There’s a feast of fact and fiction for book-lovers next week as the Chiswick Book Festival returns for the ninth year. The opening event, An Evening with Jane Austen, is being held at Chiswick House on Thursday September 14th – the day the author graces the £10 note for the first time, celebrating 200 years of her life and work.
Imogen Stubbs, who played Lucy Steele in the award-winning film Sense & Sensibility, will read extracts from Austen chosen by the event’s other speakers, Paula Byrne (The Genius of Jane Austen), Helena Kelly (Jane Austen: The Secret Radical) and Dr Esme Whittaker, the curator of Chiswick House. And there’s a Folio Society boxed set of Jane Austen’s books to be won in the Festival quiz, kindly donated by Foster Books.
The Chiswick Book Festival is based at St Michael & All Angels Church, Bedford Park, which organizes the Festival in aid of three reading charities – RNIB Talking Books, InterAct Stroke Support and Doorstep Library. Other events are held nearby at the Tabard Theatre and Arts Educational Schools (close to Turnham Green tube station) and at Chiswick Library. The full programme is on the Festival’s website, where tickets are on sale: www.chiswickbookfestival.net.
As well as sessions on fiction, there’s plenty for lovers of history, politics, memoirs and other factual genres, including music, poetry, food and wine.
There is also a full children’s programme. Clare Balding (The Racehorse That Disappeared) is speaking in St Michael & All Angels Church at 5pm on Friday September 15th (£4) and David Baddiel (The Parent Agency and Birthday Boy) is at 11.15am on Saturday September 16th (£4). There are also free events in the Marquee outside the church: on Saturday, the Young People’s Poetry Awards, the Giraffe and Frog Activity Party and Invincible Voices Storytime; and on Sunday The Really Big Pants Theatre Company, Inspire Little Minds Storytime and The BuiIding Boy Activity Fun.