Image above: Chiswick Book Festival 2019

Chiswick Book Festival 9 – 15 September 2021

This year’s Chiswick Book Festival will be held with live audiences, subject to the Government’s rules in September. Please save the dates: Thursday 9 – Wednesday 15 September 2021 (with the pre-Festival Local Authors Evening on Tuesday 7 September).

Speakers will include 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, Jim Down, Roger Hermiston, Jacqueline Riding and many more.

Images above: Gyles Brandreth; autobiography Odd Boy Out

Talks by authors of non-fiction

Gyles Brandreth will be talking about his autobiography Odd Boy Out. Known to audiences of Just a Minute, QI, Have I Got News For You and Celebrity Gogglebox for his wit and good humour, Odd Boy Out is about more than Gyles and his exploits: ‘it is also a kaleidoscopic portrait of Britain from the 1950s onwards, featuring a cast drawn from politics, the media, swinging London, stage and screen, from Laurence Olivier to Twiggy’.

Clare Balding’s motivational book Fall Off, Get Back On, Keep Going, recounts the inspirational stories of famous people who have shown courage in the face of adversity. Intended for older children and young teenagers.

READ ALSO: Clare Balding – “I’ve never been at home as much as this”, interview with Torin Douglas 2021

Images above: Ed Balls; memoir Appetite

Ed Balls’ book Appetite is ‘a memoir with a twist’: part autobiography, part cookbook, as befits an author who is now probably better known as a chef and a dancer than he is as a politician.

Anne Sebba’s biography of Ethel Rosenberg is the tale of a 37 year old mother of two executed for conspiracy to commit espionage during the Cold War – ‘a catastrophic failure of humanity and justice that continues to haunt the national conscience’.

Images above: Alan Johnson’s novel The Late Train to Gypsy Hill; Jane Thynne’s novel Widowland; Susan Spindler’s novel Surrogate

Talks by authors of fiction

On the fiction front, 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 and many more.

Alan Johnson’s novel The Late Train to Gypsy Hill is a thriller: ‘a gripping slice of contemporary espionage that takes in shadowy conspiracy, the Russian mafia and a beautiful woman on a train who may not be all that she seems’. The Late Train to Gypsy Hill is given four stars by Goodreads.

There are some good parts for older women in this book festival.

The author of Solitaire and Faith and Beauty, Jane Thynne, has written Widowland, a dystopian novel imagining a Vichy style Britain set in 1953. It’s Coronation year, but not the coronation of Elizabeth II. ‘Thirteen years have passed since a Grand Alliance between Great Britain and Germany was formalised. George VI and his family have vanished, and Edward VIII rules as king’.

She does, chillingly, what Robert Harris did for Germany in Fatherland and Philip Roth did for America in The Plot Against America, only focused on women – particularly the subversive architects of insurgency: childless women over 50 who have been banished and who have nothing to lose.

Susan Spindler has written the tale of a postmenopausal woman who opts to take on the responsibility of becoming a surrogate mother for her daughter. The debut novel Surrogate, by long term Chiswick resident Susan, has had rave reviews in publications such as Heat magazine and Cosmopolitan and was chosen as Virago’s lead fiction debut for Spring 2021. It’s ‘an absolute belter of a page-turner’ says Heat. ‘A gripping read’ says Cosmopolitan.

READ ALSO: Great debut novel by Chiswick author, reveiw by The Chiswick Calendar

Image above: Chitra Soundar; Chitra’s latest book Manju’s Magic Muddle

Talks by Children’s authors

Children’s authors include Chitra Soundar, Josie Dom (on the very timely Animalympics), and the return of Chiswick favourites Zoe Antoniades, Joshua Siegal and Neil Zetter.

Chitra Soundar is an internationally published, award-winning author of over 50 books for children. Her stories are set in Indian families and are inspired by her own growing up in India. Her latest book Manju’s Magic Muddle, published in July, is a tale with which any child can identify: she’s stuck at home and she is BORED. Looking for entertainment, she summons the genie. When he turns up with a terrible cold, the genie can’t hear any of Manju’s wishes properly and his magic is even more strange than usual. …

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

To find out who else is appearing at the Chiswick Book Festival and book tickets, go to the Chiswick Book Festival website.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Clare Balding – “I’ve never been at home as much as this”, interview with Torin Douglas 2021

See also: Susan Spindler –  Great debut novel by Chiswick author, reveiw by The Chiswick Calendar

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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