2016 Chiswick Book Festival in pictures

2016 Chiswick Book Festival in pictures

2016 was a big year for children’s authors. We had both Jacqueline Wilson, author of many, many books including the Tracy Beaker series, and Cressida Cowell, who had just completed her series  How to Train Your Dragon: 12 books which she started writing in 1998, which have been phenomenally successful and spawned blockbuster films.

Victoria Hislop, number one best-seller with her first novel The Island, talked about her latest book Cartes Postales from Greece. S.J. Watson, author of Before I Go To Sleep and Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train discussed having their books, both psychological thrillers, made into films.

Below also: comedians Shappi Khorsandi and Andy Hamilton; authors of the Ladybird books for grown-ups series Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris; and Waterstones manager Annakarin Klerfalk and editor of The Chiswick Calendar Bridget Osborne, hosting the first Local Authors Night at Waterstones, inviting local authors to promote their books, including Madhuri Bose, Diane Chandler and Peter Oborne.

Queen Victoria at Chiswick House

Queen Victoria at Chiswick House

Interview with Esme Whittaker, curator of Chiswick House by Bridget Osborne

September 2016

The Chiswick Book Festival 2016 opened with a session at Chiswick House with A N Wilson, biographer of Queen Victoria, and Daisy Goodwin, screen writer of the hugely popular TV series Victoria. Esme Whittaker, curator of Chiswick House for English Heritage, spoke to Bridget Osborne about Queen Victoria’s association with Chiswick House.

Queen Victoria was a frequent visitor to Chiswick House. She came as a young woman in her twenties and was hugely impressed with the Italian style of the building, the beauty of the gardens and the hospitality of the Duke of Devonshire.

She came back as a middle aged woman when her son the Prince of Wales was living at Chiswick House and there is a picture of her surrounded by her 300 of her family and the great and the good of the time at a garden party hosted by the Prince of Wales. The picture, by Louis William Desanges, was put on display for the opening of the festival.

Painting above: The Royal Garden Party at Chiswick, c.1876-79, Autotype with hand-colouring. Royal Collection Trust

Festival “challenging and informative” says Fr Kevin

This year’s book festival “challenging and informative”

Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Fr Kevin Morris

September 2016

Art and religion overlap, says Fr Kevin Morris. Sessions at this year’s festival which he has enjoyed most have been ‘challenging and informative’ and he’s glad the church is at the heart of the festival.

Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey at the 2016 festival

Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey at the 2016 festival

September 2016

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey was at the 2016 festival to interview Mary Portas about her autobiography Shop Girl. Jane told The Chiswick Calendar why she always likes coming to the Chiswick Book Festival.

Comedian Richard Herring pops in to the 2016 festival

Comedian Richard Herring pops in to the 2016 festival

September 2016

Stand-up comedian and comedy writer Richard Herring pops in to a see mate performing at the 2016 Chiswick Book Festival.

At home with festival Director Torin Douglas

2016 Book Festival

Interview with Torin Douglas by Nick Raikes

September 2016

Chiswick Book Festival Director Torin Douglas talks to Nick Raikes about the line-up for the 2016 festival and the history of the festival. Talking at Torin’s home, and looking at the bookshelves stacked with books, Torin makes something of a confession.

Ted Sandling on mudlarking

Ted Sandling on mudlarking

Interview by Bridget Osborne

August 2016

Ted Sandling, author of London in Fragments, appeared at the Chiswick Book Festival in 2016 to talk about mudlarking. Ted studied art history and worked for Christie’s Education. He spends a lot of his time mudlarking: wandering about the foreshore of the River Thames looking for fragments of history.

In his hugely entertaining and informing book London in Fragments he tells the history of London through the bits and pieces he’d picked beside the river. I met him where else but on the River Thames foreshore at Strand on the Green at low tide to go mudlarking and see what we could find.

Santa Montefiore, author of commercial women’s fiction

Santa Montefiore

Interviewed by Bridget Osborne

August 2016

Santa Montefiore appeared at the 2016 Chiswick Book Festival alongside Penny Parkes, Milly Johnson, Jane Costello, Juliet Ashton and Isabelle Broome in a session on what it is to be ‘a modern woman.’ The hugely successful author of commercial women’s fiction had already at this point published 16 books. She talked to me about the book she had out that year, Daughters of Castle Deverill, the second in a trilogy set in Ireland in 1925.
She has a very funny story about why it is that for her, promoting her books in America has been an absolute nightmare.

Peter Hanington journalist & novelist

Peter Hanington journalist & novelist

Interview by Bridget Osborne

September 2016

Peter Hanington had rave reviews for his first book A Dying Breed, a thriller in the mould of John Le Carre or Graham Greene. Its central character is a  journalist of the old school – an hack who is a terrier for pursuing the truth, but not that pleasant a person to work with. The Guardian described it as “thoughtful, atmospheric and grippingly plotted”. Peter appeared at the Chiswick Book Festival for the first time in 2016.

I worked with Peter many years ago on BBC Radio 5Live, so I really enjoyed the way he created a cracking thriller out of the world we both knew and found both the characters and the scenarios he created very true to life.

Harry Parker novelist

Harry Parker novelist

Interview by Bridget Osborne

September 2016

Harry Parker lost both his legs while fighting in the British armed services in Afghanistan. He has turned his experiences into a book which has received great praise from some distinguished writers: “Marvellously told” – Alan Bennett, “Alive to every nuance” – Hilary Mantel, “A brilliant book” – Edna O’Brien. He spoke to me at the 2016 festival about his book Anatomy of a Soldier.

Shappi Khorsandi comedian

Shappi Khorsandi comedian

Interview by Bridget Osborne

September 2016

Shappi Khorsandi is known best as a stand-up comic, but she is also an author. She wrote a book of young adult fiction which she spoke about at the 2016 festival called Nina is not OK.

Cressida Cowell children’s author

Cressida Cowell, children’s author

Interview by Bridget Osborne

September 2016

Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, lives locally and is a regular contributor to the Chiswick Book Festival. She wrote the first book in 1998 and completed the series in 2016 after twelve books. The stories were inspired by childhood holidays with her father on a remote island in the Shetlands which were once inhabited by Vikings – “the kind of place where dragons really could have existed” she says. The series tells the tale of Hiccup, who starts out as a small boy and grows up throughout the series, and his dragon Toothless – “a small, disobedient Common-or-Garden dragon, who speaks to Hiccup in Dragonese (with a stammer).”

The books have been made into hugely successful films by Dreamworks. In the film version Toothless is “a large, frightening Night Fury, who cannot talk” but she says: “Both Toothlesses have a sweeter, gentler side to them than is at first apparent” and both Toothlesses were inspired by cats, in both look and in character”.

Her aim throughout the series is to answer the question “What if dragons really existed, and if they existed, what happened to them?” She spoke to  me when she appeared at the Chiswick Book Festival in 2016 and had just finished the last book in the series: How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury, which is about the ‘great war’ between humans and dragons.

What if dragons really existed, and if they existed, what happened to them?

Cressida Cowell works in her garden shed-cum-studio, where she draws her characters. She showed me how she draws them, in a very quick, fluid style, because she says, she wants children to feel as if the illustration is something they might be able to do themselves.

How to Train Your Dragon books

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • How to Be a Pirate
  • How to Speak Dragonese
  • How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse
  • How to Twist a Dragon’s Tail
  • A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons
  • How to Ride Dragon’s Storm
  • How to Break a Dragon’s Heart
  • How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword
  • How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel
  • How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero
  • How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury

cressidacowell.co.uk

Cathy Renzenbrink, author & book pundit

Cathy Renzenbrink, author & book pundit

Interview by Bridget Osborne

August 2016

Cathy Renzenbrink has had a long career in the book industry. She used to be a contributing editor to The Bookseller magazine and is often to be found doing bookish events at festivals, including the one in Chiswick, where she also lives.

Her first book The Last Act of Love was about the life and death of her brother. Variously described as “brilliant … harrowing and heart-breaking”… “beautiful, devastating and ultimately uplifting”, it was shortlisted for The Wellcome Prize and The Portico Prize and was a Sunday Times bestseller.

Her brother was severely injured in a car accident at the age of 16, and the family had to cope with this bright, funny teenager suddenly not being present in his own body, in a persistent vegetative state. Ultimately they had to face the decision to let him die. Now Cathy speaks and writes regularly on life, death, love, literature, literacy and mental health.

She spoke to me in 2016 about The Last Act of Love.