Chiswick Book Festival goes ahead

Image above: Chiswick Book Festival 2022 line-up

Dedicated to the memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

There was a pause on Thursday night as everyone took stock of the news of the death of the Queen. First came the expressions of sadness and the messages of condolence to the royal family. Then anyone involved in organising public meetings and events started to think through the implications of the period of mourning.

Chiswick Book Festival, which opened on Thursday night with a session with actor Dame Eileen Atkins, started with a minute’s silence, as they had just heard the news. This morning they have released a statement from Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels Church, and Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival saying that in light of the Queen’s death, this year’s festival would be dedicated to the memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and in thanksgiving for her life.

“It has been suggested we should find ways to bring people together in thoughtful reflection at this time. We believe our community-based Festival, in aid of reading charities – is an appropriate way to do this.”

The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre have also confirmed that, in accordance with guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, scheduled theatre performances will go ahead during the official period of mourning. King Charles has just announced the period of mourning will last from today until seven days after the Queen’s funeral.

Extra session on the role of religion in the reign of Charles III

The book festival events will go ahead and they are putting on an extra event on Sunday afternoon (11 September) in which the religion commentator Catherine Pepinster will reflect on the Queen’s reign, as discussed in her new book: Defenders of the Faith: The British Monarchy, Religion and the next Coronation.

Catherine, a Chiswick resident, gave a brief introduction to her book at the Local Authors night on Tuesday. As the first female editor of The Tablet, the Catholic international weekly review, as such she is well placed to comment on matters of theology and church history.

In her book she explores the powerful connection between the British monarchy and religion, from its earliest times, to the Reformation, the Civil War, and ‘the reconfigured wholesome family monarchy of Victoria and her successors, whose Christian faith steered their response to the atheistic regimes of fascism and communism that threatened Europe and their royal relatives’.

She asks what part religion will play in the reign of Charles III in a nation which is increasingly secular and diverse in its religious beliefs.

St Michael & All Angels Church has also opened a condolence book, as has St Nicholas Church and Christ Church, Turnham Green.

Book tickets for Chiswick Book Festival events here: chiswickbookfestival.net

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Saddened by the death of the Queen

See also: Chiswick’s new sculpture sparkles in the rain as Rowan Williams declares it “definitively there”

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