Cheese lovers rejoice! Cheesemonger and professional cheese taster Ned Palmer is coming to Faversham for the opening night of the festival to talk us through the history of cheese, from prehistoric Celts to postmodern foodies, and how key moments and major currents in our history are embodied within our food.
Ticket includes a four-course taster menu of Kent cheeses and ales.
This event is kindly sponsored by Shepherd Neame.
In 2001 Jack Straw became the first senior British Foreign Secretary to visit Iran since the 1979 revolution and has developed a growing interest in the country ever since. His book sheds new light on Britain’s difficult relationship with Iran and explores the culture, psychology and history of this fascinating country. He will discuss the consequences of domestic repression in Iran, the future of the Islamic Republic and its relations with the west. Host Julia Wheeler.
Perfect for fans of David Baddiel's 'Birthday Boy' – a hilarious tale of wish fulfilment gone wrong and a tale that every child will relate to. 'This cautionary tale will make children yelp in agreement and roll around with laughter, but ultimately leave them appreciating their brother or sister a little bit more...' Suitable for primary school children Year 3 to Year 6.
Joan Bakewell and Maggie Gee
Short stories from a stellar list of women novelists, authors Dame Joan Bakewell and Maggie Gee talk with Sarah Hosking, founder of the Hosking Houses Trust for women writers, about women's writing and the question behind the book: What does it mean to 'kiss and part'?
The contributors to this collection all share one thing in common – they have all stayed at a small cottage in the village of Clifford Chambers near Stratford-upon-Avon, courtesy of a trust set up to provide women writers with ‘a room of one’s own’, as Virginia Woolf put it.
Poetry Slam 2020
The Bookie Slam hits the road and it's coming to Faversham Literary Festival! Host: Connor Sansby.
10 poets battle it out to be crowned the Bookie Champ and get their shot at the Kentish Poetry Championship Belt and £50/£25 Prize Money for the 1st and 2nd Place.
Featuring Bookie Slam Champion Henry Madd
Plus headliner, the unmissable Luke Wright!
‘I have been living with mental health problems for 25 years. This is my story.’ A wonderfully frank memoir by a Faversham-based author who talks openly in the hope that it will help others. Stephen has a close relationship with Abbey Physic Garden in Faversham, where he has spent much time to find new ways of coping and making changes in his life. Marnie Summerfield Smith joins him there to talk about his exceptional book.
Proceeds from this event will go to Abbey Physic Garden, Faversham.
The Art of Short Fiction
Flash fiction, short stories, prose poems: all seem to be thriving these days. Three young specialists in the short form – Joe Dunthorne, Max Sydney Smith and Xanthi Barker – read extracts from their work and discuss their methods. Host Charlotte Newman. Organised in collaboration with Rough Trade Books.
YA, Alexander Centre
Much-loved author, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen, author of more than 200 books for children and adults, asks what it means to play with a Dickens plot, as he did in 'Bah! Humbug!' and 'Unexpected Twist!' and considers Dickens's life when he was a child. He also reads some of his funniest poems and shares wisdom from his latest 'Book of Play', in which he delves into the history of play via puns, nonsense, improvisation and toys. This event celebrates the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens's death. Suitable for all ages.
The food writer and chef shares stories and dishes from Lebanon, having travelled the country's length and breadth to bring back its most inspiring cuisine - street food, delicate pastries and little-known Druze recipes from a land of bold colours, exquisite flavours and hidden beauty. He will be talking with Kent-based 2016 Great British Bake Off winner Chetna Makan.
An eye-opening journey in a pea-green boat, 'Fierce Bad Rabbits' is a fascinating and insightful examination of the stories behind our best-loved childhood stories. Sparkling with wit, magic and nostalgia, it weaves tales from Clare's own childhood, her re-readings as a parent, and fascinating facts and theories about the authors behind the books. It will make you see afresh even stories you've read a hundred times. Host Daniel Hahn.
Gareth E. Rees
A work of non-fiction taking a darkly satirical look at commonplace urban landscapes that are little-explored and rarely featured in art and music, yet they shape the aesthetics of our towns and cities, and are hotspots for crime, rage and sexual deviancy. Gareth E. Rees explores how the UK’s retail chain-store car park has as much mystery, magic and terror as any mountain, meadow or wood. Host Gary Budden.
Maggie Gee and William Shaw
William Shaw’s taut thrilller 'Deadland', set in the brooding shadows of Dungeness power plant, and Maggie Gee’s literary crime caper 'Blood', a black comedy set around Margate – the authors talk about Kent as the setting for their work and how they each confront its social divisions, with murderous results.
Christy Lefteri and David Herd
Giving voice to the Syrian refugee crisis, Christy Lefteri’s experience as a volunteer at a UNICEF-supported refugee centre informs 'The Beekeeper of Aleppo'. She joins David Herd, coordinator of 'Refugee Tales' – an ongoing project that calls to end indefinite immigration detention – writers have collaborated with people who have experienced detention, their tales appearing alongside first-hand accounts by people who themselves have been detained. All profits from 'Refugee Tales' go to Kent Refugee Help and Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group.
Part of the proceeds from this event will be donated to Faversham & Villages Refugee Group.
Lee Rourke and Will Wiles
Intellectually playful chronicles of modern Britain. In 'Glitch' Lee Rourke unflinchingly explores grief, family and the irregularities of everyday life, in what emerges as a moving and heartfelt depiction of a mother–son relationship. He is in conversation with Will Wiles, whose recent novel 'Plume' is a fast-moving Kafkaesque story about an alcoholic hack set in contemporary London.
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone talks to Julia Wheeler about the people, places and the politics that have shaped the landscape, and how the city has changed dramatically over the last 60 years. With a witty and worldly eye he he shares his views on every aspect of the city, from playing on bomb sites in an era where St Paul's was the tallest building in the city, to 2019 where the gleaming towers of the Shard and Walkie Talkie dominate the skyline, thanks to new building rules introduced by his administration.
Elizabeth Macneal and Naomi Wood
Two powerful works of fiction set in times of radical change for art and society. Elizabeth MacNeal’s debut 'The Doll Factory', set in London in 1851, brings to life rivalries, ambitions and secrets in a world that the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood was intent on changing. 'The Hiding Game' by Naomi Wood enters the Bauhaus art school in 1922, as political tensions escalate in Germany and the Bauhaus comes under threat. Host Daniel Hahn.
Alia Trabucco Zerán and Sema Kaygusuz
Two powerful and topical narratives about historical memory. Shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, 'The Remainder' is Alia Trabucco Zerán's debut novel, exploring the repercussions of history for the children of those who fought against Chile’s dictatorship, told through a darkly comic road trip set in modern-day Santiago. It was chosen by El País as one of its top ten debuts of 2015.
Joy Division and New Order drummer Stephen Morris’s musical memoir 'Record Play Pause' recounts with deadpan wit his incredible career, taking a frank and profound look at the mythology of these iconic bands and music’s power to define who we are. A coming-of-age story with plenty of anecdotes and memories, he talks to music journalist and author William Shaw.
Writing Women's Lives
Inspired by the life of Minnette de Silva – a forgotten feminist icon and one of the most important figures of 20th-century architecture – Shiromi Pinto charts de Silva's affair with infamous Swiss modernist Le Corbusier and her efforts to build an independent Sri Lanka.Compelling and provocative, Annabel Banks’s debut short-fiction collection draws upon the human need to be in control – no matter how devastating the cost. Linda Mannheim's short-story collection tells the stories of twelve people who have relocated, both voluntarily and involuntarily and asks what happens when we leave the places we're from. What parts of our pasts are unshakeable?
The singer-songwriter behind Everything But The Girl takes us on a witty, insightful walk through the maligned commuter town of her youth spent in Hertfordshire. Returning to our roots can be tough, as Tracey Thorn discovers in 'Another Planet', which is full of bus shelters, local discos, aspirational parents and emotional cul-de-sacs. Host: Andy Miller.
Tens of thousands of coal miners settled in Kent from all over Britain. Many stayed on after the collieries closed in the 1980s. Faversham resident Peter Williams MBE, who has interviewed Kent miners over several decades, tells their full story for the first time – a story that is riveting, moving, and sometimes violent.
Following the award-winning 'The Devils’ Dance', the Uzbek author has crafted another masterpiece about the search for truth and wisdom – a tale of exile featuring a wandering philosopher, a penniless writer and a bee forced from its hive. Host Daniel Hahn.
Hamid Ismailov is an Uzbek novelist and poet who was forced to leave his home in Tashkent in 1992 when his writing brought him to the attention of government officials due to what the state dubbed 'unacceptable democratic tendencies'. Under threat of arrest, he moved to London and joined the BBC World Service. He left the BBC in 2019 after 25 years of service. His works are still banned in Uzbekistan.
BBC radio producer Tim Dee explores the idea of spring. Following the seasonal migration paths of birds as they travel from African winters in the desert, north to the Arctic, he finds inspiration in their travels to create his own paths through the wilds of England, from Cornwall to Shetland. Is it possible to keep in step with a season?
Alex Preston, Sara Collins and Sarah Churchwell
What is it to pursue a goal, to strive for an ideal, to follow a dream? These are the questions explored in 'Pursuit', a collection compiled by award-winning novelist Alex Preston. The stories – from some of the brightest and most exciting voices writing today – tell of determination, endeavour and perseverance against the odds.
Kent-based Lara Maiklem’s search for urban solitude and history on the River Thames, what she calls ‘the longest archaeological landscape in the world’. Known as the ‘London Mudlark’, Lara has been larking along the Thames for over 15 years, unearthing finds from Neolithic, Roman, medieval and Victorian eras that tell her about London and its lost ways of life.
Can you recall when football’s greatest players shared a bond of borderline poverty with the fans they entertained? Shortlisted for The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2019, 'When Footballers Were Skint: A Journey in Search of the Soul of Football' is an important historical record and immensely entertaining, based on the first-hand accounts of players from a fast-disappearing generation. Jon Henderson talks to Roger Alton, former editor of The Observer and The Independent.
Paris in 1117. Heloise, a brilliant young scholar, is astonished when the famous, radical philosopher, Peter Abelard, consents to be her tutor. But what starts out as a meeting of minds turns into a passionate, dangerous love affair, which incurs terrible retribution. Melvyn Bragg's novel is a fresh take on one of history’s greatest love stories, reimagining the moving and enduring tale of the brilliant student and her teacher. A thrilling story, passionately told.
As America struggles again to project a shared vision, to itself and to the world, Sarah Churchwell argues that only by understanding the origins and aspirations of those who first used the expressions can the true spirit of America be reclaimed. Be prepared to have everything you thought you knew about the United States turned on its head. Host Julia Wheeler.
Peter Fiennes and Sara Wheeler
Sojourns around Britain and Russia in the company of great writers. In 'Footnotes' Peter Fiennes brings modern Britain into focus by peering through the lens of the past, following in the footsteps of some of our greatest writers. In 'Mud and Stars' travel writer Sara Wheeler takes us on a literary tour of Russia in the company of Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol and other greats. Host Alex Preston.
Musician and award-winning author Daniel Rachel charts the epic highs and crashing lows of the 1990s and Cool Britannia, from Tony Blair to Noel Gallagher, Tracey Emin and Irvine Welsh. Erudite, thoughtful and funny, 'Don't Look Back in Anger' is an Evening Standard Book of the Year. Host Andy Miller of Backlisted Podcast fame.
A reflective and poetic portrait of how a Kent family became acquainted with their local badger clan. In this extraordinary tale of human–animal interconnectedness Caroline Greville recounts in exquisite prose that being an avid nature lover is not incompatible with all the rest of life – indeed, it is the thing that makes it possible for 'all the rest' to be kept in balance. Host Caroline Millar.
A compelling historical debut – winner of the 2019 Costa First Novel Award – in which a former slave accused of murder recounts her life, Sara Collins' bold exploration of passion and the transgression of boundaries reveals a new literary star reminiscent of the best of Sarah Waters. A beautiful, haunting tale about one woman's fight to tell her story. Host Alex Preston.
'Deep-diving and elegant . . . Wide Sargasso Sea meets Beloved meets Alias Grace' – Margaret Atwood
The former Newsnight presenter’s frank guide to the most momentous change in British life for decades, revealing the facts about how Brexit will affect our daily lives. Will Brexit boost jobs? Or wreck the NHS? Or cause food shortages? It may not be the Brexit you thought you were getting. Host Julia Wheeler.
A masterly new work from the author of the wildly successful 'The Essex Serpent'. Unnerving and unsettling, 'Melmoth' is a haunting tale about guilt, forgiveness, moral reckoning and how we come to terms with our actions in a conflicted world. ‘Scary and smart, but also a philosophical inquiry into the nature of love and will.’ Host Alex Preston.