows.

Emily Midorikawa lectures at City University and at New York University’s London campus. She has taught at the University of Cambridge and the Open University, as well as writing for the Daily Telegraph, the Independent on SundayThe Times, Aesthetica and Mslexia. Emily is the winner of the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2015.

Emma Claire Sweeney has lectured at City University, New York University in London, the Open University and the University of Cambridge.  She writes for newspapers and magazines such as the Guardian, the Independent on SundayThe Times, and Mslexia. Her debut novel Owl Song at Dawn was published by Legend Press in July 2016 to great acclaim.

Tickets £6 (includes a glass of wine and £5 off the book on the night). Buy from the bookshop in person or on-line.