RICHMOND LITERATURE FESTIVAL
by Anna Scott
Local literature festivals seem to be everywhere these days, or perhaps it’s only that I’ve just started to notice them. In the case of the Richmond-Upon-Thames Literature Festival this certainly isn’t a new thing, with the event now approaching its 23rd successful year. Running throughout November at various local venues, the Richmond Literature Festival is showcasing a wide range of talks and workshops to appeal to any book lover, whether it’s celebrity authors, Shakespeare or the supernatural that takes your fancy. Here are a few highlights well worth your attention, including some choice picks for younger members of the family.
On Sunday 16th November at the Orange Tree Theatre, actor Sheila Hancock will be celebrating the publication of her first novel, Miss Carter’s War, a tale of postwar Britain seen through the eyes of Marguerite Carter, a south London school teacher and the first woman to receive an English degree from the University of Cambridge. As well as being one of the country’s most highly regarded actors, Shelia Hancock has sold over a million copies of her books including her autobiography, The Two of Us.
Another event for those interested in 20th-century history, biographer Helen Rappaport seeks to tell the story of the forgotten Romanov daughters in her new book Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses. Join the author at Hampton Library on 26th November at 7.30pm where she will be discussing her work.
Author and dance critic for The Guardian Judith Mackrell will be talking about Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation on 11th November at the Bingham. The book examines the lives of some key female icons of the 1920s, including Josephine Baker and Tallulah Bankhead, and how they succeeded in both making their mark and influencing the role of women in society for many years to come.
In addition to learning from the authors, Richmond Literature Festival is providing you the opportunity to practice the craft yourself with a number of writing workshops taking place throughout the month. At St Mary’s University on 24th November, you can take part in a Short Story Workshop led by writer and novelist Scott Bradfield. Russell Schechter (aka Jay Russell) will be holding the workshop Writing Genre Fiction at the same venue on 27th November to advise those who are interested in writing science fiction, horror, crime and fantasy.
The star attraction for many kids (and a few adults too, I’m sure) has to be the appearance of the great Jacqueline Wilson at Duke Street Church on 22nd November. The former Children’s Laureate and creator of the famous Tracy Beaker will be talking about the publication of her 100th (!) book, Opal Plumstead.
And if the kids want to get involved in some writing of their own, local author Mary Evans will be running her Story Stew at Orleans House Gallery on 15th November. Suitable for kids aged 5 to 10, Mary will help the children (and adults) with story structures and finding their creativity. Oh, and the most important thing of all—she’ll show how writing can be fun!
Take a look at the Richmond Literature Festival website for details of all the events, information on how to book tickets and to download a brochure.