Hearth - February 2018

February 2018

Gladstone’s Library is delighted to announce the line-up for its spring micro-festival, Hearth, which takes place over the weekend of 3rd - 4th February 2018 in the cosy common room of our residential library. This intimate literary festival offers keen writers the opportunity to pick up hints and tips, and ask questions of published authors about their experiences. It also encourages anyone interested in the world of books to find out more about the writing and publishing process.

Saturday, 3rd February 

2.30pm - 3.30pm: Dipika Mukherjee - Challenges and Rewards: Writing the Political Asian Novel

Join Dipika Mukherjee as she discusses her second novel Shambala Junction (2016), a sharp exploration of corruption within international adoptions. Dipika will also consider her debut novel, the contentious Ode to Broken Things (2016), a story set among the political scandals of modern Malaysia.

Dipika Mukherjee is an author and sociolinguist. Her second novel, Shambala Junction, won the UK Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2016. Her debut novel, republished as Ode to Broken Things, was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. As well as long-form fiction, Dipika writes short stories and poetry, including the collections Rules of Desire (2015) and The Third Glass of Wine (2015). After periods spent teaching all over the world, Dipika is currently affiliated to the Buffett Institute for Global Studies, where she is finishing an academic manuscript on Migrant Women and the Language of Civic Participation in Malaysia.

4pm - 5pm: Annabel Abbs - History of the Domestic Goddess: Lost Food Writers of the Past

How did ingredients change from the mid sixteenth century to the swinging sixties? Why did Eliza Acton and Mrs Beeton strike such a chord with the nation? Who were the earliest writers of the form? Join novelist and food writer Annabel Abbs as she answers these questions and more, via an exploration of some of her inherited cookery book collection.

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.

5.30pm - 6.30pm: Reading and Reflection with all four Hearth speakers 

6.45pm - 7.30pm: Dinner

Sunday, 4th February

10.15am - 11.15am: Sheena Wilkinson - Soldiers, Solidarity and Suffragettes

Sheena Wilkinson’s historical novels Name Upon Name (2015) and Star By Star are set in Ireland during World War One and focus on war, identity and suffrage. In this hour she considers how to create characters who are accessible to a modern reader but not ahistorical; how to write a ‘quiet’ novel which doesn’t take place on the front line; and how to negotiate the complexities of the past.

Sheena Wilkinson is a novelist, short-story writer, and Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is the author of several young adult novels, and has been called ‘one of our foremost writers for young people’ by the Irish Times. Her novels are ostensibly for younger readers, but the questions they ask are relevant to all ages and epochs.

11.45am - 12.45pm: Jenny Lewis - Gilgamesh Retold: Writing Poetry from Research

Jenny Lewis’s new version of the ancient poem the Epic of Gilgamesh speaks to very contemporary geo-political concerns. Jenny’s father served in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in the First World War and in this hour she explains how her investigations into his service, and into Sumerian culture, led to her discovery of the Gilgamesh epic, her subsequent all-consuming interest in it and the way that this research has influenced her writing.

Jenny Lewis is a poet, playwright, children’s author, songwriter and educator. Now teaching poetry at Oxford University, she originally trained as a painter at the Ruskin School of Art. Her most recent creative projects include ‘Writing Mesopotamia’, a collaboration designed to use poetry to foster greater understanding between English and Arabic-speaking communities. Gilgamesh Retold, Jenny’s re-imagining of the Epic of Gilgamesh will be published by Carcanet in 2018.

12.45pm: Lunch