2017 Literary Festival at Chiddingstone Castle in Kent

The inaugural Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival in Kent in 2016 was a huge success - featuring celebrated and established authors, poets, performers and theatre groups over three days.   

The dates for the 2017 festival are:  Sunday 30 April for adults; families on Bank Holiday Monday 1 May and the Schools Programme will be on Tuesday 2 May.

Tickets to the festival will include entry into the Castle and its exquisite Japanese and Egyptian collections.

The festival programme offers author talks for adults and teenagers on Sunday 30 April, events for families take place on Bank Holiday Monday 1 May, and a whole day of children’s authors especially for schools on Tuesday 2 May.

Below is the Literary Festival Programme of Authors for 2017
 “We are looking forward to delivering another fantastic line-up of authors, poets and theatre groups next year to build on our successful festival last year which delivered an exciting literary programme for story-lovers of all ages”, said Festival Director Victoria Henderson who lives in Chiddingstone. “With such a wealth of talented local authors and performers from across Kent and Sussex, it has been relatively easy to put together our impressive line-up of authors together with drama, story-telling, children’s theatre, music, illustrators and performance poetry.” 

The Literary Festival organisers include Chiddingstone Castle’s Director Ali Ditzel, Chairman of the Trustees Mark Streatfeild, and Festival Director Victoria Henderson - who previously worked in book publishing and is currently literary festivals coordinator at the online book review and recommendation website Lovereading.  It was Victoria who came up with the idea of a literary festival at Chiddingstone Castle after realising that despite there being over 350 literary festivals springing up across the UK there was not one in her home ground of West Kent. She approached Mark Streatfeild (recently retired international sales director at Orion Books) who is Chairman of the Trustees at historic Chiddingstone Castle, and it seemed the obvious venue.

Other events include a Short Story Competition for Schools and the winning entries will be read out on Bank Holiday Monday by Geoffrey Streatfeild (Royal Shakespeare Company/National Theatre), brother of Major Richard Streatfeild, who both grew up in Chiddingstone and whose family previously owned Chiddingstone Castle.

Chiddingstone Castle was the family home of the Streatfeild family from the early 16th century and for the next three hundred years. It was sold to Lord Astor of Hever in 1938 and then in 1955 was bought by Denys Eyre Bower, an antiques dealer to house his collections.
Following his death, a Charitable Trust was set up in 1984 to uphold his wish that the collections be kept intact in their present setting so that future generations can enjoy them.

Mark Streatfeild who lives in Chiddingstone has been Chairman of the Trustees for the last 10 years and together with nine fellow Trustees, Ali Ditzel the Castle Director, and a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers is determined to make sure that the Castle continues to flourish.

Tickets available online: www.chiddingstonecastle.org.uk/literary-festival 
or call 0800 033 7564

Adults £12 per performance; Children (3-13) £5 and Under 3’s Free.  Tickets include entry into the Castle and its exquisite Japanese and Egyptian collections.

Festival day ticket (Sunday only): £55 (for entry into all 7 events on Sunday 1st May)
Tickets for the school events on the Tuesday can be purchased in advance by emailing: literaryfestival@chiddingstonecastle.org.uk and are priced at £4 per student.

Chiddingstone Castle, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7AD  

Notes to Editors
Adult Events Sunday 30 April
LES PARISIENNES: How the Women of Paris lived, loved and died in the 1940s
What did it feel like to be a woman living in Paris from 1939 to 1949? These were years of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation and secrets until - finally - renewal and retribution. Even at the darkest moments of Occupation, glamour was ever present. French women wore lipstick. Why?

It was women who came face to face with the German conquerors on a daily basis - perhaps selling them their clothes or travelling alongside them on the Metro, where a German soldier had priority over seats. By looking at a wide range of individuals from collaborators to resisters, actresses and prostitutes to teachers and writers, Anne Sebba shows that women made life-and-death decisions every day, and, in an atmosphere where sex became currency, often did whatever they needed to survive. Her fascinating cast includes both native Parisian women and those living in Paris temporarily: American women and Nazi wives, spies, mothers, mistresses, and fashion and jewellery designers.

Some women, like the heiress Béatrice de Camondo or novelist Irène Némirovsky, converted to Catholicism; others like lesbian racing driver Violette Morris embraced the Nazi philosophy; only a handful, like Coco Chanel, retreated to the Ritz with a German lover.

In enthralling detail Sebba explores the aftershock of the Second World War and the choices demanded. How did the women who survived to see the Liberation of Paris come to terms with their actions and those of others? Although politics lies at its heart, Les Parisiennes is the first in-depth account of the everyday lives of women and young girls in this most feminine of cities.

ELIZABETH JANE HOWARD: A Dangerous Innocence
Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923-2014) wrote brilliant novels about what love can do to people, but in her own life the lasting relationship she sought so ardently always eluded her. She grew up yearning to be an actress; but when that ambition was thwarted by marriage and the war, she turned to fiction. Her first novel, The Beautiful Visit, won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize - she went on to write fourteen more, of which the best-loved were the five volumes of The Cazalet Chronicle.

Following her divorce from her first husband, the celebrated naturalist Peter Scott, Jane embarked on a string of high-profile affairs with Cecil Day-Lewis, Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee, which turned her into a literary femme fatale. Yet the image of a sophisticated woman hid a romantic innocence which clouded her emotional judgement. She was nearing the end of a disastrous second marriage when she met Kingsley Amis, and for a few years they were a brilliant and glamorous couple - until that marriage too disintegrated. She settled in Suffolk where she wrote and entertained friends, but her turbulent love life was not over yet. In her early seventies Jane fell for a conman. His unmasking was the final disillusion, and inspired one of her most powerful novels, Falling.

Artemis Cooper interviewed Jane several times in Suffolk. She also talked extensively to her family, friends and contemporaries, and had access to all her papers. Her biography explores a woman trying to make sense of her life through her writing, as well as illuminating the literary world in which she lived.

Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly gifted friend.
ARTEMIS COOPER is author of the biography of Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011). A war hero whose exploits in Crete are legendary; he is widely acclaimed as the greatest travel writer of our times, notably for his books about his walk across pre-war Europe, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water; he was a self-educated polymath, a lover of Greece and the best company in the world. Artemis has drawn on years of interviews and conversations with Paddy and his cloest friends as well as having complete access to his archives. Her beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts - no one wore their learning so playfully, nor inspired such passionate friendship.

ADAM SISMAN has edited the letters in this collection which span almost seventy years, the first written ten days before Paddy's twenty-fifth birthday, the last when he was ninety-four. His correspondents include Deborah Devonshire, Ann Fleming, Nancy Mitford, Lawrence Durrell, Diana Cooper and his lifelong companion, Joan Rayner; he wrote his first letter to her in his cell at the monastery Saint Wandrille, the setting for his reflections on monastic life in A Time to Keep Silence. His letters exhibit many of his most engaging characteristics: his zest for life, his unending curiosity, his lyrical descriptive powers, his love of language, his exuberance and his tendency to get into scrapes - particularly when drinking and, quite separately, driving.

Here are plenty of extraordinary stories: the hunt for Byron's slippers in one of the remotest regions of Greece; an ignominious dismissal from Somerset Maugham's Villa Mauresque; hiding behind a bush to dub Dirk Bogarde into Greek during the shooting of Ill Met by Moonlight, the film based on the story of General Kreipe's abduction; his extensive travels. Some letters contain glimpses of the great and the good, while others are included purely for the joy of the jokes.

Topic to be confirmed
Anthony Seldon is the author of multiple volumes on the premiership from Edward Heath to Gordon Brown, Tony Blair to David Cameron, and is considered one of Britain’s pre-eminent political biographers and contemporary historians. He is the former head of one of the country’s leading independent schools, Wellington College, and has recently been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University. As Britain's best-known headmaster, Sir Anthony famously introduced happiness, or well-being, lessons at his school, Wellington College. In 2011, he co-founded Action for Happiness, a body to raise awareness of the discovery of happiness and reduction of depression, whose influence is growing rapidly in Britain and across the world.

Bestselling historian Alison Weir, author of Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, will discuss the second captivating novel in the Six Tudor Queens series. An unforgettable portrait of the ambitious woman whose fate we know all too well, but whose true motivations may surprise you. 'Weir is excellent on the little details that bring a world to life' Guardian. The young woman who changed the course of history; fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne draws attention at the English court, embracing the play of courtly love. But when the King commands, nothing is ever a game. Anne has a spirit worthy of a crown - and the crown is what she seeks. At any price. The second of Henry's Queens. Her story. History tells us why she died. This powerful novel shows her as she lived.

Terry Waite's personal account of his harrowing experiences as a hostage in Beirut. This book gives a fascinating insight into human life on the edge - the things people are willing to do to each other, and what it feels like to be treated in that way. Terry's endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering and long days spent in solitary confinement makes for a compelling tale.

This new edition includes an updated foreword and new final chapter conveying just a few of the many and varied experiences that came Terry's way post-release, and conveying his passionate engagement in Middle East issues since his release 25 years ago, an issue of just as much relevance today as ever.

BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES: Wheat and Chaff from my Years as a Priest
After a life of sex and drugs and the Communards - brilliantly recounted in the highly acclaimed first volume of his memoirs FATHOMLESS RICHES - the Reverend Richard Coles went on to devote his life to God and Christianity. He is a much-loved broadcaster, presenting SATURDAY LIVE on Radio 4 and giving us regular reason to PAUSE FOR THOUGHT on Radio 2.

What is life like for the parson in Britain today? For centuries the Church calendar - and the Church minister - gave character and personality to British life. Today, however, as the shape of the year has become less distinct and faith no longer as privileged or persuasive, that figure has become far more marginal.

In BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES, Reverend Coles answers this question. From his ordination during the season of Petertide, through Advent and Christmas to Lent and Easter, he gives us a unique insight into his daily experience in the ministry, with all the joy, drama, difficulty and humour which life - and indeed death - serves up in varying measures.

Written with extraordinary charm and erudition, BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES features a multitude of characters and events from parish life against a backdrop of the Christian calendar.

THE MAKING OF THE BRITISH LANDSCAPE: From the Ice Age to the Present
How much do we really know about the place we call 'home'? In this sweeping, timely book, Nicholas Crane tells the story of Britain.The British landscape has been continuously occupied by humans for 12,000 years, from the end of the Ice Age to the twenty-first century. It has been transformed from a European peninsula of glacier and tundra to an island of glittering cities and exquisite countryside.
In this geographical journey through time, we discover the ancient relationship between people and place and the deep-rooted tensions between town and countryside. The twin drivers of landscape change - climate and population - have arguably wielded as much influence on our habitat as monarchs and politics. From tsunamis and farming to Roman debacles and industrial cataclysms, from henge to high-rise and hamlet to metropolis, this is a book about change and adaptation. AS Britain lurches from an exploitative past towards a more sustainable future, this is the story of our age.

Did you know that your gut is responsible for producing around 90% of your serotonin, the chemical which makes you feel good? Not for nothing are our stomachs referred to as our second brains...

Since her last serious bout of depression in 2011, Rachel Kelly has evolved a broad holistic approach to staying well, but at the heart of her recovery has been changing the way she eats. Over the past five years, she has worked with nutritionist and Food Doctor Alice Mackintosh to build up a repertoire of recipes that target particular symptoms, from insomnia and mood swings to stress and exhaustion.

The result is a cookbook which offers something different: a wonderfully calming and pleasurable read, with delicious recipes and meal planners, as well as sections that cover the Golden Rules for a Happy Kitchen and Super Good Mood Foods. In "Nutrition Notes" scattered throughout the text, Alice also explains the latest science on particular foods and their role in boosting our mental health.

Imogen Lycett Green is an arts journalist based in Brighton. She co-founded the narrative medicine programme at the Brighton Health & Wellbeing Centre and is director of the Betjeman Poetry Prize. She has written columns for the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator and contributes to The Oldie, UK Vogue, the Daily Mail and writes a regular poetry column for new children's newspaper, Scoop.

Conn Iggulden is one of the UK’s most successful authors of historical fiction writing today. His new novel is about St Dunstan - a tenth century Archbishop of Canterbury. Conn is the author of the Sunday Times bestsellers Stormbird, Trinity, Bloodline and Ravenspur his series set during the Wars of the Roses, as well as two previous bestselling historical series on the Roman Emperors and Ghengis Khan and The Dangerous Book for Boys.

He will be interviewed by local author ANGUS DONALD author of The Outlaw Chronicles about the legendary figure of Robin Hood.

Children’s Events

The popular Pericles Theatre Company will return with a musical performance of the classic children’s tale of The Ugly Duckling, taking place in the glorious setting of the Castle’s design award-winning Orangery.

Piers’ bestselling first series for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award, nominated for the Carnegie Medal and won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (for The Dark Wild). His new standalone There May Be a Castle, is published in October 2016.  The son of the late Paul Torday (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) Piers recently completed his final unfinished novel, The Death of an Owl (W&N).

Lauren is author of the multi award-winning White Giraffe and One Dollar Horse series. Dead Man's Cove, the first in her mystery series featuring 11-year-old detective, Laura Marlin, won the 2011 Blue Peter Book of the Year Award.

A.F. Harrold is an English poet (1975 - present). He writes and performs for adults and children. He was Glastonbury Festival Website's Poet-In-Residence in 2008, and Poet-In-Residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2010. He won the Cheltenham All Stars Slam Championship in 2007 and has had his work on BBC Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC7. He runs workshops and slams and does performances at ungodly hours of the morning, and has published several collections of poetry. He is the owner of many books, a handful of hats, a few good ideas and one beard.

Christopher Lloyd is a historian, educationalist and author, best known for his sweeping narratives on big history (the history of the world). He is the author of the best-selling book What on Earth Happened: The Complete Story of the Planet, which has sold 500,000 copies. Lloyd is a keen advocate of connected learning. In collaboration with illustrator Andy Forshaw, Lloyd has established a format for telling giant narratives to young people by using illustrative timelines called Wallbooks, which present a broader view of world history and visualise connections between the past and the present day.

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