Dates for the diary of Story Bazaar readers, if you are in London in May this year. From 3rd – 8th May Clapham will be thronging with visitors to the 2016 Clapham Literary Festival, aka ‘Omnibus Edition’.
Spread over three major venues, in the Old Town and the High Street, the festival encompasses poetry, the novel, food writing, science writing and generally having an interesting and fun time. The Story Bazaar has been closely involved, from the outset, through claphamwriters, a loose association of writers of various sorts, who live and/or work in Clapham. Many of the claphamwriters are taking part, as am I.
‘Reconquista‘ will be formally launched, accompanied by sherry and flamenco guitar, on the early evening of Saturday 7th May, when J.J.Anderson will be in the garden marquee at the newly refurbished Clapham Books. In part I am ‘warm-up act’ for Julie Myerson at Omnibus Arts Centre. Then there’s a Literary pub-quiz and live music. My event is free, but Julie Myerson, in conversation with Roland Gulliver, is ticketed at £8 each. It will cost £3 to enter the quiz. All events are ticketed. Tickets are available through ABC on the Omnibus Arts Centre web-site.
Book early, as they say, to avoid disappointment – Clapham Books admits forty+, Omnibus theatre seats ninety and the bar about the same. All proceeds to Omnibus and Clapham Library. Clapham Books, our independent book shop, is the official bookseller for the Festival.
Already, we have lots of interesting writers signed up, from poets like Michael Glover ( also Art Critic of The Independent newspaper ), to writers like Matthew Beaumont, Elizabeth Buchan, Julie Myerson , best-selling Laura Barnett, crime writers Sabine Durrant, Isabelle Grey and Miranda Clark ( there is ‘Crime in the Afternoon’ in the Library on Saturday 7th ), food writers Miss South, Joanna Blythman and Oliver Rowe ( Thursday evening ) and science writer Marcus Chown ( Sunday lunchtime ). There is a ghost story and seance session on Friday evening, with Lorna Gibb and on Sunday morning, a coffee-and-the-papers event for parents, with a number of Clapham based journalists, while kids create their own T-shirt.
And, as they say, much, much more. You can find the Festival Programme here.
Aside from the organisation and the volunteering I have some serious prep to do. On the Thursday afternoon I will be interlocutor for a discussion about place and how it impacts upon writers, between Matthew Beaumont (‘Nightwalking‘ 2015) and Elizabeth Buchan ( ‘I Can’t Begin to Tell You‘ 2015). And on the Friday afternoon I am one of the Clapham-based writers taking part in Readers’ Afternoon. This is a session in which local writers engage with local book clubs, who have signed up to participate. If anyone reading this happens to belong to a book club in the Clapham area, please contact me using the contact box below.
I will be publicising the festival through The Story Bazaar, but we have lots more ways to let folk know about it. If you are using any of the three Clapham underground stations during the week leading up to the Festival you might find a glossy leaflet thrust into your hand and Lambeth Libraries are featuring the festival in their South London newsletter ( one through every door in the borough ). And in the week leading up to the Festival there are ‘happenings’ around Clapham Common.
So, for me it’s head down to prepare for the discussion. I’ll be reading Matt’s books (I’ve already finished Lizy’s latest), some Iain Sinclair ( pyscho-geography ), some Peter Ackroyd and re-reading Simon Schama’s ‘Memory and Landscape‘ and Raymond Williams’ ‘The Country and the City‘. Lots to do.
If you want to find out more about ‘Omnibus Edition’ check out the web-site here. Incidentally, ‘Reconquista‘ is today up to sixth top-selling position in the Amazon/Young Adult/Historical fiction/Medieval category.
If you want to know more about ‘Reconquista‘ you might like to read about finding the title – Entitlement and Vote for your favourite title– choosing the book cover – Reading a book by its cover – writing about medieaval food – Provender – or writing an adventure story – Story of a Journey. Or visit the ‘Reconquista’ web-site here.