Welcome, to where you can discover all about the spectacular speakers and events, and guarantee your place alongside some of your favourite writers, at the third Lavenham Literary Festival. From Friday evening 15 November through the weekend to Sunday 17 November, our beautiful mediaeval village in Suffolk will be the venue for a celebration of the written word.
Lavenham itself, with its Guildhall – heralded as the finest example of a timbered building of the period in the UK – and 300 listed buildings in a village with a population of under 2000, offers some outstanding hotels, restaurants, shops, and galleries. There is an ambience for readers of every genre, a place for every need.
We are excited to welcome the former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, who will speak at the Festival Dinner at The Swan Hotel on Friday 15 November.
Other highlights for 2013 include the acclaimed historian Tracy Borman talking about her latest book The Witches of Belvoir: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction in Jacobean England with its echoes of the days of “The Witchfinder General” – a period which inspired the 1968 cult film of which pivotal scenes with Vincent Price were filmed in Lavenham’s historic Market Place.
Tracy Chevalier will be discussing her new novel The Last Runaway which received a warm and enthusiastic reception this year. Her award-winning novel Girl with a Pearl Earring established her as one of our most accomplished and popular writers of historical fiction. The film based on the book received three Academy Award nominations in 2004. She has since written several successful and engaging novels. The Last Runaway is set in 1850s Ohio and follows the Quaker Honor Bright as she flees England for a new life in America.
Suffolk-based Nicci French, the highly successful husband-and-wife writing partnership, and as such one of the world’s leading crime fiction writers, will be speaking about their eagerly-anticipated latest novel in the Frieda Klein series, Waiting for Wednesday.
In the run-up to the end of what has been a fantastic year for her in professional and personal achievement, Kate Mosse will be in Lavenham to celebrate the publication of her first collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Ghostly Tales. Kate is the author of the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre & Citadel – as well as a stand-alone novella, The Winter Ghosts, which was also a number one bestseller. The Co-Founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, this year she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for Services to Literature.
One of our other star speakers, Clare Mulley, has also enjoyed a fabulous year. Her first book, The Woman Who Saved the Children: a Biography of Eglantyne Jebb, won the Biographers’ Club Prize which is sponsored by the Daily Mail. Her new work tells the intriguing story of a woman murdered in a South Kensington hotel in June 1952. Christine Granville had survived the Second World War to die tragically young at the hands of an obsessed former lover. In The Spy Who Loved, Clare Mulley tells the extraordinary story of this fearless and often difficult woman, who exercised a mesmeric power over all who knew her.
Our real-life spook is Dame Stella Rimington who joined the security service MI5 in 1968 and became the first female Director General in 1992. Her spy novels (and you don’t have to be an espionage agent to discover why this is) have a unique authenticity about them. Her autobiography Open Secret was itself a publishing miracle – in that it was published at all, and only after profound negotiations – and an intriguing step in from the cold for her. Since then she’s written five novels featuring her agent Liz Carlyle, and the latest, The Geneva Trap, became available this summer.
Dame Stella will be interviewed by Peter Guttridge, former crime fiction critic for The Observer.
Also with us is Liz Trenow, a Suffolk author whose first novel The Last Telegram, which tells the story of a silk-weaving family in East Anglia, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association 2013 award.
We have a creative crime writing workshop with the entertaining and educational Mike Ripley, author of the award-winning Angel series of comedy thrillers. The workshop is suitable for readers as well as budding authors.
During Festival week there will be a focus on children’s literature, linked to our Community Primary School. The highlight will be a day at the school with author Kevin Price and his latest book The Silly Solar System.
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