Chiswick Book Festival 2021, 9-12 September

Chiswick Book Festival is back, in fine form, with real live audiences in the room this year, having been an online only event last year.

The 13th Chiswick Book Festival has, as always, some fantastic speakers, including: Gyles Brandreth, Clare Balding, Ed Balls, Mary Anne Sieghart, Anne Sebba, Sarfraz Manzoor, Emily Mortimer, Tim Marshall, Steve Richards, Dr Amir Khan, Andrew Lownie, Suzannah Lipscomb, Parm Sandhu, Stuart Prebble, Dr Jim Down, Suzanne Packer, Roger Hermiston, Jacqueline Riding, Rory Cellan-Jones, Alvin Rakoff and many more.

Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson will introduce his first novel and there will be acclaimed fiction from Jane Thynne (writing as CJ Carey), Jessica Fellowes, Elizabeth Buchan, Nancy Tucker, Susan Spindler, Charles Cumming, Peter Hanington and Cathy Rentzenbrink amongst others.

As well as listening to well known authors talking about their books, there are opportunities to go on book walks, to find out where famous authors lived in Chiswick in the past, and to take part in workshops to learn about different aspects of writing.

READ ALSO: Walks and workshops at the Chiswick Book Festival

Images above: Clare Balding; Ed Balls; Gyles Brandreth

This year the festival focuses on famous Chiswick authors, including Nancy Mitford and Anthony Burgess, and on a major new biography of William Hogarth: the author Jacqueline Riding will speak in the new Weston Studio at Hogarth’s House on the evening of Monday 13 September.

The very first event will be a collaboration with the Chiswick Flower Market, celebrating its first birthday on the first weekend of September. David Shreeve, a founder director of the Conservation Foundation, will be talking to cultural historian Kate Teltscher at 12.00 on Saturday 4 September in the Boston Room of George IV, about her book Palace of Palms, on the human history behind – the squabbling and politicking – over the establishment of the Palm House at Kew.

READ ALSO: Palace of Palms – the story of the Palm House at Kew

Image above: Kate Teltscher and her book Palace of Palms

On Tuesday 7 September local authors are invited to the Local Authors’ Party in the Boston Room, where they will get the opportunity to make an elevator pitch of their book.

The formal opening of the Book Festival will be in the Garden Pavilion at Chiswick House, as usual, on Thursday 9 September. The panel session explores the life and work of Nancy Mitford and her sisters. It will include an interview with Emily Mortimer, the writer and director of the BBC serialisation of The Pursuit of Love. Also on the panel, Jessica Fellowes, author of a new book about the Mitfords, and Bridget Osborne, editor of The Chiswick Calendar, talking about Nancy Mitford’s time in Chiswick. Nancy lived at Rose Cottage, Strand on the Green in the 1930s.

READ ALSO: Nancy Mitford – 20th Century novelist who lived at Strand on the Green

Image above: Nancy Mitford, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery; her most famous book The Pursuit of Love

Then the full, unexpurgated mix of sessions: workshops, interviews and panel discussions on fiction and non-fiction, adult, young adult and children’s books takes over multiple venues for the entire weekend.

Always topical, this year the Festival features Still Breathing – a collection of 100 Black Voices, talking about their experiences of racism in this country, as the Black Lives Matter debate has continues.

READ ALSO: Still Breathing – 100 Black voices on racism

The Children’s Festival features authors Clare Balding, Chitra Soundar, Rob Biddulph, Josie Dom (on the very timely Animalympics), and the return of Chiswick favouritesZoe Antoniades, Joshua Seigal and Neil Zetter.

Book tickets for the festival here: Ticketsource/ChiswickBook Festival

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market celebrates its first birthday

See also: Meanwhile in Brentford – art trail

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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