Events: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival 2021

Ian Rankin OBE

The largest and most prestigious celebration of crime fiction starts tomorrow.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival 2021 is starting tomorrow (22nd July) and running until 25th July.

The Festival Programme Chair, Ian Rankin OBE will be in attendance. He, along with some of the other biggest authors in crime fiction will be discussing topics including the future of crime writing from the rise of cutting edge science to the demise of the Police Procedural.

Special guests include Richard Osman, Elly Griffiths, Mark Billingham and CL Taylor.

Events include The Pleasures and Pitfalls of the Short Story, Planners Vs Pantsters and a Late Night Quiz with Val McDermid and Mark Billingham.

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Events: Portsmouth BookFest 2021

Portsmouth BookFest is celebrating 10 years this year and, despite the current restrictions, is running online until 7th March.

Portsmouth has a strong literary heritage including Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle and the BookFest is continuing that tradition.

There are many online events happening over the next few weeks including author talks and writing workshops.

Events being held include ‘Stories from Lore’ with Dawn Nelson, an interview with Mark Billingham, ‘Helping you finish your book and know what to do with it,’ ‘Writing Crime Fiction’ with Carol Westron, ‘Poetry for Wellbeing,’ with Kathryn Bevis and ‘Writing for Competitions,’ with Jackie Green and Christine Lawrence.

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Puffin and Waterstones Launch Puffin Festival of Big Dreams

The Puffin Festival of Big Dreams begins today. It’s a wonderful chance for your children to get creative.

The children’s publisher, Puffin is celebrating its 80th birthday this year and today, along with Waterstones, they launch their online book festival, the Puffin Festival of Big Dreams.

It will be running for seven days (between 8th -14th June) and it will include exclusive activities for families and children.

The sessions will be at 10.30am and 3.30pm on weekdays and will run from 11am on the weekend. It will be streamed on both Puffin’s You Tube channel, and Facebook page,

The festival will be hosted by Blue Peter presenter, Radzi Chinyanganya and he will be joined by guests including Jacqueline Wilson, Jeff Kinney and Carrie Hope Fletcher. There will also be a chance to see the Coquet Island Puffins with the RSPB.

Puffin are also launching an accompanying activity kit which will include word searches, colouring sheets, an inspiration page, a reading list and a ‘draw your dream’ page. This can be downloaded here.

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Events: Balham Literary Festival 2019

It’s almost time for the Balham Literary Festival 2019. 

Starting on 13th June and continuing until 25th June, there are many wonderful speakers and events lined up during the festival.

On 13th June, Yara Rodrigues Fowler will be at Balham Oxfam talking about her debut novel, Stubborn Archivist.

On 14th June, Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison will be at the Ballroom at the Balham Bowls Club where they will be chatting about Today South London, Tomorrow South London.

Alex Wheatle, Rachel Reeves and Rachel Ama will all be at the Balham Bowls Club at various times on 15th June whilst over at the Balham Library, Lily Murray will be joined by illustrator Richard Merritt as they lead a fun dinosaur filled interactive storytime session inspired by their book, The Dinosaur Department Store.

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Events: The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2018

chelt-lit-fest-logoThe Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival for 2018 is here.

The festival is now underway between now and Sunday 14th October.

The festival welcomes Writers, Politicians, Poets and Actors. Everyone is there to celebrate the written word. If you want my opinion, it seems like a brilliant way to spend a weekend.

Happening at various locations throughout Cheltenham, there are interviews, panels and talks as well as family events and it’s all happening over the next three days. There are some free events as well as ones that require ticket purchases.

Today (Friday,) events include a short introduction to autobiography, how to make the most of your garden, social media: find your tribe and Cheltenham Writes which celebrates local authors.

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Events: Balham Literary Festival

furious city bedlam stacksThe Balham Literary Festival is in its third year.

The festival for 2018 is well underway and has been since the beginning of May. There’s some great events happening throughout June so there is still time to buy tickets to attend.

On 7th June, at 19.00, Oxfam Balham is playing host to Diana Evans and Guy Gunaratne. Guy is the author of In Our Mad and Furious City and he will be joined by Diana Evans, who is the author of Ordinary People.
Entry for this is £5 or if you’d like to have a copy if In Our Mad and Furious City and Ordinary People to take away with you, tickets are £25.

On 9th June, Natasha Pulley, author of The Bedlam Stacks will be in conversation with the author of The Story Keeper, Anna Mazzola.

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Courses and Competitions: Writers & Artists Evening Masterclasses

Writers-and-Artists-logo.wpm_-300x300Writers & Artists are partnering with Book Aid International for the fourth year to bring a small series of evening masterclasses.

On 15th, 22nd and 24th May between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, each masterclass brings something slightly different.

On 15th May, Debut author, Stuart Turton will be in discussion with Joe Haddow on the creative process of writing his first murder-mystery.

On 22nd May, award-winning author, Abi Elphinstone will be in conversation with Writers & Artists editor, Alysaun Owen about the essential elements of writing children’s fiction.

Finally, on 24th May, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Tony Parsons will be talking about his writing career and sharing top writing tips.

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Events: Step into A History of Magic at The British Library

HP_main_campaign_ARTWORK_RELEASE__1__2_Have you ever wanted to immerse yourself in the world of magic, witches and wizards? 

The British Library is currently offering a very magical opportunity to explore divination, potions and discover enchanting creatures.

Harry Potter: The History of Magic exhibition is a unique experience which includes rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the Library’s own collection that captures traditions of folklore and magic all of which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories.

Open until 28th February 2018 and in partnership with Bloomsbury, this exhibition also includes original drafts and drawings (on display for the first time,) by J.K Rowling and Illustrator Jim Kay who is responsible for the recent beautiful illustrated editions of the Harry Potter novels.

The Ripley scroll explains how to create a Philosopher’s stone, you can gaze at Sirius in the night sky and there are hand-coloured pictures of dragons, unicorns and a phoenix.

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Events: Literary Kitchen Writing Festival

Literary Festival KitchenThe Literary Kitchen is the only festival in London devoted to Writers and Writing.

It kicked off on Monday and is going on until 18th October 2015. It’s a riot of writers, artists, musicians, publishers, agents and pets. Over 150 writers are taking part in the events over the week in twenty venues across South London.

The festival is featuring some of the UK’s best young authors alongside cabaret, parties, pub crawls, walks, talks and more. There is also a two-day publishers’ fair with a chance to meet agents too. It sounds absolutely fantastic.

Other events include Unwriters’ Anonymous where you can share procrastination stories and leave with tips and techniques on how to resist it, Lit Live where there will be Prose and Poetry and Masterclasses.

For more information and to book sessions, visit


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Events: Cheltenham Literature Festival

CLF14 cr (8)

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The Cheltenham Literature Festival 2015 kicked off on Friday 2nd October and is running through until 11th October.

The festival is themed around defining moments. There are 500+ events/panels/interviews happening over the 10 days and there are some fantastic speakers appearing too.

Speakers appearing include Bill Bryson, Nigella Lawson, JoJo Moyes and Carrie Hope Fletcher. Paula Hawkins will also be talking about her book, The Girl on the Train.

Terry Wogan, Mark Billingham, Merra Syal, Bill Oddie, Marian Keyes and SJ Watson will also be attending.

For more information and to book tickets for this fantastic event, visit their website:


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Events: The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize

JerwoodJerwoodBritish writing will be celebrated later today when the winners of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize will be announced in London at the Jerwood Space.

Fifteen books in total have been long listed (this is the first year the list has been released prior to the winners being announced.) The prize, established in 2010 is now in its fifth year. The prize is unique and it aims to showcase great British fiction.

“With writers from Swansea, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bath, Brighton, Lancaster, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Glasgow and London, and publishers from Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland and Norfolk, this year’s longlist presents an exciting snapshot of contemporary British fiction writing and publishing,” said Founder and Director Sophie Rochester.

Later today, eight winners will each be awarded £5,000. WH Smith Travel will be running an eight-week summer promotion featuring all eight winning Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize titles. Titles will feature in stores across the UK from 25 June 2015.

The fifteen books in contention for the prize money are:

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The Rosie Effect Book Tour

rp_Graeme-Simsion-300x1681.jpg Graeme Simsion plans second UK bookshop tour.

Graeme’s novel, The Rosie Effect is due to be released by Penguin on 26th February 2015.

The Rosie Project tells the story of socially challenged Genetics professor Don Tillman and his unique challenge to find a wife and how his life is upheaved when he meets a girl called Rosie. It’s sequel, The Rosie Effect carries on and focuses on his life as he settles into a big city.

‘The Rosie Project has touched the hearts of millions worldwide with its irresistible blend of comedy, romance and poignancy. But it’s Don Tillman – a truly memorable creation who can proudly sit alongside Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones – who steals the show and we are thrilled to be reuniting him with thousands of readers and booksellers this Spring,’ says Maxine Hitchcock, the Publishing Director of Michael Joseph

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Novel Kicks attends An Audience With David Nicholls

rp_David-Nicholls-300x199.jpgI was very excited to hear that David Nichols was returning to his home town to host ‘An audience with.’ I was very fortunate to be able to attend this recent event at The Point in Eastleigh, Hampshire (In association with Eastleigh Library 25th Anniversary events.)

When we arrived, we promptly found our seats in the main auditorium. I have to admit, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I had never been to The Point before despite having lived near Eastleigh for nearly two years. I have quickly become a fan of the venue. It’s big enough to not feel cramped and small enough that I didn’t feel a million miles from the stage area where two chairs and a table had been placed in the middle.

To begin with, David talked about how Libraries play a huge part for him and how he will often find himself writing in the British Library as well as the London Library. He then chatted about his time in theatre and how through working there he found his love of words.

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Events: An Audience with David Nicholls

Picture credit: Hal Shinnie

Picture credit: Hal Shinnie

If you’re a fan of One Day and Us, there are still tickets available for An Audience with David Nicholls.

In association with Eastleigh Library 25th Anniversary events, David Nicholls will be at The Point on Saturday 24th January 2015.

He will be talking about screenwriting and his novels, including One Day and his latest bestseller and Booker shortlisted novel, Us. David will also be available for a book signing after his talk which will then be followed by a screening of One Day (12A.)

The event starts at 3pm and tickets are still available for £8. One Day will be shown at 4.30pm.

For more information or to book tickets, visit The Point’s website:

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Events: Chawton House Library’s Georgian Christmas

Chawton ChristmasFind out how the people of Jane Austen’s time celebrated Christmas at Chawton House Library this December.

Explore the ‘great house,’ she loved as well as seeing it fully dressed for Christmas.

This event is happening on 13th December 2014 at Chawton House Library near Alton in Hampshire.

It’s an open house between 10am and 3pm. As well as cooking up gourmet christmas treats from the Knight family cookbook, there will also be talks from the food historian, Dr Anne Gray (who featured on the Great British Bake Off,) who will be giving talks on the traditional Georgian christmas dinner – ‘Plumb, Porridge and Pickle for Brawn.’

Tickets are £8 for adults and £4 for children (under fives go free.) Continue reading

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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