Annabel Abbs

1. RE-IMAGINING LOST LIVES: THE CHALLENGES OF BIOGRAPHICAL FICTION

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 11.30am - 12.30pm

With her ability to re-imagine the lives of women almost lost to us, Annabel Abbs is one of the UK’s most exciting new historical novelists. Her first book, The Joyce Girl, tells the tragic story of James Joyce’s only daughter and was called ‘a hugely impressive debut’ by the Observer and ‘the best twentieth century fiction of the year’ by the Historical Novel Society. Her forthcoming novel, about Frieda Lawrence (wife of D.H. and the model for Lady Chatterley), is generating pre-publication buzz. Both books deftly weave fragments of fact into fully realised lives – and it might surprise you to learn how little we know about such prominent women. In this hour, Annabel explains how she develops fiction from tiny facts.

2. CREATING A POWERFUL SENSE OF TIME AND PLACE

EVENT FORMAT: WORKSHOP

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 4pm - 5.30pm

In this workshop Annabel will reveal techniques for creating a vivid and vibrant sense of place. Learn how to plunge a reader directly into your imaginary world, be it historic or dystopian, local or exotic, sinister or joyful. The workshop will examine some of the masters and mistresses of these techniques and provide you with the chance to experiment with your own writing. If you have an opening page of something you’re working on, please bring it along.

BIOGRAPHY

Annabel Abbs is a writer of historical-biographical fiction and a food writer at kaleandcocoa.com. Her debut novel, 2014’s The Joyce Girl, tells the story of Lucia Joyce, daughter of novelist James. It was published to glowing reviews, was a Guardian reader’s pick of 2016, and was longlisted for the 'Waverton Good Read Award' 2017. Annabel came to novel-writing after 15 years in marketing and a bohemian childhood in rural Wales; she now lives in London and Sussex while working on several projects, including the untold story of the original Lady Chatterley.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Joyce Girl. London, Impress (2016)

REVIEWS

'This is a hugely impressive debut. Annabel Abbs has brought to life an extraordinary cast of characters - Joyce, Beckett et al - and painted their rackety, bohemian world in vivid technicolour' - The Observer

'Here is a powerful portrait of a young woman yearning to be an artist, whose passion for life – and rage at being unable to fulfil her talent – burns from the pages' - the Guardian

'This intimate and absolutely splendid novel must top my recommendations as the best 20th Century fiction of the year' - Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice (November)  

Click here to book.

Diane Atkinson

RISE UP, WOMEN!

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Friday, 7th September | 6pm - 7pm

In this significant commemorative year, any book called ‘an instant classic of feminist history’ by Rachel Holmes simply had to come to Gladfest. While the patriarchs of the Liberal and Tory parties vied for supremacy inside the corridors of power, hordes of women were demanding their rights. A diverse group of speechifying, protesting, marching suffragettes answered the call to ‘Rise Up’ in support of extension to the franchise. They sold their paper (the famous Deeds Not Words), bombed pillarboxes and slashed great works of art. Join Diane Atkinson for a thrilling hour of rebellious women, as she discusses her latest book, Rise Up, Women!  

BIOGRAPHY

Diane Atkinson lives in Shoreditch, London. She was born in the North-East and educated in Cornwall and London, where she completed a Ph.D. on the politics of women's sweated labour. She taught history at secondary schools in London before moving to the Museum of London, where she worked as a lecturer and curator, specialising in women's history. She is the author of two illustrated history books, Suffragettes in Pictures and Funny Girls: Cartooning for Equality. Diane has also written three biographies, Love & Dirt: The Marriage of Arthur Munby & Hannah Cullwick; Elsie and Mairi Go to War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front; and The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton. Her most recent book is the timely Rise Up, Women!: The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Rise Up, Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes. London, Bloomsbury (2018)

Love & Dirt: The Marriage of Arthur Munby & Hannah Cullwick. London, Macmillan (2003)

Elsie and Mairi Go to War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front. London, Arrow Press (2010)

The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton. London, Random House (2012)

REVIEWS

'A thrilling and inspiring read! For too long these extraordinary women have been hidden from history. Rise Up, Women! should be a standard text in all schools. And will be a treasured handbook for today's feminists - Harriet Harman, MP

'Impressive and colourful, vivid and meticulous...For a blanket history of the suffragette movement, Diane Atkinson's Rise Up, Women! should be your pick. This hefty volume leaves few stones unturned, chronicling the campaign in scrupulous detail' - The Independent

'Substantial and impressive...Surely destined to become a key general text, ranking alongside classic tomes...Atkinson's book provides an accessible, captivating, chronological account that incorporates recent developments as well as first-hand accounts' - Times Literary Supplement

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Richard Beard

THE DAY THAT WENT MISSING

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 11.30am - 12.30pm

On a family summer holiday in Cornwall in 1978, Nicholas and his brother Richard are jumping in the waves. Suddenly, Nicholas is out of his depth. He isn’t, and then he is. He drowns. Richard and his other brothers don’t attend the funeral, and incredibly the family return to their cottage to complete the holiday. They soon stop speaking of the catastrophe and their epic act of collective denial writes Nicky out of the family memory. Nearly 40 years later, Richard Beard is haunted by the missing grief of his childhood but doesn’t know the date of the accident or the name of the beach. So he sets out on a pain-staking investigation to rebuild Nicky’s life, and ultimately to recreate the precise events on the day of the accident. Who was Nicky? Why did the family react as they did? And what actually happened? Peter Francis interviews Richard about this heart-rending and personal tragedy, and explores questions of faith and doubt. 

BIOGRAPHY

Richard Beard’s six novels include Lazarus is Dead, Dry Bones and Damascus, which was a New York Times 'Notable Book of the Year'. In the UK he has been shortlisted for the 'BBC National Short Story Award' and longlisted for the 'Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award'. His latest novel Acts of the Assassins was shortlisted for the 'Goldsmiths Prize' in 2015. He is also the author of four books of narrative non-fiction, including his 2017 memoir The Day That Went Missing. Formerly Director of The National Academy of Writing in London, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo and has a Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia. Richard is also an occasional contributor to the Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Financial Times, Prospect and The Nightwatchman. He is one of several opening batsmen for the Authors XI Cricket Club.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Day That Went Missing. London, Vintage (2018)

Acts of the Assassins. London, Vintage (2016)

Lazarus is Dead. London, Vintage (2012) 

REVIEWS

'A monument to the power of literature…A wonderful memoir but also a salvage operation in which he writes himself back into life. His book deserves to stand on the same shelf as William Fiennes’s The Music Room, as a remarkable homage to a lost brother' - The Spectator

'This memoir breaks all the rules. It’s brimful of anger and guilt, fails to deliver an uplifting ending and opens with a death...This is the stuff of true grieving and remorse, the acid peel of genuine soul-searching, whose sting few of us are capable of bearing. And it sings' - New Statesman

'Cumulatively powerful…brutally honest…a memoir of real truth and heartbreaking emotional heft' - The Sunday Times

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Penny Boxall

1. OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH: WHO GOES THERE?

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 11.30am - 12.30pm

Halt! Who Goes There?, Penny Boxall’s second collection, throws light on the mysterious strangers we glimpse, and turns that same light on ourselves. From shadows lost to history to forgotten possessions and our own past identities, these poems consider questions of selfhood and the ways in which we can be peripheral in our own lives. The new collection from Valley Press will be launched along with a reissue of Ship of the Line, which in 2016 won the 'Edwin Morgan Poetry Award'.

2. WRITING THE STRANGER AND THE SELF

EVENT FORMAT: WORKSHOP

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 1pm - 2.30pm

This poetry workshop explores how we make strangers of ourselves in writing. Who are we addressing? How are we doing it? And who do we think we are, anyway? Read poems that make the familiar strange, and write poems to welcome the stranger. 

BIOGRAPHY

Penny Boxall grew up in Aberdeenshire and Yorkshire. Ship of the Line was Penny’s debut collection of poetry; it follows a wonderful trajectory from a taxidermist’s to a beetle inside her grandfather’s ear. Her new collection, Who Goes There?, is published by Valley Press. Elsewhere, her poetry has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Rialto, Mslexia and The North. She won the 2016 'Edwin Morgan Poetry Award', and is a 2017 Hawthornden Fellow. After spending August 2017 in residence here at Gladstone’s Library, she is currently travelling in Europe and working on a novel for children.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ship of the Line. London, Valley Press (2018)

Who Goes There?. London, Valley Press (2018)

REVIEWS

‘Penny Boxall runs a tight ship. Her poems are beautifully crafted. Reading her is to go on an interesting journey of exploration - stopping at fascinating places along the way. She has a curator’s mind and is always putting one thing beside another in an unexpected way’ - Jackie Kay, judging the 'Edwin Morgan Poetry Award' in 2016

'In this wide-ranging, generous and engaging collection Penny Boxall brings the past vividly and urgently back to life. She takes us on a wonderfully surprising journey from a taxidermist's, via the Grand Tour, the Pitt Rivers museum, ice hockey, the Age of Steam, a penny-farthing, a balloon flight, to end up with a deafening beetle buried for years in her grandfather's ear' - Michael Laskey, poet

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Joanna Cannon

THREE THINGS ABOUT ELSIE

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 10am - 11am

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died 60 years ago? From the author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them: 1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever; 2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done; 3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo… 

We’re delighted to welcome Joanna back to Gladfest. She gave us a sneak peak of ...Elsie last year and we can’t wait for a full hour!

BIOGRAPHY

Joanna Cannon was born in a small Derbyshire town, at the very edge of the Peak District National Park. As an only child, a great number of her friends lived within the pages of a book, and she soon discovered what would become a life-long fascination with words, stories and characters. Jo’s love of narrative had always drawn her towards her towards psychiatry, but it wasn’t until her 30's that she decided to go back to college and finally complete the A-levels she’d abandoned some 15 years earlier. She went on to study medicine at the University of Leicester and appeared on the other side with a cap and a gown, and a brand-new title. While working as a doctor, Jo attended the York Festival of Writing, where she won the 'Friday Night Live' competition (a kind of literary X Factor) with her story about two little girls in the summer of ’76. Within 48 hours of leaving York, she had received offers of representation from a number of literary agents. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep was published in January 2016; within a fortnight of publication, it reached number 3 in The Sunday Times bestsellers’ list. Three Things About Elsie is Jo’s second novel.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Three Things About Elsie. London, Borough Press (2018)

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. London, Borough Press (2016)

REVIEWS

'Compassionate, thoughtful and tender, it is a novel exploring the pain of nostalgia and personal truths so painful we hide them even from ourselves' - the Guardian

'This is a hilarious and heart-breaking story, set against the background of befuddlement and Battenberg' - BBC Radio 2 Book Club

'Cannon's previous career as an NHS psychiatrist infuses her writing. She treats her characters with immense care and compasion' - The Observer

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Simon Grennan

MARIE DUVAL REDISCOVERED: THE EXTRAORDINARY LOST WORLD OF A VICTORIAN WOMAN CARTOONIST

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 4pm - 5pm

Join Simon Grennan as he immerses you in the exciting, strange and compelling world of Victorian comics genius Marie Duval, lost for 130 years. You will follow his voyage of discovery, hearing the story of unearthing Duval’s work with colleagues Roger Sabin and Julian Waite, and bringing over 1,500 comic strips, vignettes and drawings to light. Duval was a stage actress as well as a cartoonist. You will both hear and see how experiences of the Victorian stage profoundly influenced her drawings and her comic vision. Simon, Roger and Julian are the creators of 'The Marie Duval Archive', available free online at www.marieduval.org. They have also just published the first ever book of her work: Marie Duval (Myriad Editions) recreates the oddball thrills, slapstick humour and keen pleasures of observation that mark her uniquely drawn brand of visual comedy, and which prove her to be one of the founders of British comics.

BIOGRAPHY

Simon Grennan is a scholar and practitioner of narrative drawing. His most recent book, Marie Duval, showcases the work of a forgotten Victorian cartoonist for the first time. He is also author of A Theory of Narrative Drawing (2017), and Dispossession, a graphic adaptation of Trollope’s John Caldigate. It was named as one of the Guardian’s Books of the Year in 2015. He is currently Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Chester.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Marie Duval. Myriad (2018)

A Theory of Narrative Drawing (2017)

Dispossession. Jonathan Cape (2015)

REVIEWS

'Marie Duval is one of the forgotten wonders of 19th-century art. Her drawings have something in common with Honoré Daumier, but also look forward almost uncannily to modern comics in their fantastical surreal wit' - the Guardian

Praise for Dispossession

'Grennan has a special interest in the 19th century, and his book is full of feeling for the period…Richly satisfying' - The Observer

'Brilliant and dizzying graphic novel…Such subtlety makes this a novel of remarkable power, written and drawn with humour and dark authority. It is a work that disturbs one’s self-possession, catching the “perhapses” that characterize both Trollope’s world and our own' - Times Literary Supplement

Click here to book.

Sam Guglani

IN CONVERSATION WITH RICHARD HOLLOWAY

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 10am - 11am

Sam Guglani is a novelist and consultant oncologist who has a background in medical ethics. His debut novel Histories explores the human and moral challenges of contemporary medicine. Richard Holloway has published many books on questions of faith and doubt and was Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In this hour the pair talk about meaning, values, and human mortality in sickness and medicine, and to what extent science, faith and the humanities are epistemologies that attempt to engage these questions for all of us.

BIOGRAPHIES

Sam Guglani is a poet, novelist and consultant oncologist who specialises in the management of lung and brain tumours. He has a background in medical ethics and chairs the Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust law and ethics group. Director of 'Medicine Unboxed' since he founded it in 2009, Sam uses the arts and creative industries to illuminate challenges in medicine. He is a published poet and writes for The Lancet, and his debut novel Histories was released in 2017.

Richard Holloway is a Scottish writer, broadcaster, and cleric. He was Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. A former Gresham Professor of Divinity and Chairman of the Joint Board of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen, he is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His books include On Forgiveness, Looking in the Distance, Godless Morality, Doubts and Loves, Between the Monster and the Saint, and Leaving Alexandria, which won the 'PEN/Ackerley Prize' in 2013 and was shortlisted for the 'Orwell Prize' in the same year. Richard has written for The Times, Guardian, Observer, Herald and the Scotsman, among others, and has presented many series for BBC television and radio.  

BIBLIOGRAPHIES

Sam Guglani

Histories. River Run (2017)

Richard Holloway

Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death. Canongate (2018)

On Forgiveness. Canongate, reissued in Canons (2015)

A Little History of Religion. Yale (2016)

REVIEWS

Sam Guglani

'Guglani's compassion for the souls and bodies inhabiting his hospital makes this book much bigger than it appears. But Histories is not just heart - Guglani is the real deal. Some will describe him as a doctor-turned-writer. On the evidence of this remarkable debut, I would say he's a writer who also happens to be a doctor - Michel Faber, author of Under the Skin

'Remarkable and full of grace. It broke my heart' - Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

'Economical, emotionally involving, insightful and rather beautiful...A luminous argument for truly seeing and listening to others and to ourselves; it is a serious tilt at working out what matters, honed in places where people are tested by such questions every day' - Guardian

Richard Holloway

'Every bit as meditative, witty and elegiac as you would expect' - the Scotsman

'The record of a mind too large, too curious and far too generous to be confined within any single religious denomination' - Philip Pullman, author of the 'His Dark Materials' series

'An inclusive and hugely nourishing reminder to take stock of our mortality…Elegant, elegiac and thought-provoking' - the Observer

Click here to book.

Melissa Harrison

ALL AMONG THE BARLEY

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 1pm - 2pm

We’re delighted to welcome back Melissa in September, just after the publication of her major new novel: ‘a work of rare magic’ in the words of Helen Macdonald (H is for Hawk). All Among the Barley introduces Edie Mather, 14 years old and living with her family at Wych Farm. The Great War is over, but its shadows linger. When glamorous outsider Constance FitzAllen visits from London, she brings with her new political and social ideas – some more dangerous than others. As harvest time approaches, Edie must decide whose version of reality she should trust.

BIOGRAPHY

Melissa Harrison is an author, critic and occasional photographer who lives in Suffolk. Her second novel, At Hawthorn Time (Bloomsbury) was shortlisted for the 'Costa Novel of the Year' award and chosen as a ‘best summer read’ by A.S. Byatt in the Observer. It was also longlisted for the 'Baileys Prize'. Her first novel, Clay (Bloomsbury, 2013), won the 'Portsmouth First Fiction' award and was selected for Amazon’s 'Rising Stars' programme, while her non-fiction book Rain: Four Walks in English Weather was published by Faber & Faber with The National Trust in 2016 and longlisted for the 'Wainwright Prize'. Melissa was Series Editor on four anthologies of writing about the seasons, published by Elliott & Thompson in 2016 in support of The Wildlife Trusts. Melissa writes a monthly ‘Nature Notebook’ column in The Times and reviews books for the Weekend FT, The Times, the Guardian, The Telegraph and Slightly Foxed. Melissa’s third novel, All Among the Barley, will be published in August 2018.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

All Among the Barley. Bloomsbury (2018)

At Hawthorn Time. Bloomsbury (2016)

[Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter]: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons. Wildlife Trusts (2016)

Rain: Four Walks in English Weather. Faber (2017)

Clay. Bloomsbury (2014)

REVIEWS

'All Among the Barley is a work of rare magic' - Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk

'Harrison is readily comparable with Elizabeth Taylor and Penelope Lively; but she has a distinction all her own - and her growing audience must hope to live long enough to read everything she writes' - the Spectator

'Harrison's love of the natural world and its traditions vibrates poetically through every page. Harrison's imagination is wonderfully strange, her writing beautifully assured and controlled' - The Times

Click here to book.

Richard Holloway

WAITING FOR THE LAST BUS: REFLECTIONS ON LIFE AND DEATH

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 4pm - 5pm

Where do we go when we die? Or is there nowhere to go? Is death something we can ‘do’, or something that happens to us? Richard Holloway has spent a lifetime at the bedsides of the dying, guiding countless men and women towards peaceful deaths. Facing and welcoming death gives us the chance to think about not only the meaning of our own life, but of life itself. In a modern world increasingly wary of acknowledging mortality, Richard’s latest book is a stirring plea to reacquaint ourselves with death, and it is radical, joyful, and moving.

BIOGRAPHY

Richard Holloway is a Scottish writer, broadcaster, and cleric. He was Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. A former Gresham Professor of Divinity and Chairman of the Joint Board of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen, he is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His books include On Forgiveness, Looking in the Distance, Godless Morality, Doubts and Loves, Between the Monster and the Saint, and Leaving Alexandria, which won the 'PEN/Ackerley Prize' in 2013 and was shortlisted for the 'Orwell Prize' in the same year. Richard has written for The Times, Guardian, Observer, Herald and the Scotsman, among others, and has presented many series for BBC television and radio. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death. Canongate (2018)

On Forgiveness. Canongate, reissued in Canons (2015)

A Little History of Religion. Yale (2016)

REVIEWS

'Every bit as meditative, witty and elegiac as you would expect' - the Scotsman

'The record of a mind too large, too curious and far too generous to be confined within any single religious denomination' - Philip Pullman, author of the 'His Dark Materials' series

'An inclusive and hugely nourishing reminder to take stock of our mortality…Elegant, elegiac and thought-provoking' - the Observer

Click here to book.

Sally Magnusson

THE SEALWOMAN'S GIFT

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 8.30pm - 9.30pm

In 1627 Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted some 400 of its people, including 250 from a tiny island off the mainland. Among the captives sold into slavery in Algiers were the island pastor, his wife and their three children. Although the raid itself is well documented, little is known about what happened to the women and children afterwards. It was a time when women everywhere were largely silent. 

In this brilliant reimagining, Sally Magnusson gives a voice to Ásta, the pastor's wife. Enslaved in an alien Arab culture Ásta meets the loss of both her freedom and her children with the one thing she has brought from home: the stories in her head. Steeped in the sagas and folk tales of her northern homeland, she finds herself experiencing not just the separations and agonies of captivity, but the reassessments that come in any age when intelligent eyes are opened to other lives, other cultures, and other kinds of loving

BIOGRAPHY

Sally Magnusson is a journalist and broadcaster who has been a BBC news and current affairs presented for many years. She has written seven works of non-fiction and three children’s books. She was the recipient of the 'Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award for Writing' in 2014 and was shortlisted for the 'Saltire Literary Book of the Year Award' for Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything, her memoir about her mother. The Sealwoman’s Gift is her first novel.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Sealwoman’s Gift. Two Roads (2018)

Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything. Two Roads (2014)

REVIEWS

'A remarkable feat of imagination that trasports the reader to 17th-century Iceland and Algiers...An extraordinarily immersive read that emphasises the power of stories, examining themes of motherhood, identity, exile and freedom. Through her deft storytelling, Magnusson takes us on a journey that not only crosses continents, but encompasses tragedy and rich sensuality' - the Guardian

'An evocative, striking new novel...which brings an Icelandic historical tragedy, and in particular, Icelandic woman Asta Egilsson, back to pulsing life' - Sunday Times

'Sally Magnusson has turned this grim true story into a page-turner...beautifully told' - Radio Times

Click here to book.

Lucy Mangan

BOOKWORM: A MEMOIR OF CHILDHOOD READING

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 1pm - 2pm

Lucy Mangan is a bookworm. When she was little, stories were everything. They opened-up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one. She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home. 

In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way. Lucy is the perfect visitor to Gladstone’s Library and she’ll be talking to novelist – and fellow bookworm – Sarah Perry about our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. 

BIOGRAPHY

Lucy Mangan is a columnist for Stylist magazine, a regular features writer and television reviewer for the Guardian, and occasional presenter of radio and television programmes.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading. Square Peg (2018)

Inside Charlie's Chocolate FactoryPenguin (2014)

The Reluctant Bride. John Murray (2010)

My Family and Other Disasters. Guardian Books (2009)

Hopscotch and Handbags: The Truth About Being a GirlHeadline Review (2008)

REVIEWS

'Artfully evokes that particular magic of reading as a child…Deliciously unrepentant, Mangan’s Bookworm makes a timely case not just for how vital reading is, but also for rereading books as a child, and how reading remains consoling, fortifying and, sometimes, magical' - The Sunday Times

'What Mangan does brilliantly is express the experience of reading and articulate the emotional connections we make with stories. She understands how books become entwined in our lives and help us make sense of the world. You don’t need to have enjoyed the same books as she has to recognise the pure, life-affirming joy of reading that Bookworm celebrates so eloquently' - The Observer

'Lucy Mangan has enough comic energy to power the National Grid...We need this new memoir about her childhood of being a bookworm. It's enchanting' - The Spectator

Click here to book.

Peter Moore

ENDEAVOUR: THE SHIP AND THE ATTITUDE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 11.30am - 12.30pm

The Enlightenment was an age of endeavours. From Johnson’s Dictionary to campaigns for liberty to schemes for measuring the dimensions of the solar system, Britain was consumed by the impulse for grand projects, undertaken at speed. ‘Endeavour’ was also the name given to a Whitby collier bought by the Royal Navy in 1768 for an expedition to the South Seas. A commonplace, coal-carrying vessel, no one could have guessed that Endeavour would go on to become the most significant ship in the history of British exploration. 

Endeavour famously carried James Cook on his first great voyage, visiting Pacific islands unknown to European geography, charting for the first time New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia and almost foundering on the Great Barrier Reef. But Endeavour has a secret history too. She was there at the Wilkes Riots in London in 1768. During the battles for control of New York in 1776 she witnessed the bloody birth of the United States of America. As well as carrying botanists, a Polynesian priest and the remains of the first kangaroo to arrive in Britain, she transported Newcastle coal and Hessian soldiers. According to Charles Darwin, she helped Cook add a hemisphere to the civilised world. NASA named a space shuttle after her. To others she would be a toxic symbol, responsible for the dispossession of the oldest continuous human society and the disruption of many others. 

No one has ever told Endeavour’s complete story before. Peter Moore sets out to explore the different lives of this remarkable ship, from the acorn that grew into the oak that made her, to her rich and complex legacy.

BIOGRAPHY

Peter Moore is a writer, critic and lecturer. He teaches at City University and the University of Oxford. His first book, Damn His Blood, reconstructed a rural murder in 1806. His second, The Weather Experiment, a Sunday Times bestseller, traced early efforts to forecast the weather. He lives in London.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Endeavour. Chatto & Windus (2018)

The Weather Experiment. Chatto & Windus (2015)

Damn His Blood. Chatto & Windus (2012)

REVIEWS

Praise for The Weather Experiment:

'Superbly researched and grippingly written...Moore is at least as interested in the personalities and their rivalries, and the sheer spendour and catastrophies of weather itself - storms and shipwrecks, heatwaves and floods (all vividly described) - as by the science. And he weaves it together, deftly picking up threads left dangling in earlier chapters, darting across continents, embracing swashbuckling sea captains and fastidious bureaucrats, penny-pinching politians and mad inventors, with as sharp an eye for eccentricity, absurdity and tragedy as for genius. The result is a panorama of the entire Victorian era' - The Times

'Moore is the rare science writer who can describe dew point so poetically you feel you’re with him in a twinkling field of white clover on a cool summer morning…Evocative and full of wisdom for modern times - New York Times

'A skilful, detailed account of a complex story, in which scientific advances are far from inevitable in a world of flawed humans and bad luck...Moore's engaging, often surprising work of storytelling, written with such care and pleasure, is a fine tribute' - Spectator

Click here to book.

Ian Parks

1. FINDING A VOICE: POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP

EVENT FORMAT: WORKSHOP

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 10am - 11.30am

How do we know when we have discovered our own voice as poets? How do we set about writing poems that emphasise the individual quality of that voice? In this practical workshop poet Ian Parks will suggest ways in which writers can identify their own individual voice. The session is open to beginners as well as those with some experience. Arrive with a blank page and go home with a poem written in your own distinctive voice.

2. CITIZENS: THE POETRY OF IAN PARKS

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 10am - 11am

Regarded by many as 'the finest love poet of his generation' (Chiron Review), former Gladstone’s Library Writer in Residence Ian Parks returns to Gladfest to introduce a career-spanning reading of his own work, ranging from the early love poems which first brought him to public attention to the politically motivated poems in his latest collection, Citizens. The event will conclude with an interview between Ian and Bob Horne, publisher of Ian's new collection of versions from the modern Greek poet Constantine Cavafy. 

BIOGRAPHY

Ian Parks was one of the first Writers in Residence at Gladstone's Library in 2012. His collections of poems include Shell Island, The Landing Stage, Love Poems 1979-2009The Exile's House and Citizens. He is the editor of Versions of the North: Contemporary Yorkshire Poetry and was Writing Fellow at De Montfort University, Leicester from 2012 - 2014. He lives in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, where he runs the Read to Write Project. His versions of Cavafy If Possible: Cavafy Poems is published in 2018 by Calder Valley Poetry.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Citizens. Smokestack Books (2017)

If Possible. Calder Valley Poetry (2018)

REVIEWS

‘Ian Parks has an instantly recognisable voice: spare, lyrical, memorable, and intense. Whatever subject he addresses – historical, political, romantic - he transforms through the sheer force of his poetic identity’ - Donald Davie, poet

‘A real poetic gift: pure poetry written as though coming ready-made from outside him’ - John Powell Ward, poet

‘Reading a poem by Ian Parks is like hearing your name uttered in the din of a public place: you hear it regardless of the background noise’ - Peter Dale, poet

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Martyn Percy

REASONABLE RADICAL? READING THE WRITINGS OF MARTYN PERCY

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 5.30pm - 6.30pm

One of the most interesting voices in the Church today is Martyn Percy. Dean of Christ Church Oxford and a leading voice in the Anglican Communion, Martyn is theologically orthodox yet deeply unconventional. His new book, Reasonable Radical? is two books in one. The first half contains a series of articles and critical introductions to Percy's thought, written by church leaders and academics. The second half is Martyn’s own thoughts, in a collection of wide-ranging material – his Gladfest event gives you the chance to hear those thoughts in person.

BIOGRAPHY

The Very Reverend Martyn Percy has undertaken a number of roles in scholarly, clerical and public life. He trained for ordination after a career in publishing; after roles at Cambridge University, the Lincoln Theological Institute and Sheffield Cathedral, he was appointed as Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon. During his time there, the college has become one of the largest Anglican ordination training centres in the country. Martyn writes with clarity and passion on topics that range from ecclesiology to music, from sexuality to the Trinity, from advertising to ministerial training. His recent books include Anglicanism: Confidence, Commitment and Communion (2013) and Thirty-Nine New Articles: An Anglican Landscape of Faith (2013).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Reasonable Radical? Reading the Writings of Martyn Percy. Pickwick Publications (2018)

Anglicanism: Confidence, Commitment and Communion. Routledge (2013)

Thirty-Nine New Articles: An Anglican Landscape of Faith. Canterbury Press (2013)

REVIEWS

'This volume exemplifies the approach which distinguishes Martyn Percy’s work: open, interdisciplinary, and generative of new connections and approaches' - Linda Woodhead, Professor at Lancaster University

'An excellent introduction to a theologian who represents the best of contemporary Anglican thought, with a deep spirituality firmly rooted in reality' - Keith Ward, Professor at University of Oxford

'If the church is permanently in crisis—necessarily so in light of its eschatological character—then it requires lucid and shrewd interpreters like Martyn Percy to mediate its critical engagement with society. This collection is therefore both timely and ambitious in its scope, insights, and humanity, and the balance is impressive and substantial. It takes some courage to be so liberal in today’s Anglican Communion, but Percy’s work shows how relevant that struggle remains' - Gareth Jones, Professor at Charles Stuart University

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Sarah Perry

MELMOTH IS COMING...

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 4pm - 5pm

20 years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for. But a strange manuscript has come into her possession, and its contents – stories of a tall, dark woman – have the power to unravel every strand of her fragile life…Sarah Perry returns to Gladfest to discuss her hotly-awaited third novel. Who is the tall, silent woman in black? Why do her feet bleed, and her eyes never blink? What does she mean for Helen Franklin? Melmoth is coming…be at Gladfest for some of the very first steps.

BIOGRAPHY

Sarah Perry is the author of The Essex Serpent and After Me Comes the Flood. Melmoth will be her third novel. A number one bestseller and 'Waterstones Book of the Year' in 2016, The Essex Serpent was nominated for a further eight literary awards, including the 'Costa Novel Award' 2017, and the 'Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction' in 2017. After Me Comes the Flood was longlisted for the 'Guardian First Book Award' 2014 and the 'Folio Prize' 2014, and won the 'East Anglian Book of the Year Award' 2014. Sarah has been the UNESCO City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague and a Gladstone's Library Writer in Residence. Her work is being translated into 11 languages, and her essays and fiction have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and RTE 1. She reviews fiction for the Guardian and the Financial Times.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Melmoth. Serpent's Tail (2018)

The Essex Serpent. Serpent's Tail (2016)

After Me Comes the Flood. Serpent's Tail (2015)

REVIEWS

'This is a beautiful, devastating, brilliant book. It affected me so much I was shaking after I read it. The exquisite, immersive writing compelled me to keep reading even through the horrors described' - Marian Keyes, author of Watermelon

'Astonishingly dark, rich storytelling, exquisitely balanced between gothic shocks and emotional truth' - Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill

'Richly atmospheric, daring and surprising, Melmoth seals Sarah Perry's place as chief architect of literature's gothic revival' - Melissa Harrison, author of At Hawthorn Time

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Michelè Roberts

A WRITING LIFE

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 1pm - 2pm

Michèle Roberts has truly lived a writing life. She is a writer of novels, poetry, newspaper articles, memoir, essays, as well as short fiction, drama and screenplays. She has written collaboratively; reflected on what it is to write; judged literary prizes and encouraged others to write. She is best known for her vivid, lyrical writing style, which Helen Dunmore called ‘raw and poetic’, and the adroit way she challenges literary conventions. Her latest book, The Walworth Beauty, is a ghostly tale of absence and connections. The Financial Times called it ‘an homage to all London’s streetwalkers’.

BIOGRAPHY

Michèle Roberts’s life is one steeped in writing, language and books. Growing up bilingual in a French-English family and going on to read English Language and Literature at Somerville, she initially trained as a librarian before leaving for the British Council in South East Asia. Librarianship’s loss was literature’s gain; when Michèle returned from her travels she wrote in the spaces between part-time jobs. In 1978 her first novel was published (A Piece of the Night). In 1992 Daughters of the House was shortlisted for the Booker and went on to win the 'W. H. Smith Literary Award' 1993. Ignorance, a novel about Nazi-occupied France, was longlisted for the 'Women’s Prize for Fiction'. Michèle also writes poetry, short stories, screenplays and more. Her memoir Paper Houses was Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4. She is currently Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Walworth Beauty. Bloomsbury (2017)

Paper Houses: A Memoir of the 70s and Beyond. Virago (2008)

Ignorance. Bloomsbury (2013)

Daughters of the House. Virago (1993) 

REVIEWS

'Michèle Roberts is one of those writers descended perhaps as much from Monet and Debussy as Virginia Woolf or Keats...To read a book by her is to savour colour, sound, taste, texture and touch as never before' - The Times

'A disciplined and elegant writer' - the Observer

'Roberts is at her best when she writes about food and sex, about feelings and desires that cut across boundaries of time and class' - the Sunday Times

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Malachy Tallack

THE VALLEY AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 2.30pm - 3.30pm

“Shetland: a place of sheep and soil, of harsh weather, close ties and an age-old way of life. But times do change – island inhabitants die, or move away. In the wind and sun and storms from the Atlantic, these islanders must decide: what is left of us when the day's work is done, the children grown, and all our choices have been made?”

Malachy Tallack’s books – the erudite and observing Sixty Degrees North and the fantastical The Un-Discovered Islands – have established him as a writer to watch. Don’t miss the chance to hear him speak about The Valley at the Centre of the World, his first novel. 

BIOGRAPHY

Malachy Tallack is from Shetland, and currently lives in Glasgow. His first book, Sixty Degrees North, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. His second, The Un-Discovered Islands, won the 'Edward Stanford Illustrated Travel Book Award' 2017. His new novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime. Malachy received a 'New Writers Award' from the Scottish Book Trust in 2014, and the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in 2015. As a singer-songwriter, he has released four albums and an EP, and has performed live in venues across the UK. He is contributing editor to the online magazine The Island Review, and has written for many other publications, both online and in print.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Valley at the Centre of the World. Canongate (2018)

The Un-Discovered Islands. Polygon (2016)

Sixty Degrees North: Around the World in Search of Home. Polygon (2015)

REVIEWS

'What I've been waiting for: a moving, authentic novel of the Scottish islands in the twenty-first century' - Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun

'Malachy Tallack has already proven himself to be a thoughtful and very diverse writer...This third book is his first foray into fiction, a thoughtful novel set on Shetland and dealing with the constant rural tension between local tradition and the vital energy that fresh blood brings to remote places' - The Big Issue

'An engaging and fluent writer of essential kindliness' - Scottish Review of Books

Click here to book.

Kit de Waal

FROM MY NAME IS LEON TO THE TRICK TO TIME

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 2.30pm - 3.30pm

Kit de Waal’s writing has been praised for its compassion, wit, and honesty. Her books are filled with voices that often go unheard, in places that are often overlooked. Her first book, 2016’s My Name is Leon, tells the tale of nine-year-old Leon. He and his little brother Jake have gone to live with Maureen – they’ve lost one home, but have they found another? ...Leon was an international bestseller, winner of the 'Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award' for 2017, shortlisted for the 'Costa First Novel' prize, the 'Desmond Elliot Prize', and the 'Glass Bell Award'. Kit is following this success with The Trick to Time. It’s the story of Mona, a young Irish girl who moves to Birmingham at the height of the 70’s. Here she meets William. They embark upon a dizzying love affair, a whirlwind marriage, an unexpected pregnancy - before a sudden tragedy tears them apart. Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. Join Kit as she talks about both.

BIOGRAPHY

Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the 60's and 70's. She worked for 15 years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption, foster care and judgecraft for members of the judiciary. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the 'Costa First Novel Award', long-listed for the 'Desmond Elliott Prize' and won the 'Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award' for 2017.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Trick to Time. Viking (2018)

Six Foot Six. Viking (2018)

My Name is Leon. Penguin (2017)

REVIEWS

'Enlightening and moving' - The Independent

'De Waal excels at bringing out the humanity of characters leading small lives on the fringe of huge social and political forces, struggling bravely not to be crushed by them. The “trick to time” is that it can expand or contract at will, and in creating a mature heroine with decades of history, De Waal has herself performed a feat of skilful compression' - the Guardian

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Sheena Wilkinson

1. NOT JUST THE SAME AS US IN LONGER FROCKS

EVENT FORMAT: WORKSHOP

WHEN: Saturday, 8th September | 1pm - 2.30pm

If the past is another country, how can the fiction writer bring it to life? How do we imagine characters whose ideas and ideals we may not share? How do we ensure our characters are believably of their time, but are attractive and accessible to contemporary readers? How do we make them speak so modern readers will listen? What about political correctness? Negotiate these and other dilemmas in this interactive workshop.

2. WRITING THE SPANISH FLU

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 1pm - 2pm

Ever since she was asked to write a novel about the Easter Rising (2015’s Name Upon Name), Sheena Wilkinson has become known for thought-provoking, original perspectives on historical events. She followed Name Upon Name with Star By Star – a novel about women’s suffrage that Sheena herself says she has been waiting to write all her life. Sheena’s popular Hearth event at Gladstone's Library in spring 2018 showed that her books, ostensibly for young adults, appeal across all ages. She revealed then that she was editing a third historical novel, for ‘real’ adults’ this time, about the Spanish flu pandemic that struck so brutally in 1918 – and by popular demand, she’ll be back to talk more about it.

BIOGRAPHY

Sheena Wilkinson is a novelist, short-story writer, and Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow. She established and runs the Belfast Inter-School creative writing network for sixth formers, and is Ireland’s first patron of reading. She is the author of several novels, and has been called ‘one of our foremost writers for young people’ by the Irish Times.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Star By Star. Little Island (2017)

‘Let me be part of all this joy’ in Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland. New Island (2017)

Street Song. Black and White (2017)

Name Upon Name. Little Island (2015)

Still Falling. Little Island (2015)

REVIEWS

‘I read this book in one heady gulp, captivated by its teenager narrator, Stella and her longing to be someone and do something important, something young teens will deeply relate to’ – The Irish Independent

‘Stella is Wilkinson’s most endearing heroine yet, and her narrative offers up an insightful look into the losses and traumas of the era, with pitch-perfect period details woven throughout’ – The Irish Times

Click here to book.

Miranda Kaufmann

BLACK TUDORS: THE UNTOLD STORY

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Sunday, 9th September | 2.30pm - 3.30pm

We know what the Tudors wore. We know what they ate. We know the details of their monarchs’ sex lives, and how they caused seismic changes in our country’s religious and political history. But what about black Tudors? Until now, the story of the Africans who lived and died in sixteenth-century England has remained untold. In this talk, Miranda Kaufmann tells the stories of three of the 10 Black Tudors in her book, tracing their tumultuous paths through the Tudor era, uncovering a rich array of detail about their daily lives and how they were treated. She reveals the trouble Jacques Francis got himself into while working as a salvage diver on the wreck of the Mary Rose; how Mary Fillis came from Morocco to London, where she was baptised; and what led to Edward Swarthye whipping a white future coloniser in rural Gloucestershire in 1596.

BIOGRAPHY

Miranda Kaufmann is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, part of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She read History at Christ Church, Oxford, where she completed her doctoral thesis on 'Africans in Britain, 1500-1640' in 2011. As a freelance historian and journalist, she has worked for The Sunday Times, the BBC, the National Trust, English Heritage, the Oxford Companion series, Quercus publishing and the Rugby Football Foundation. She is a popular speaker at conferences, seminars and schools from Hull to Jamaica and has published articles in academic journals and elsewhere (including the Times Literary Supplement, The Times, the Guardian, History Today, BBC History Magazine and Periscope Post). She enjoys engaging in debate at the intersection of past and present and has been interviewed by Sky News and the Observer.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Black Tudors: the Untold Story. OneWorld (2017)

REVIEWS

‘Splendid…that rare thing – a work of history about the Tudors that actually says something fresh and new…a cracking contribution to the field’ - Sunday Times

‘Enlightening and constantly surprising…Far too many popular studies of the Tudors return the same faces. To its great credit, Black Tudors presents fresh figures and challenges the way we look at them’ - Financial Times

‘A thought-provoking account of 10 remarkable people, and a valuable corrective to some unthinking assumptions about both Tudor society and the role of racial minorities in English history’ - Times Higher Education

Click here to book.

Theatr Clwyd

LORD OF THE FLIES - A PREVIEW

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Friday, 7th September | 8pm - 9.30pm

Last year Theatr Clwyd’s preview snippets of Uncle Vanya were a definitive Gladfest highlight – so we’ve brought them back by popular demand! This year the team will give us an exclusive preview reading of Lord of the Flies (a co-production of the Nigel Williams adaptation with Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre) with its director is Emma Jordan, before it opens in October. Prepare for a truly special evening, toeing the line between society and savagery…

Click here to view a preview video of the all-female performance.

Click here to book.