13 – 15 Oct – Arts For Hungerford – Literary Festival


Journey far and wide with Hungerford’s Literary Festival

Friday, 13 October to Sunday, 15 October 2017

A4H_LF_Journeys_Luggage_TagThis year’s Hungerford Literary Festival (a collaboration between the bookshop and Arts for Hungerford) runs from 13 to 15 October, and is inspired by the theme of Journeys.

Emma Milne-White who curates the festival and owns The Hungerford Bookshop says: “It’s been great fun developing the theme of ‘Journeys’. At a time when our world seems in such a state of flux it seemed an appropriate choice – and books, as we know, are a great way to discover other lives and experiences and help us understand the world in which we live.”

Martin Bell OBE, one of the outstanding reporters of our time, will open the festival with his latest book War and the Death of News, which draws upon his years as a soldier and journalist, as well as his experiences as an MP and a UNICEF ambassador. We look forward to a compelling talk, as Martin shares his personal account of war, and issues an impassioned plea to put the substance back into our news.

TomFortTom Fort takes us to more tranquil territory on Saturday morning. The travel writer and historian hopped on his bike to discover the essence of village life for The Village News: The Truth Behind England’s Rural Idyll. His journeys span more than six thousand years and, interspersed with historical analysis, we discover Tom’s personal memories of village life.

Children’s writer Debi Evans will be at the bookshop signing copies of Jewel Dog and the Dragons, with her dog that inspired her time-travelling series featuring the loveable Jack Russell, Rolo. Where will his new set of adventures take him?

Also joining the literary festival, will be Sunday Times writer Jonathan Dean as he traces his remarkable family history in I Must Belong Somewhere, which draws parallels between the thirties and present-day refugee crisis. Meanwhile crime novelist and railway historian, Andrew Martin, relives the golden age of sleeper trains by using modern-day equivalents (becoming embroiled in his very own ‘whodunit’ on the way).

In the main event on Saturday evening, Alastair Sawday, founder of the hugely ASawdaysuccessful Sawdays Guides, will talk about his travel experiences and encounters with remarkable, and often eccentric, guests and hotel owners as depicted in his hugely enjoyable memoir Travelling Light. Ticket-holders will be able to book supper beforehand, cooked by The Wheatsheaf in Chilton Foliat, recent winners of Sawdays Local, Seasonal & Organic Produce Award 2017.

The adventure continues on Sunday with a children’s writing workshop led by local writers Nicola Chester and Deborah Patterson. Attending children will be encouraged to hunt down interesting titles in the library to create ‘book spine poetry’ before writing their own adventure story.

JOAN high res jacketSimon Fenwick will be shedding light on Joan Leigh Fermor; an extraordinary woman who travelled widely and lived life at full tilt, no matter what the consequences and, Nick Hunt, who followed in Joan’s famous husband Patrick Leigh Fermor’s footsteps, will return to Hungerford to talk about Where the Wild Winds Are. This book explores Europe’s local winds to discover how they affect landscapes, cultures and people. After his talk, Nick will announce the winner of the adult travel writing competition.

The final stage of the journey features maverick climber Jules Mountain – a cancer survivor who conquered an Everest avalanche. Wanting to prove to himself that his illness was no barrier, the author decided to climb the mountain on what turned out to be the deadliest day in Everest’s history. His inspirational story of survival, resourcefulness and dedication, Aftershock, rounds off the weekend’s journey through time, people and places.

For your passport to these events head to www.ArtsForHungerford.Com to purchase tickets, or buy them from The Hungerford Bookshop (01488 683480).

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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.

‘M’: MI5’s Greatest Spymaster: Book talk by Henry Hemming

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

Joanna Trollope: ‘City of Friends’ Book Talk

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.


Nicola Cornick: The Phantom Tree

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

Poetry in the Bookshop

poetrybookshopFebruary 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

Wed March 29: Clover Stroud, ‘The Wild Other’

wild-otherThis 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.

Tickets £6 from The Hungerford Bookshop (includes a glass of wine and £5 off the book on the night) or on-line on here