Pop up books

Round & About

literary festival

 This year’s Henley Literary Festival kicks off with a trio of exciting pop-up events in February.

 The very first event of the year features Michael Rosen on paperback publication day for Getting Better: Life lessons on going under, getting over it, and getting through it.

From We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to The Boris Letters, as poet, broadcaster, Children’s Laureate and author of over 200 books Michael Rosen has been cheering us up for over 50 years. Over the same time he has grieved the loss of a child, lived with debilitating chronic illness and faced death itself when seriously unwell in hospital. Despite this he has survived and has even learned to find joy in life in the aftermath of tragedy.

Michael comes to Henley on 8th February at 6pm to talk to Dr Rachel Clarke, author of Breathtaking and Your Life in My Hands.

On the same day, Telegraph columnist and best-selling author, Bryony Gordon returns for a special pre-publication event around Mad Woman: How to survive a world that thinks you’re the problem. Eight years on from her ground-breaking Mad Girl, this book is an insightful, fearless and brilliantly witty reflection on the eternal quest for a ‘happy life’, where she reassesses everything she thought she knew about mental health. What if our notion of what makes us happy is the very thing that’s making us sad?

 From burnout and binge eating to menopause, OCD and sobriety, Bryony tackles her personal challenges and demons with her trademark blend of compassion, honesty and humour.

Completing the trio of pop-up events in February is none other than national treasure and broadcaster Lorraine Kelly – joining us to discuss her own career and writing on 20th February at 7.30pm in conversation with Steve Jones. After making her Henley Literary Festival debut last year, hosting the Book Club event, she’s back with her poignant debut novel The Island Swimmer.  

Festival director Harriet Reed Ryan said: “Our 2023 Festival was our best-ever, with record ticket sales, a stellar line up and glowing feedback from our audiences, authors, interviewers and sponsors so we’ve got our work cut out for our 2024 programme, however we’re kicking off this year in style with some great names. These first names for 2024 show Henley is an important literary location, attracting big names to the town to promote their books during publication week and we’re really excited to welcome these names to Henley for our wonderful audiences.”

 Tickets are available here and on 01491 575948 (10am-2pm Monday -Thursday). Visit the website for information on becoming a Friend of the Festival for priority booking and other benefits.

 The 2024 Henley Literary Festival runs from 28th September – 6th October.

Cliveden Literary Festival reveals speakers

Karen Neville

literary festival

The stunning Berkshire stately home will once again welcome a wealth of authors for the festival in October

A stellar line-up is being assembled for this year’s Cliveden Literary Festival which returns on October 15th and 16th at the iconic stately house in Berkshire.

This year’s festival features expert panels on Putin’s Russia, chaired by Simon Sebag Montefiore, and Zelensky’s Ukraine, with Serhii Plokhy and Anne Applebaum; Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful on his rise to the top of the fashion world; a constellation of all-star novelists on their craft; expanding history’s horizons with William Dalrymple and Peter Frankopan; Succession’s Brian Cox on becoming Logan Roy; and Louise Perry daring to question the sexual revolution.

Renowned as a forum for lively discussion, innovative ideas, and political debate, the Cliveden Literary Festival has been described by Ian McEwan as ‘probably the world’s best small literary festival,’ and by Alain de Botton as ‘the most dignified and beautiful literary festival on the planet’.

Daniel Spiller has reached the finals in the Schwarzkopf Professional Colour Technician of the Year category and now awaits his fate at a black-tie event on November 28th at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London.

The stylists submitted four photographs each demonstrating the breadth of their hairdressing expertise, showcasing evidence of both technical skill and creative ability. They will now submit a further four images for the final round of judging, which takes place in September.

A stellar line-up is being assembled for this year’s Cliveden Literary Festival

Run by a committee of writers and historians – Andrew Roberts, Natalie Livingstone, Catherine Ostler and Simon Sebag Montefiore – the Cliveden Literary Festival draws on Cliveden House’s unique history as a literary salon frequented by writers and thinkers including Alexander Pope, Alfred Lord Tennyson, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift and Sir Winston Churchill.

Natalie Livingstone, Chairman of the Cliveden Literary Festival, said: “We’re delighted to announce some of the speakers who will be joining us at the Cliveden Literary Festival this October. As ever, this year’s festival will see our fascinating line-up of speakers discuss – and at times fiercely debate – the most pressing issues of our era.”

Monica Ali • Brian Cox • Peter Frankopan • Edward Enninful • William Boyd • Anne Applebaum • Robert Harris • William Dalrymple • Clarissa Ward • Sebastian Barry • Abi Morgan • Serhii Plokhy • Olesya Khromeychuk • Louise Perry • Jonathan Freedland • Howard Jacobson • Tina Brown • Ben Okri • Mark Galeotti • Julia Samuel • Merve Emre • David Nott • Katy Hessel • Radek Sikorski • Yana Peel • Flora Yuchnovich • Michael Gove • Andrea Marcolongo • Inaya Folarin Iman • Daisy Dunn • Nadhim Zahawi • Robert Hardman • Wesley Kerr • Sam Leith • Joanne Cash • Jonathan Haslam • Mikhail Zygar Harry Mount • Antonia Romeo • Luke Johnson • Albert Read • Octavius Black • Simon Heffer • Andrea Elliott • Lucasta Miller • Alice Thomson • Camilla Tominey • Roy Foster • Wyre Davies • Natalie Livingstone • Simon Sebag Montefiore • Catherine Ostler • Andrew Roberts

More info...

A sell-out success every year, tickets are on sale now clivedenliteraryfestival.org

Woking Lit Fest

Round & About

literary festival

Book lovers’ paradise at the third Woking Literary Festival  

This year’s Woking Literary Festival has something for the entire family with author talks, popup bookshops and a masterclass for aspiring authors, literary lovers are in for a treat. 

The festival returns for a third year to The Lightbox gallery and museum with all events supporting the Art and Wellbeing programme at The Lightbox charity which provides creative workshops for those who would otherwise not have access to the arts and heritage services. 

The event runs from 18th to 29th April with something for younger family members to start with, the charming tale of The Bear and the Piano by David Lichfield, the book is complete with real piano sounds played by the bear. 

Among other highlights of the festival are poetry day on the 27th when spoken word performers and poets will take part in an open mic event featuring comic and published performance poet Robert Garnham. Children’s poet Joseph Coelho will deliver his fun interactive poetry experience. 

April 23rd is celebrating World Book Night and William Shakespeare’s birthday with a lunch-time talk by author Marie Phillips on her new book Oh, I Do Like To Be… a silly, modern update of A Comedy of Errors. The evening brings with mystery and drama at the Bestselling Women of Crime Panel featuring authors Amanda Robson, C L Taylor, Mel Sherratt and Katerina Diamond sharing the secrets behind their successes. 

Local history will be in the spotlight on the 24th with author and local historian Richard Langtree who has spent 15 years researching the life story of Woking’s benefactor William Hamilton.  

The Lightbox Thursday Late Opening returns on the 25th with a Joke in the Box Special while the following night it will be all about raising funds to boost the Art and Wellbeing programme  with the Lost in Literature quiz night – show off your literary knowledge, raise money for a good cause and the winning team gets to take home signed books from the featured authors. 

Recent best-selling writer A J Pearce will be talking about her debut novel Dear Mrs Bird and the complex research that went into it and revealing news on upcoming adventures in the forthcoming sequel. 

Historical fiction author Alison Weir is back for the third year in a row with the latest instalment of her Six Tudor Queens series, Anne of Kleve: Queen of Secrets and Alison will be happy to sign copies bought in The Lightbox shop. 

The festival will close with a Guardian Masterclass from publisher Scott Pack who will offer no-nonsense advice for budding writers to help get their work noticed by publishers, write an engaging synopsis and what to include in the all-important cover letter. 

  For more information about the Woking LIterary Festival and to book for any of the events visit www.thelightbox.org.uk or call 01483 737837.