November 2018

Hearth celebrated its fourth birthday in February 2018. We love our micro-festival, and so do you. Over the last four years you’ve given us consistently great feedback: you love the writers, the chat, the food, and the fire. There’s only one drawback - being split over two days means a lot of you have been missing out on the Sunday morning. So we’ve worked to change that. Our new day-long Hearth keeps everything you love, and puts it all on one day...

This autumn, Hearth took place on Saturday, 3rd November 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.

10am - 11am: Angela Topping - Poetry and Mental Health

Mental health has long been intimately linked with poetic expression. Reading and writing poetry can help to articulate struggles and find shared experiences; it can contribute to wellbeing and form part of a strategy of coping. It can be private musing or a public declaration. Angela Topping recently contributed to a new anthology of poetry on the theme of mental health. In this reflective hour she will deliver a reading on mental health and wellbeing. We are delighted to welcome back Angela Topping to Gladstone’s Library. Angela was Writer in Residence for one month in 2013.

Angela Topping is a poet. She performs and reads widely, including in schools, libraries, bookshops and hospices, and her poems appear in a range of journals including Poetry Review. Her eighth collection, 'The Five Petals of Elderflower', was published in 2016. Angela recently contributed three poems to the anthology Please Hear What I’m Not Saying, edited by Isabelle Kenyon (2018).

11.30am - 12.30pm: Robyn Cadwallader - Book of Colours

London, 1321: In a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. Book of Colours is Robyn Cadwallder’s second historical novel and it promises to be every bit as wonderful as her first. Sarah Dunant said in her review of the book, ‘Robyn Cadwallader fashions words with the same delicate, colourful intensity that her 14th Century illuminators brought to their illustrated manuscripts’. Join Robyn for an exclusive reading – the first in the UK! We are delighted to welcome back Robyn Cadwallader to Gladstone’s Library. Robyn was Writer in Residence for a month in 2015.

Robyn Cadwallader is an editor and writer who lives in the countryside near Canberra, Australia. She is the author of the poetry collection 'i painted unafraid' (2009) and a non-fiction book based on her PhD thesis about viriginity and female agency in the Middle Ages. Robyn’s first novel was 2015’s The Anchoress, received with critical and popular acclaim. Her second novel, Book of Colours, was published by HarperCollins in 2018

12.30pm - 1.30pm: Lunch

1.30pm - 2.30pm: Liz Flanagan - From Yorkshire to Arcosi: Travels through Young Adult Writing

Liz Flanagan’s writing is known for its gripping, thrilling tone and powerful friendships. Her first young adult novel, Eden Summer, tells the story of Jess and her friend Eden, and is set in West Yorkshire. The two girls know everything about one another – but when Eden goes missing Jess realises there’s a lot Eden has never shared. Liz’s second novel, the forthcoming Dragon Daughter (October 2018), is a story of adventure, migration and belonging, aimed at children of nine years and upwards. Set on the imaginary island of Arcosi, it is told through the eyes of servant girl Milla, who discovers the last four dragon eggs and is forced to keep them secret amidst growing tensions. In her Hearth event, Liz reads from both her novels, discusses questions of friendship and identity, and talks about the importance of landscape, whether real or imagined. An event for all ages!

Liz Flanagan is a novelist who spent several years running the Ted Hughes Arvon centre, having previously worked as a commissioning editor. The Bookseller highlighted her latest novel, Dragon Daughter, as ‘one to watch’; her first novel, Eden Summer (2016), was called ‘a powerful exploration of the extraordinary power of friendship’. Liz lives in Hebden Bridge, and her novels reflect her love of landscape and lifelong engagement with children’s literature.

3.30pm - 4.30pm: Tara Guha - The Pure Joy of Writing, Wherever You Can

Tara Guha is an expert at writing in the snatches of time that others might think are impossible. Her first novel, 2015’s bestselling Untouchable Things, was written as her daughter napped; this summer her Twitter feed detailed her new novel being written and edited in tents, during swimming breaks, amid swarms of bees and on trains. The adrenaline of the writing process clearly influenced Untouchable Things: it’s a taut, tense thriller praised for its ‘outstanding ensemble cast’. Tara will share her experiences of writing her first book, and share news of her new project.

Tara Guha is a writer whose debut novel Untouchable Things (2015) won the Luke Bitmead bursary, a prize established to help writers and challenge stigma around mental health. After studying English at Cambridge, Tara returned to creative writing following a career in classical music PR. Untouchable Things became an Amazon Kindle bestseller and was praised for its beautiful writing and accomplished, suspenseful narrative. Tara’s current project is also a suspense novel, exploring a cross-cultural friendship against a backdrop of 9/11, tensions between immigrant communities – and an ongoing inquest.

When she’s not writing, Tara enjoys hill walking, singing and playing piano. She once managed all three at once, but that’s another story.

5pm - 6pm: Reading and Reflection with all four Hearth speakers 

From 6pm: Dinner