The Hungerford Literary Festival will be held on 13-15 October 2017 featuring a portfolio of events on the theme of journeys.
The festival is in its sixth year and it has become an established fixture in Hungerford’s calendar; providing a ‘live library’ of events throughout the town and showcasing different genres and authors.
2017 will be the first year that the festival will revolve around a main theme – journeys. It has provided plenty of inspiration for the Arts for Hungerford committee and we hope you enjoy the results!
In the spirit of our theme Arts for Hungerford are running a writing competition with a category for children and for adults. The adult competition (sponsored by Fare Wise Travel) will be judged by Nick Hunt (author of ‘Walking the Woods and the Water: In the Footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor’). Nick will be at this year’s festival talking about his latest book ‘Where the Wild Winds Are’.
Adults are asked to write a piece inspired by a quote from Patrick Leigh Fermor’s ‘A Time of Gifts’. You can submit poetry or prose and entries should be inspired loosely by our chosen quote – your written piece could be about change, meeting new people, crossing physical or metaphysical borders or inspired by sounds from a landscape….or something else entirely. There are £50 worth of book tokens to be won!
Children are asked to tell us about their adventure – imaginary or otherwise. This category is judged by Deborah Patterson, local author of the fantastic ‘Write Your Own’ series. Deborah will be leading a workshop during the festival too. Kids can win £25 worth of book tokens.
So, do pick up a leaflet for the writing competition from the bookshop or download the flyers here (click on the category you would like to enter). Deadline is August 14th, so get writing!
Tuesday July 11th, 7.30pm in The Hungerford Bookshop
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
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
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
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).
Thursday 15th June, 7.30pm in Hungerford Town Hall
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 Sunday, The 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 Sunday, The 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.
Thursday May 25th, 7:30pm in Hungerford Town Hall
To celebrate the release of Henry Hemming’s latest book ‘M’ Maxwell Knight: MI5’s Greatest Spymaster’, the author will be giving a talk about two remarkable female spies and the man who ran them: an animal-loving drop-out who went on to become MI5’s greatest spymaster.
The author will focus on a single thrilling episode. In the course of the talk the audience will get to know MI5’s Maxwell Knight – a complex, conflicted character and an inspiration for the James Bond ‘M’ as well as John Le Carré’s Jack Brotherhood in A Perfect Spy; learn about M’s remarkable agent Olga Gray, a typist with a troubled past and the extraordinary ability to cope with the pressure of leading a double life; find out the name of M’s second female agent, ‘M/2’, which has never been revealed by MI5; and finally, get a taste of what it was like to work for M by participating in a few games, designed to find out how observant you really are.
‘Fascinating… Hemming has done a superb job’
Ben Macintyre, The Times
‘Excellent… Fluently written and highly entertaining’
Max Hastings, The Sunday Times
‘Hemming delivers a read worthy of Le Carré himself’
The Daily Express
Tickets £6 from The Hungerford Bookshop (includes a glass of wine, and £5 off the book on the night) – call 01488 683480 – or buy on-line now
Wednesday April 12th, 8pm at The Croft Hall:
Joanna Trollope has been writing for over thirty years and is well known for her enormously successful contemporary works of fiction. She has been described as one of the most insightful chroniclers and social commenters writing fiction today.
The Hungerford Bookshop is delighted to welcome back the author who will be talking about her newly published novel ‘City of Friends’ before taking questions from the audience and signing copies.
About the book:
She glanced at her phone again. There were appeals from the girls, from her colleagues, a text from Steve reading with uncharacteristic imperiousness, ‘Call me.’ She couldn’t.
She couldn’t call anyone …She leaned forward, gripping the edge of the bench, and stared at the ground. God, she thought, am I losing my mind? Is this what happens when you lose your job? The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or at least, the only life she’d ever known.
For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London? As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new – one without professional achievements or meetings, but instead, long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home – she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby. The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives, and for all the happiness and heartbreaks in between.
But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey’s redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits …
Tickets £6 (includes a glass of wine and money off the book on the night). Buy from the bookshop (01488 683480) or here.
February 21st, 7:30pm in Hungerford Bookshop:
Local author Nicola Cornick will be talking about her latest novel ‘The Phantom Tree’ in The Hungerford Bookshop. Her book is inspired by the story of Mary Seymour (b. 1548) – she disappeared from historical record in 1550 which has led to much speculation about her life – and death. In ‘The Phantom Tree’ Nicola Cornick takes the known facts of Mary’s life and weaves them in to a broader framework of the history of the Seymour family. In the novel Middlecote house is in fact Littlecote House near Chilton Foliat, and the inspiration for the Fenners family was the Darrells, cousins to the Seymours.
A National Trust guide at Ashdowne House (where her last novel was based) her passion for history shines through in her books and in the way she talks. Her last event in the bookshop was full capacity so booking early is recommended.
Tickets £5 (includes a glass of wine and £1 off the book on the night) from The Hungerford Bookshop (01488 683480) or on-line here
February 10th, 7:30pm in Hungerford Bookshop:
Poetry in the bookshop is back. Set in an informal and cosy atmosphere amongst books with plenty of wine on hand, this is an opportunity to read aloud your poem to others in a friendly environment.
The evening will start with guest poet Anita Campbell who has attended many poetry evenings and has just published ‘Walking Through a Green Lane’. She will be reading three of her poems from her book before handing the evening over to others. Bring one to two poems. Emma will pop your name on a list as you come in to create a running order.
These evenings are great for presenting an eclectic mix of verse. You don’t have to be very experienced to join in, there’s no microphone or bright lights – just poetry shared amongst other enthusiasts.
Tickets £4 from The Hungerford Bookshop. Pop in or call 01488 683480; or buy on-line here
This is a memoir of love, loss, motherhood, sex and danger. Broadcaster, writer and journalist Clover Stroud says:
“I had a very unconventional and very happy childhood in Wiltshire, which ended in the most violent way when my mother suffered fell from her horse out riding and was left horrifically brain damaged. This early experience of loss and trauma has informed everything I have done since then.
Mum’s accident sent me out into the world on a journey that took me to the brink of self destruction, where I sought wild experiences in the form of wild horses, sex, narcotics and wild men. The book is also about the devastating power of nature to destroy and heal, and I hope that my five children will not be alarmed by it.”
Travelling from gypsy camps in Ireland, to the rodeos of west Texas and then to Russia’s war-torn Caucasus, Clover eventually found her way back to England’s lyrical Vale of the White Horse.
The Wild Other is a grippingly honest account of love, loss, family and the healing strength of nature. Powerful and deeply emotional, this is the story of an extraordinary life lived at its fullest.
‘There is so much richly evoked life here…beautifully written.’ Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times
‘Beautifully written…I love this book.’ India Knight
‘Compelling and candid, deftly weaving together past and present…a heart-wrenching story told in haunting, lyrical prose.’ Tatler
Clover will be talking about her book to Lis Allen, before answering questions from the audience and signing copies of her book.