Gladfest Speakers 2019

 


 

Joe Moran

PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION: SHYNESS AND GOOD WRITING

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 10am - 11am

Joe Moran has an eye for the small, everyday things that quite a lot of us might miss – or at least not notice to the same extent. His writing examines mundane phenomena from motorways to watching television, and (in Queuing for Beginners) he investigates everything from phones to train carriages to yes, queuing. His recent work on shyness traces the histories of some notably shy British figures, from Agatha Christie to – surprisingly – George Best. His latest book, First You Write a Sentence, is a ‘style guide by stealth’, a celebration of how good writing can help us to notice the world and live more meaningful lives. Join Joe as he ponders the link between shyness, creativity and observing the everyday.

BIOGRAPHY

Joe Moran is a cultural historian and Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. He says that he writes about what Mike Leigh calls the ‘nose-picking, arse-scratching, mundane world’. He is the author of numerous articles and eight books, including Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime (2010), On Roads: A Hidden History (2009) and Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness (2016), which has recently been released as an audiobook. He is a regular contributor to the literary and broadsheet press. His most recent book, 2018’s First You Write a Sentence, is currently a London Review of Books bookshop bestseller.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

First You Write a Sentence. Penguin (2019)

Shrinking Violets. Profile (2016)

Armchair Nation. Profile (2013)

On Roads. Profile (2009)

Queuing for Beginners. Profile (2007)

REVIEWS

'Moran is a master at producing fine, accessible non-fiction' - Sunday Times

'Thoughtful reflections on how to write well’ - Guardian Review

‘A thoughtful, engaging, and lively expose of the quirks and beauties of the full sentence...It's a style guide by stealth: when you've read it, you realise you've changed your attitude to writing (and reading)’ - John Simpson, formerly Chief Editor of the OED

Click here to book.

Suzette A. Hill

THE ROSY GILCHRIST NOVELS

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 10am - 11am

Do you know the Rosy Gilchrist novels? If you don’t, you should! They are some of the wittiest crime fiction there is. Rosy Gilchrist works at the British Museum and lives a quiet, blameless life – until in 1952 her aunt is murdered. Rosy goes on to solve crimes in four more novels, including the most recent, The Cambridge Plot. Join Suzette as she introduces her pitch-perfect tribute to crime writing’s golden age.

BIOGRAPHY

Suzette A. Hill is a writer who took a leap of faith, self-publishing her first novel A Load of Old Bones (which first saw daylight right here at Gladstone’s Library) after a career teaching English Literature. It was a success, and Suzette has gone on to write 10 more novels: six in the Francis Oughterard series, featuring a supercilious cat and bone-obsessed hound, and the Rosy Gilchrist series, now five strong. Her writing has been described as ‘charming, astringent and witty’, and her books ‘EF Benson crossed with Jerome K Jerome’.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Cambridge Plot. Allison and Busby (2019)

Shot in Southwold. Allison and Busby (2017)

A Southwold MysteryAllison and Busby (2015)

The Venetian Venture. Allison and Busby (2015)

A Little Murder. Allison and Busby (2014)

REVIEWS

'The author cleverly writes a very English story which is witty and eccentric' - The Cambridge Independent

'This is crime with more fun than menace, but as a gentle, relaxing read it could hardly be bettered' - The Daily Mail

'This dry, funny British gem, with its eccentric cast of characters, will leave readers laughing and eagerly awaiting the next episode - Publishers Weekly

Click here to book.

Gladfest Discusses...

WRITING AND POWER

EVENT FORMAT: TALK (PANEL)

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 11.30am - 12.30pm

Our first ever 'Gladfest discusses...' session! A panel of Gladfest speakers, including Damian Barr, Kit de Waal and more to be announced, take on the relationship between writing and power, exploring some of the most significant historic and contemporary examples.

BIOGRAPHIES

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. The Trick to Time (2018) followed suit, receiving rave reviews for its moving, enlightening style.

Damian Barr is an award-winning writer, columnist, journalist, and salonierre. His memoir, Maggie & Me, received rave reviews for its warm, human clear-eyed depiction of surviving Thatcher’s Britain. He writes regularly for The Times, Guardian, Independent and The Big Issue, and his Literary Salons, first at Shoreditch House and now at the Savoy, regularly feature the world’s best new and established writers. Damian recently interviewed the late Diana Athill in an extraordinary interview where Athill candidly shared moments from her life: on condition that it was broadcast after her death. Whether interviewing or writing, Damian’s talent is for unearthing humane – and human – stories.

Click here to book.

Simon Grennan

DRAWING IN DRAG

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 11.30am - 12.30pm

Join one of Gladfest’s most notable, energetic speakers for another trip into the surprising side of the Victorian age. In 2017 Simon found an illustrated novel, published in 1877, on the shelves at Chetham’s Library, Manchester. The Story of a Honeymoon was written and illustrated by Charles H. Ross and Ambrose Clarke – but Simon knew better. Having spent some years immersed in Victorian cartooning Simon was well-placed to identify that Ambrose Clarke was in fact, the cross-dressing, comic-strip-writing, Ally-Sloper-drawing, very-much-female Marie Duval (1845-1890). Join Simon to hear more of his extraordinary discovery.

BIOGRAPHY

Simon Grennan is a scholar and practitioner of narrative drawing. His most recent book, Drawing in Drag by Marie Duval, continues the work of Marie Duval, his co-authored 2018 book which showcased 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, which was named as one of the Guardian’s Books of the Year in 2015. He is currently Leading Research Fellow in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Chester.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Drawing in Drag by Marie Duval. Book Works (2018)

Marie Duval. Myriad (2018)

A Theory of Narrative Drawing (2017)

Dispossession. Jonathan Cape (2015)

REVIEWS

'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

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Kit De Waal - SOLD OUT

KNOWING YOUR PLACE?

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 1pm - 2pm

We ran out of time in Kit’s 2018 festival interview, so we’ve brought her back for another hour! Kit doesn’t only write bestselling fiction: as editor, fundraiser, and promoter she has been the energy behind a 2018 anthology of contemporary working-class writing. A collection of essays, poems and memoir, Common People celebrates working-class stories. Kit talks to the Library's Director of Collections and Research, Louisa Yates.

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. The Trick to Time (2018) followed suit, receiving rave reviews for its moving, enlightening style.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Common People. Unbound (2019)

Know Your Place. Dead Ink (2018)

The Trick to Time. Penguin (2018)

My Name is Leon. Penguin (2017)

REVIEWS

'In scenes of real power, De Waal fleshes out her characters with flaws, insecurities and secrets’ - Guardian

‘De Waal’s ear for dialogue is excellent: snappy lines with plenty of humour' - Irish Times

'De Waal’s social commentary is both enlightening and moving' - The Independent

Please note this event is now sold out.

Danny Dorling

PEAK INEQUALITY, BREXIT AND RULE BRITANNIA

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 2.30pm - 3.30pm

Along with Sally Tomlinson, Danny Dorling has written one of the most interesting books on a subject that has threatened to overwhelm us all: Brexit. Called ‘the must-read book about Brexit’ and ‘a much-needed mirror’, Rule Britannia suggests that whatever the outcome, Britain must consider its past if it is ever to make sense of its future. Positioning the EU referendum as the last gasp of Empire, Dorling and Tomlinson argue that in reconciling itself to a new beginning, Britain has a chance to carve out a new national identity...

BIOGRAPHY

Before academia Danny Dorling was a play-worker in children’s play schemes. He tries not to forget this. He is now a writer and Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, and his work concerns issues of housing, health, employment, education and poverty. Danny’s first major collaborative project was worldmapper.org, an interactive website using pictograms to effectively communicate the world in new ways. His books include Do We Need Economic Inequality and A Better Politics: How Government Can Make Us Happier. Much of his work, including open-access material wherever possible, can be found at dannydorling.org.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Rule Britannia. Biteback Publishing (2019)

Peak Inequality: Britain’s Ticking Time Bomb. Policy Press (2018)

REVIEWS

‘Leaver or Remainer, if you think Brexit might affect you or your children or your children's children, read this book’ - Peter Florence, Director of Hay Literary Festivals

‘The single most important book about Brexit. Meticulously researched and clearly written, Rule Britannia exposes the racism, ideology and narrow self-interest behind the Brexit rhetoric’ - Professor David Gillborn, Director of the Centre for Research in Race & Education at University of Birmingham

‘Absolutely brilliant. Extremely insightful and thought-provoking’ - Dimitris Ballas, Professor of Economic Geography at University of Groningen

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Gladfest Discusses... - SOLD OUT

POETRY AND MENTAL HEALTH

EVENT FORMAT: TALK (PANEL)

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 2.30pm - 3.30pm

After a wonderful Hearth session in November 2018, we’re bringing poetry and what it can mean for mental health to Hearth’s older sibling. Join three of the North-West’s best poets, Angela Topping, Angi Holden and Deborah Alma, for a panel discussion that reflects on the written word’s power to express, articulate, and respond to mental health.

BIOGRAPHIES

Angela Topping is a poet. She performs and reads widely, and her poems appear in a range of journals including Poetry Review, and have featured on Poetry Please. Her eighth collection, The Five Petals of Elderflower, was published in 2016. Angela contributed three poems to the anthology Please Hear What I’m Not Saying, edited by Isabelle Kenyon (2018) and a poem about stress to Magma. She was a Writer in Residence at Gladstone’s Library in 2014.

Angi Holden is a freelance writer and creative writing tutor. Her published work includes adult & children’s poetry, short stories & flash fictions, and she been co-editor for the National Flash Fiction Day anthology. Her pamphlet Spools of Thread won the inaugural Mother's Milk Pamphlet Prize and her short story ‘Painting Stones for Virginia’ was a prize-winner in the 2018 Cheshire Prize for Literature. She has a PhD in Creative Writing.

Deborah Alma is a poet, editor, lecturer at Keele University. As the Emergency Poet, she dispenses poetry from a vintage ambulance. She is about to open the world’s first Poetry Pharmacy at Bishop’s Castle. Her poetry collections are True Tales of the Countryside (Emma Press) and Dirty Laundry (Nine Arches). She is the editor of Emergency Poet and The Everyday Poet (both Michael Marra), #MeTooPoems (Fair Acre Press) and Ten Happy Poems (Candlestick Press).

Please note this event is now sold out.

Pádraig Ó Tuama

IN THE SHELTER

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 4pm - 5pm

'It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.' Drawing on this Irish saying, poet, storyteller and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama relates ideas of shelter and welcome to journeys of life, using poetry, story, biblical reflection and prose to open up gentle ways of living well in a troubled world. Interweaving everyday stories with narrative theology, gospel reflections with mindfulness, and Celtic spirituality with poetry, In the Shelter reveals the transformational power of welcome. He talks to the Library’s Warden, Peter Francis.

BIOGRAPHY

Poet and theologian, Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centres around themes of language, religion, conflict and art. Working fluently on the page and with groups of people, Pádraig is a skilled speaker, teacher and group worker. His work has won acclaim in circles of poetry, politics, religion, psychotherapy and conflict analysis.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. Canterbury Press (2017)  

In the Shelter. Hodder & Stoughton / Hachette Ireland (2015)

Sorry for your Troubles. Canterbury Press (2013)

Readings from the Books of Exile. Canterbury Press (2012)

REVIEWS

‘What is so affecting is the compassionate, and resolute way he deals with the dilemma of being an outsider in the institution that claims to speak for the Jesus he loves so much. He writes of his experiences of prejudice and inclusion, courage and danger’ - The Independent

'Reading this personal meditation about life now, we are reminded of Augustine's Confessions and Newman's Apologia: it comes from the heart, it recognises the hurts and the triumphs, and it encourages us to say 'hello' to new things’ - Network Magazine

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Alix Nathan

THE WARLOW EXPERIMENT

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 4pm - 5pm

Herbert Powyss longs to make his mark in the field of science - something consequential enough to present to the Royal Society in London. He hits on a radical experiment in isolation: for seven years a subject will inhabit three rooms in the cellar of a manor house, fitted out with books, paintings and even a chamber organ. The solitude will be totally unrelieved by any social contact; the subject will keep a diary of his daily thoughts and actions. Only one man is desperate enough to apply for the job: John Warlow, a semi-literate labourer with a wife and six children to provide for. The experiment, a classic Enlightenment exercise gone more than a little mad, will have unforeseen consequences for all included.

BIOGRAPHY

Alix Nathan has published three children’s books and written about Christina Rossetti and the eighteenth-century writer and notorious beauty Mary Robinson. Since 2006 she has been writing adult fiction, both contemporary and historical. Her short fiction has been published in Ambit and New Welsh Review, and read on BBC Radio 4. She is the author of a collection of short stories, His Last Fire (2014) and two novels, The Flight of Sarah Battle (2015) and The Warlow Experiment (2019). Alix’s writing is constantly noted for its freshness and imagination: Hilary Mantel has called it ‘the best kind of historical fiction’. Alix was born in London and educated there and at York University where she read English and Music. She has lived in Norwich, Munich, Philadelphia, Birkenhead and now in the Welsh Marches where, with her husband, she owns some ancient woodland.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Warlow Experiment. Serpent’s Tail (2019)

The Flight of Sarah Battle. Parthian (2015)

His Last Fire. Parthian (2014)

REVIEWS

'This is the best kind of historical fiction. Alix Nathan is an original, with a virtuoso touch' - Hilary Mantel

‘Peppered with influences and allusions from Chaucer to Milton, Nathan must be applauded on such a confident, learned and engaging debut collection. His Last Fire is intelligent and impressive, and asks its readers to work with it, to step into its ready crafted world of politics and authentic dialect; of fifers, Foxites and radicals’ - New Welsh Review

Click here to book.

Salley Vickers - SOLD OUT

THE LIBRARIAN

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 5.30pm - 6.30pm

In 1958, Sylvia Blackwell, fresh from one of the new post-war Library Schools, takes up a job as children's librarian in a run-down library in the market town of East Mole. Her mission is to fire the enthusiasm of the children of East Mole for reading. But her love affair with the local married GP, and her befriending of his precious daughter, her neighbour's son and her landlady's neglected grandchild, ignite the prejudices of the town, threatening her job and the very existence of the library with dramatic consequences for them all. The Librarian is a moving testament to the joy of reading and the power of books to change and inspire us all.

BIOGRAPHY

Salley Vickers was born in Liverpool and grew up as the child of parents in the British Communist Party. Her father was a trade union leader and her mother a social worker. She won a state scholarship to St Paul’s Girl’s School and went on to read English at Newnham College Cambridge. She has worked, variously, as a cleaner, a dancer, an artist’s model, a teacher of children with special needs, a university teacher of literature and a psychoanalyst. Her first novel, Miss Garnet’s Angel, became an international word-of-mouth bestseller and a favourite among book clubs and reading groups: she is now the author of more than 10 books, all of which are critically acclaimed bestsellers. She writes full time and lectures widely on many subjects, particularly the connections between, art, literature, psychology and religion.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Librarian. Penguin (2019)

REVIEWS

'The Librarian will wring the heart of anyone who fell in love with books as a child. It is a hymn to the power of children's literature...delightful’ - The Times

'This is a highly charged novel you'll find hard to put down...The novel raises important issues about motherhood and family connections, and examines the survivor's guilt felt by many of the characters that helps to drive the painful resolution’ - The Sunday Express

‘A fascinating exploration of the often equivocal and always cryptic nature of family love’ - the Guardian

Please note that this event has now sold out.

Damian Le Bas

THE STOPPING PLACES

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 5.30pm - 6.30pm

Damian Le Bas grew up surrounded by Gypsy history. His great-grandmother would tell him stories of her childhood in the ancient Romani language; the places her family stopped and worked, the ways they lived, the superstitions and lores of their people. But his own experience of life on the road was limited to Ford Transit journeys from West Sussex to Hampshire to sell flowers. In a bid to better understand his Gypsy heritage, the history of the Britain's Romanies and the rhythms of their life today, Damian set out on a journey to discover the atchin tans, or stopping places – the old encampment sites known only to Travellers. Through winter frosts and summer dawns, from horse fairs to Gypsy churches, neon-lit lay-bys to fern-covered banks, The Stopping Places lives on the road, somewhere between the romanticised Gypsies of old, and their much-maligned descendants of today.

BIOGRAPHY

Damian Le Bas is a writer, poet and filmmaker. After a childhood in Worthing, Sussex, he read Theology at St John's College, Oxford. Since 2009 Damian has worked for Travellers’ Times, which he edited for four years. He has written original drama for BBC radio and is a regular broadcast contributor, most recently presenting A Very British History: Romany Gypsies on BBC4. He is the author of The Stopping Places: a Journey through Gypsy Britain, which was a Radio 4 book of the week in June 2018. The Stopping Places won a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for non-fiction, is a Scotsman book of the year, and was shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year and longlisted for the Jhalak Prize.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Stopping Places. Vintage (2019)

REVIEWS

'Tender and intensely lyrical...the prose is pure delight. The author breathes life into everything he sees...To read The Stopping Places is to better understand the curious history of the Roma and how they have survived into 21st-century Britain' - The Sunday Times

'A fine prose style, vividly conjuring the smell of a hop pillow, the whinnying of a horse fair and the ‘wet-look hairstyles’ of the men, as well as the dead cold of a wagon in winter...An element of memoir clings to this excellent account of folk most of us don’t understand...The end of the book hints at redemption, as Le Bas comes to terms with the conflicts of his dual world. But he is too good a writer to make a meal of it - The Spectator

'Beautifully written and deeply affecting…While this is a beautiful, important book about Gypsy culture, it’s also a moving exploration of what it means to belong' - Daily Telegraph

'He conjures up soaring, poetic descriptions of his surroundings...But The Stopping Places is more than a travelogue. It is also a colourful dive into gypsy culture, history and language... The Stopping Places is an enjoyable and enlightening account of an overlooked part of British society' - The Economist

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Neil Pearson - SOLD OUT

A LIFE IN BOOKS

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 8.30pm - 9.30pm

Neil has appeared in the film adaptions of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, as well as producing The Missing Hancocks for BBC Radio 4. But he is also an antiquarian book dealer, and has recently spent much of his time curating the archive of the late Alan Rickman. Join Neil for a fascinating hour as he discusses his life in books.

BIOGRAPHY

Neil Pearson is an actor, director, author, and antiquarian book dealer. He has starred in West End productions of plays by Tom Stoppard, Michael Frayn and Patrick Marber, among many others; on television he is best known for his work on Drop the Dead Donkey and Between the Lines; and on film he appears in all three Bridget Jones films as Bridget’s boss, Richard Finch. He is the producer/director of BBC Radio 4’s The Missing Hancocks, and is the author of Obelisk, a history of the Obelisk Press, which, in the 1930s, launched the work of Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell and Anais Nin, and in so doing launched the final fight against literary censorship.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Obelisk: A History of Jack Kahane and the Obelisk Press. Liverpool University Press (2007)

Please note this event is now sold out.

Patrick Gale

TAKE NOTHING WITH YOU

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

We’re delighted to welcome Patrick back to Gladfest with his latest book, Take Nothing With You. A Sunday Times bestseller within a week of its launch at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Patrick’s 16th novel tells the story of fifty-something Eustace, a gay Londoner of leisure. In the same week that he falls hopelessly in love with a man he has yet to physically meet, he find out he has cancer of the thyroid. During radioactive iodine therapy – alone in a lead-lined suite with only disposable clothes for company – his memories come circling back…Patrick talks to Damian Barr.

BIOGRAPHY

Born on the Isle of Wight in 1962, raised in London, then Hampshire, Patrick Gale was educated at Winchester and Oxford and has lived on his husband’s farm near Land’s End since 1998. He is the author of 16 novels, two collections of short stories and an autobiography of his friend, Armistead Maupin. His two-part drama, Man In An Orange Shirt, won the International Emmy for Best Miniseries in 2018. He founded and is the artistic director of the North Cornwall Book Festival, now in its seventh year and is a keen cellist, cook and gardener.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Take Nothing With You. Tinder (2019)

A Place Called Winter. Tinder (2015)

A Perfectly Good Man. Fourth Estate (2012)

REVIEWS

Absolutely one of his complete best. So many funny and tender and terrific scenes. He hovers between social comedy and apocalyptic tragedy without the move appearing artificial or contrived. Just a wonderful, wonderful read’ - Stephen Fry

Take Nothing With You poignantly illustrates the curse of being born with musical talent but lacking the essential spark of genius, yet is suffused with the joy and wisdom of Gale’s mid-life reconnection with music.' - the Guardian

‘One of the joys of Gale’s writing is how even the smallest of characters can appear fully formed due, in part, to a charming wickedness alongside deeper observations' - Irish Times

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Dan Richards

OUTPOST: A JOURNEY TO THE WILD ENDS OF THE EARTH

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

There ARE still wild places out there on our crowded planet – and Dan Richards has spent the last few years visiting some of them. From Cairngorm bothies to fire-watch lookouts in Washington State, Roald Dahl’s writing hut to a lighthouse in the North Atlantic, haunted Icelandic ‘houses of joy’ to frozen Russian ghost towns now only home to bears, Dan asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? What can we do to protect them? And what does the future hold for outposts on the edge? A perfect Sunday morning talk.

BIOGRAPHY

Dan Richards was born in Wales in 1982 and has spent many of the intervening years doing ill-advised challenging things. From building giant beechwood airships as part of an art school manifesto to climbing Swiss Alps in the crampon-ed footsteps of his great-great-aunt & uncle, Dan’s books consider humanity’s urges: to make art, to be alone, to challenge ourselves. Holloway, co-authored with Robert Macfarlane & Stanley Donwood; The Beechwood Airship Interviews and Climbing Days have established him as one of the UK’s most exciting young writers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Outpost. Canongate (2019)

Climbing Days. Faber (2017)

Holloway. Faber (2013)

REVIEWS

'Richards has penned a thoughtful and beautifully written meditation on our quest to find spaces in which we can find something unexpected in ourselves and forge a new relationship with the natural world' - the Guardian

'Climbing Days is a special book, not quite like anything I have ever read before, and a law unto itself. It's a wayward, funny, warm, wandering, open, inspiring journey back into the lives of two remarkable people, and out into the remarkable landscapes they explored. Climbing Days belongs in part to a rich comic tradition of mountain-writing which includes Bowman's The Ascent of Rum Doodle and Eric Newby's A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush' - Robert Macfarlane

'Climbing Days is the most enormous fun... Richards has something of Jerome K Jerome about him. It’s a miracle he lived to tell this tale. It is a wonderful achievement. I will be intrigued to see where he takes us next' - The Observer

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Charlie Gladstone & Tamara Harvey

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

Two key figures in the cultural renaissance of our local area, Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, Tamara Harvey, and founder of Pedlars and The Good Life Experience, Charlie Gladstone, talk to the Library’s Warden, Peter Francis, about their cultural plans for the year and hopes for the future.

BIOGRAPHIES

Charlie Gladstone runs Pedlars, The Glynne Arms and the Hawarden Farm Shop. He is the co-founder of The Good Life Experience (with Cerys Matthews and Steve 'Abbo' Abbott), a festival of music, books, food and the great outdoors. Hi is the creator of the Mavericks podcast, and the great-great grandson of William Ewart Gladstone.

Tamara Harvey became Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd in 2015. Previously, Tamara was a freelance director for 15 years, working in the West End, throughout the UK and abroad on classic plays, new writing, musical theatre and in film. Beginning her career at Shakespeare’s Globe, she has also directed at, amongst others, Hampstead Theatre, Bush Theatre, St James Theatre, Finborough Theatre, Trafalgar Studios, Menier Chocolate Factory, Birmingham Rep, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Theatre Royal Northampton and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Tamara is a Trustee of the Peggy Ramsay Foundation, has directed three of the 24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic and has twice been a panel member for the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright. She is a graduate of the University of Bristol and trained at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Illustration: David Setter

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Deborah Wynne - SOLD OUT

READING VICTORIAN RAGS: RECYCLING IN THE WORK OF CHARLES DICKENS

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

In Victorian Britain rags were recycled into paper. Many of the urban poor made their living from collecting rags which were processed in paper mills before eventually being transformed into paper for books and newspapers. The personnel involved in recycling – beggars, orphaned children, rag-and-bone collectors and dealers in waste – featured in the fiction of the period, particularly in the work of Charles Dickens. He was fascinated by the ability of cloth to be transformed into different things, reflecting on how clothing of the very poor was converted into the paper on which his novels were printed. The child in rags appears repeatedly in his novels, whether Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, or Florence Dombey, and Dickens showed that ragged children could be ‘recycled’ into educated citizens, just as the filthy rags they wore could be recycled into books. Join Deborah Wynne to find out more about Dickens’s fascination with the link between rags, children and paper and hear some of the strange stories associated with Victorian textile recycling.  

BIOGRAPHY

Deborah Wynne is Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at the University of Chester. She has published books on the serialisation of the sensation novel in the Victorian periodical press, women’s property in Victorian fiction, and the many afterlives of Charlotte Brontë; her current research projects stem from a fascination with Victorian and Edwardian textile culture. Deborah’s most recent book is the forthcoming Victorian Manufactured Objects, co-edited with Louisa Yates, which is part of a Routledge series. She is currently writing a book on the impact of the Victorian cloth trade on the writing of Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell. Since 2013 Deborah has hosted annual Textile Stories study days, where people can find out more about historical and contemporary aspects of fabric and its representation in literature and film.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Women and Personal Property in the Victorian Novel. Routledge (2010)

The Sensation Novel and the Victorian Family Magazine. AIAA (2001)

REVIEWS

'Deborah Wynne has written an engaging study of the relationship of women to personal property in the Victorian era and how this relationship is depicted in the novels of the time...Wynne writes very well, and her monograph is both thought-provoking and enlightening...I have no hesitation in recommending this very readable and thought-provoking book' - Dickens Quarterly

'Wynne's book is invigorating in the way it breaks with simplistic accounts of women's nineteenth-century dispossession' - English Studies

Please note this event is now sold out.

Pádraig Ó Tuama & Zia Chaudhry

BRIDGING THE DIVIDE

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

In a time of upheaval and division – political, cultural, religious – what can be done to find a common ground? Join Pádraig Ó Tuama (leader of Corrymeela, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation), and Zia Chaudhry (Director of Liverpool John Moore’s Foundation for Citizenship) in conversation with Peter Francis.

BIOGRAPHIES

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and theologian whose work centres around themes of language, religion, conflict and art. Working fluently on the page and with groups of people, Pádraig is a skilled speaker, teacher and group worker. His work has won acclaim in circles of poetry, politics, religion, psychotherapy and conflict analysis.

Zia Chaudhry is a Liverpool-based barrister and author of Just Your Average Muslim. In 2007 he founded the Spirit of Cordoba, a charity that aims to encourage Muslims to participate in the wider community and to foster collaboration with other communities, challenging prejudices. Zia became a Trustee of Gladstone’s Library after being integral to the Library’s initiative to open the country’s first Islamic Reading Room, The House of Wisdom.

Click here to book.

Claire O'Callaghan

EMILY BRONTË REAPPRAISED

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

Emily Brontë: misanthropic, enigmatic, awkward. But was she? Is Heathcliff’s creator really what we think we know of her? In this biography with a twist, Claire O’Callaghan conjures up a new portrait of one of the English canon’s most well-known figures. Join Claire as she discusses Emily’s feminism, her passion for the natural world – and the ‘fake news’ stories she inspired…

BIOGRAPHY

Claire O’Callaghan is a writer and lecturer in English at Loughborough University; she joined the university in 2018, as one of their prestigious ‘Excellence 100’ appointments. She is the author of Sarah Water: Gender and Sexual Politics (2017) and Emily Brontë Reappraised. Her research focuses on Victorian and neo-Victorian literature and culture, with particular emphasis on sexuality, gender, and queerness.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Emily Bronte Reappraised. Saraband (2018)

REVIEWS
'An original, valuable contribution that goes a long way to rehabilitating the image of one of the most influential female figures in English literature' - Northern Soul

‘Thoughtful...an informally written, no-nonsense reappraisal...much more readable than most jargon-riggen academic articles' - Times Literary Supplement

'A fascinating read' - Mail on Sunday

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Charlotte Higgins

RED THREAD: ON MAZES AND LABYRINTHS

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

The tale of how the hero Theseus killed the Minotaur, finding his way out of the labyrinth using Ariadne’s ball of red thread, is one of the most intriguing, suggestive and persistent of all myths, and the labyrinth – the beautiful, confounding and terrifying building created for the half-man, half-bull monster – is one of the foundational symbols of human ingenuity and artistry. Charlotte Higgins tracks the origins of the story of the labyrinth in the poems of Homer, Catullus, Virgil and Ovid, and with them builds an ingenious edifice of her own. A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.

BIOGRAPHY

Charlotte Higgins is the author of three books on aspects of the ancient world. She is the Guardian's chief culture writer, contributing long-form articles and editorials to the paper. She spent a year in 2013-14 working on a series of essays about the state of the BBC, which she adapted into her book This New Noise. She has also written for the New Yorker, Prospect and the New Statesman; and has written and presented documentaries for BBC radio. Charlotte won the 2010 Classical Association prize, awarded for the person deemed to have done most to bring classics to a wide audience. She is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and has an honorary doctorate from Staffordshire University, in her home region of the Potteries

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Red Thread: On Mazes and Labyrinths. Jonathan Cape (2018)

REVIEWS

'Any bookshelf would be graced by the presence of Red Thread...It asks readers to surrender to the unpredictable pleasures of getting lost… playful and gorgeously written' - the Guardian

'A serious, substantial, scholarly and yet also highly personal book about mazes…Red Thread is a book to admire as much as to enjoy' - The Spectator

'The joy of travelling with Higgins…[is that Red Thread] delights in the blinking movement from one subject to the next. In a few pages, we travel from Middlemarch to Ovid, from Arachne to Velázquez and his painting The Spinners and then back to George Eliot. It sounds dizzying; in truth it is illuminating' - New Statesman

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Rachel Hewitt

IN HER NATURE: WOMEN IN THE MOUNTAINS

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

Mountaineering literature is a traditionally male-dominated genre. Stephen Harper’s best-selling Ladykiller Peak (1965) claimed that mountaineering by ‘the weaker sex’ was a form of ‘women’s rebellion against man’s natural assumption of command’. Nevertheless, women have succeeded in summitting, climbing, and exploring some of the most remote, extreme landscapes in the world. Rachel's talk focuses on the spectacular life and writings of the fin-de-siècle mountaineer Lizzie Le Blond (1860-1934), responsible for establishing the Ladies’ Alpine Club in 1907. An avid nature-photographer, tobogganist, ice-skater, long-distance cyclist, and racing driver, Le Blond also became one of the pioneers of so-called ‘manless’ climbing, and undertook the first women-only traverse of Piz Palü in 1900. Victorian and Edwardian female climbers like Le Blond contended with voluminous gowns, ill-fitting equipment, constraining social mores, but nevertheless achieved global mountaineering success and fame, publishing extensively before being written out of literary history in the twentieth century. 

Le Blond is a key figure in Rachel's forthcoming book on women, nature and nature-writing, In Her Nature (Chatto & Windus). This book will marry the focus on landscape evident in Rachel's first book, Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey (Granta, 2010), with the feminist history of her second book, A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind (Granta, 2017). This talk will explore how women’s experiences of the natural world relate to a male-dominated history of exploration and landscape representation; to restore lost and unsung women’s voices; and to reveal to readers an unfamiliar, hitherto hidden natural world: her nature, seen through women’s eyes in the past and present. 

BIOGRAPHY

Rachel Hewitt is a writer and academic whose first book, Map of a Nation: a Biography of the Ordnance Survey (2010) was called ‘history at its best’ by historian A. N. Wilson and won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction. Rachel was a New Generation Thinker for the AHRC and BBC Radio 3, as well as Weinrebe Research Fellow in Life-Writing at Oxford. She is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle and her latest book, A Revolution of Feeling: the Decade that Forged the Modern Mind, was released in 2017. It charts the progress of the 1790s, what politician Edmund Burke called ‘a revolution in sentiments’.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind. Granta (2017)

Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey. Granta (2011)

REVIEWS

'In this endlessly absorbing history, Rachel Hewitt narrates the history of our printed maps from King George II's "Scotophobic" cartographies to the three-dimensional computerised elevations of today...In her lively and informative narrative, Hewitt highlights the Ordnance project's legion of draughtsmen, surveyors, dreamers and eccentrics’ - The Observer

‘Hewitt tackles the subject exuberantly...the book won me over. The sweep of its history has true grandeur, and the incidentals of the tale are like desirables found in a cluttered antique shop’ - The Times

‘Erudite and compelling...One of Map of a Nation's many accomplishments is to show how adventurous and imaginative engineering and mapmaking could - and still can - be. It is readable, informative and its content often unexpected’ - History Today

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Damian Barr

YOU WILL BE SAFE HERE (DAMIAN TALKS TO SARAH PERRY)

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

We’re delighted to welcome Damian back to Gladfest – he was the very first event of our very first festival! You Will Be Safe Here is Damian’s first novel. Set in South Africa in 1901, at the height of the Boer War, Sarah van der Watt and her son are taken from their farm by force to Bloaemfontein Concentration Camp – where the English promise they will be safe. A deeply moving novel of connected parts, inspired by the true contemporary story of Raymond Buys, You Will Be Safe Here explores our capacity for cruelty and kindness. Join Damian as he talks to novelist Sarah Perry about writing this extraordinary novel.

BIOGRAPHY

Damian Barr is an award-winning writer, columnist, journalist, and salonierre. His memoir, Maggie & Me, received rave reviews for its warm, human clear-eyed depiction of surviving Thatcher’s Britain. He writes regularly for The Times, Guardian, Independent and The Big Issue, and his Literary Salons, first at Shoreditch House and now at the Savoy, regularly feature the world’s best new and established writers. Damian recently interviewed the late Diana Athill in an extraordinary interview where Athill candidly shared moments from her life: on condition that it was broadcast after her death. Whether interviewing or writing, Damian’s talent is for unearthing humane – and human – stories.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

You Will Be Safe Here. Bloomsbury (2019)

Maggie and Me. Bloomsbury (2014)

REVIEWS

'Barr's writing has a lightness of touch and warm humour which makes it easy to root for him...His life has become a triumph’ - The Observer

‘A stunning dissection of human barbarism. It tells a story so powerful and upsetting that it's a wonderful reminder of how fiction can illuminate the indignities visited upon those the world has mistreated and then forgotten’ - Irish Times

‘A poignant debut, written with empathy...Barr's first novel is distinguished by its compassion, its wisdom and its remarkable sense of poetry’ - the Guardian

‘A gripping, heartbreaking tale of uncomfortable histories and the resilience of love’ - Graham Norton

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Melanie Reid - SOLD OUT

THE WORLD I FELL OUT OF

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

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

On Good Friday, 2010, Times journalist Melanie Reid fell from her horse, breaking her neck and fracturing her lower back. She was 52. Paralysed from the top of her chest down, she was to spend almost a full year in hospital, determinedly working towards gaining as much movement in her limbs as possible and learning to navigate her way through a world that had previously been invisible to her. As a journalist Melanie had always turned to words and now, on a spinal ward peopled by an extraordinary array of individuals similarly at sea, she found writing was her life-line. The World I Fell Out Of is an account of that year, and of those that followed. It is the untold ‘back story’ behind Melanie’s award-winning ‘Spinal Column’ in The Times Magazine and a testament to ‘the art of getting on with it’.

BIOGRAPHY

Melanie Reid MBE was an award-winning columnist at The Herald in Glasgow before joining The Times, reporting, editing and commenting. After breaking her neck and back in a riding accident in 2010, she began 'Spinal Column', published in The Times Magazine every week. She was named Columnist of the Year at the 2011 British Press Awards, and Broadsheet Columnist of the Year in 2012. Reviews of The World I Fell Out Of (2018) echo how Melanie’s journalism is received: it’s been called wise, funny, vital and kind.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The World I Fell Out Of. Fourth Estate (2018)

REVIEWS

‘Above all, the book is a plea to those still living with well-functioning bodies to be aware of what they have. To love themselves and relish their ability to dance, run, go to the lavatory without help. With serious disability can come wisdom and perspective, and Reid passionately urges fellow women to set aside their self-loathing and “get out there and live”' - Sunday Times

'Reid reveals with insight, candour and courage what it’s like to find yourself suddenly inhabiting a world that was previously unknown to you…a powerful, life-affirming memoir’ - The Observer

‘Reid’s writing is excellent, beautifully paced and sometimes shockingly truthful. And my God, this woman is brave, not only for revealing all the gory details, but for questioning those tiresome platitudes about positivity...Not a breath of fresh air, more of a hurricane’ - The Times

‘Reading this will change you’ - Andrew Marr

Please note this event is now sold out.

Theatr Clwyd

PAVILION

EVENT FORMAT: TALK

WHEN: Friday, 6th September | 8pm - 9pm

Be the first ever audience to see the new black comedy from one of Wales’ most exciting new playwrights. Emily White’s Pavilion will have its world premiere at Theatr Clwyd on Thursday, 26th September. Three weeks earlier, Gladfest will be the first ever audience to hear an exclusive extract from the play and have the chance to ask the playwright, Emily White, the director, Tamara Harvey and the stars of the show about this bold and brilliant new play. Set in a run-down spa town in Wales, Pavilion tells the story of a community on the closing night of the much-loved local night spot, as young and old drink, dance, fight and snog their way into the early hours.  

Emily says 'the play is influenced by Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, and one of his poems is included in the text with permission from the Dylan Thomas Trust.'

Please note: this performance may not have AV facilities.

BIOGRAPHIES

Emily White is an emerging screenwriter and playwright. She studied acting at RADA and worked as an actress for many years before changing tack and getting an MA in theatre writing at the University of York. Emily is part of BBC Wales Writersroom group, Welsh Voices 2018/19.

Tamara Harvey became Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd in 2015. Previously, Tamara was a freelance director for 15 years, working in the West End, throughout the UK and abroad on classic plays, new writing, musical theatre and in film. Beginning her career at Shakespeare’s Globe, she has also directed at, amongst others, Hampstead Theatre, Bush Theatre, St James Theatre, Finborough Theatre, Trafalgar Studios, Menier Chocolate Factory, Birmingham Rep, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Theatre Royal Northampton and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Tamara is a Trustee of the Peggy Ramsay Foundation, has directed three of the 24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic and has twice been a panel member for the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright. She is a graduate of the University of Bristol and trained at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Click here to book.

Michael Nobbs

THE ART OF THE TINY ADVENTURE

EVENT FORMAT: MASTERCLASS

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 10am - 2pm

In Drawing Your Life, artist and podcaster Michael Nobbs urged us to take the time to think, draw and create. At Gladfest he shares the concept of ‘Tiny Adventures’. Discover what these are and how to make these gentle and mindful excursions for pleasure and inspiration a regular part of your life.

BIOGRAPHY

Michael is a writer, artist and blogger. He runs 'Sustainably Creative', a website that offers inspiration and encouragement to those struggling with creative projects. Michael’s first book, Drawing Your Life, was made one page at a time using his mantra of ‘one creative thing a day’.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Drawing Your Life: Learn to See, Record, and Appreciate Life's Small Joys. Penguin (2013)

REVIEWS

‘If, like me, you were scarred by a critical art teacher at school, Michael’s approach will help you come back to drawing as fun. And through it, to appreciate the small things that you notice as you draw’ - Nourish Creativity

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Sarah Perry - SOLD OUT

HOW TO WRITE GOOD

EVENT FORMAT: MASTERCLASS

WHEN: Saturday, 7th September | 2.30pm - 6.30pm

Join one of the UK’s most critically-acclaimed and popular novelists for an afternoon learning how to write ‘good’, whether than means improving your sentence structure for maximum impact, or musing on the very nature of the human soul…

BIOGRAPHY

Sarah Perry is the author of Melmoth, The Essex Serpent and After Me Comes the Flood: the latter two were Sunday Times bestsellers and all three were critically acclaimed. The Essex Serpent was Waterstone’s Book of the Year 2016; Melmoth was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the world’s largest literary prize for young writers. The three novels have come to be known as Sarah’s neo-Gothic trilogy, and Sarah is one of Britain’s foremost contemporary writers, known for her rich, evocative writing. Sarah often delivers public lectures, most recently the Lancaster Priory lecture on literature and religion. She is a regular contributor to the literary press, including the London Review of Books, The Times, and the Guardian.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Melmoth. Serpent's Tail (2018)

The Essex Serpent. Serpent's Tail (2016)

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

REVIEWS

'Perry’s masterly piece of postmodern gothic is one of the great literary achievements of our young century and deserves all the prizes and praise that will be heaped upon it' - the Guardian

'A haunting book that speaks to mankind’s worst atrocities' - The Independent

‘A book to make you want to be a better person' - the Guardian

Please note this event is now sold out

Oliver Emanuel

WHAT IS SAID AND WHAT IS NOT SAID

EVENT FORMAT: MASTERCLASS

WHEN: Sunday, 8th September | 10am - 2pm

What is the secret of keeping an audience enthralled? What techniques do playwrights use to build tension in their scripts? Join Oliver Emanuel for a fascinating workshop on text and subtext, dramatic tension and exploring how to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Suitable for playwrights at all levels.

BIOGRAPHY

Oliver Emanuel is an internationally award-winning playwright based in Scotland. He has written over 30 plays for both stage and radio, and is also Reader in Playwriting at the University of St Andrews and an Associate Playwright at the Playwright Studio Scotland. Oliver is currently working on new work for BBC Radio 4.

The Truth About Hawaii won Best Audio Drama at the ISNTD Festival 2018. Flight won a Herald Angel at the Edinburgh International Festival 2017; and has recently completed a three-month New York Times Critic’s Pick run at the McKittrick Hotel, New York. He was a lead writer on Emile Zola: Blood, Sex & Money for BBC Radio 4 which won Best Adaptation at the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2017. His English language version of Jan Sobrie’s Titus won The People’s Choice Victor Award at IPAY 2015. Dragon was the first play for young people to be performed at the Edinburgh International Festival and won Best Show for Children at the UK Theatre Awards in 2014

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The 306: Dusk. Oberon Books (2018)

The 306: Day. Oberon Books (2017)

The 306: Dawn. Oberon Books (2016)

REVIEWS

'Absolutely exceptional in its sheer dramatic force’ - The Scotsman

‘This is most brilliantly moving of elegies’ - The Herald

‘A touching tribute to all those wasted lives’ - the Guardian

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