We luuuuurrvve a festival here at Muddy – music, wellbeing, alternative, we’ll take it all. But there is a special place in our heart for local book festivals, where the whole town comes together to celebrate the very best in literature. So, we are on the edge of our seats waiting for the fab Stroud Book Festival, now in its fourth year and growing bigger and better by the day (well, by the year). Fiction, memoir, sustainability and biodiversity, food and lifestyle, current affairs and politics, poetry, workshops, authors for schools, family fun….all this, and The Gruffalo too! This year, Stroud Book Festival will present over fifty events across five days in a programme that celebrates life, love and reading, with more than a nod to current affairs and urgent environmental matters.
It’s five days of fun – 6-10 November at venues across Stroud – where families, fiction, forgiveness, Faber’s 90th, food, future, fabrics, film, and fitness are all on the menu. Oh, and a quick heads up – some events sell out quickly (some have already sold out of early bird tix) so get booking now!
We are most excited about the events aimed at women, with a real emphasis on Feeling Good (yep, we need a bit of that!). Grab your seats now for award-winning comic novelist Nina Stibbe in conversation with equally funny local author, Sue Limb. Nina Stibbe’s third novel, “Reasons to Be Cheerful” (whose title they have unashamedly nicked for this event) is so funny that it won the 2019 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Sue Limb’s debut novel ‘Up the Garden Path’, about a teacher whose private life is an absolute disgrace was also made into a TV series and her monthly column for Cotswold Life is an essential read for any self-respecting Cotswold resident. Chatting with Stroud Book Festival Artistic Director Caroline Sanderson, Nina and Sue will talk about their writing, and bring some much-needed levity to the current state of affairs.
Another biggie is one of my all-time favourites, Katy Brand
, who, at the age of 13 loved Dirty Dancing so much she watched it every single night for three months until her Dad hid the videotape. Now she’s penned “I Carried a Watermelon: Dirty Dancing and Me”, a witty, endearing and surprisingly political take on how her life-long obsession with this 1987 movie has influenced her attitudes to sex, love, rights and responsibilities.
Other highlights include Annie Deadman
‘s Blast, when you can get the final day of Stroud Book Festival underway with a workout, and Stroud’s own Katie Fforde’s ‘What Katie Read
‘. Katie published her 25th
novel this year, which went straight to Number One in the bestseller lists for hardback fiction. In celebration of this remarkable achievement, Katie is hosting a very special event, for which she will be joined by the authors of her two favourite debut novels of the past year – Anstey Harris and Joe Heap. Together they will talk about romance, about writing and about much more besides.
Fabulous Fiction with Faber
gives you the chance to join in the 90th birthday celebrations of famous publishing house Faber & Faber – home of TS Eliot, PD James and Kazuo Ishiguro – with three of its finest contemporary fiction authors who will discuss their latest novels.
Kate Hamer’s first novel, “The Girl in the Red Coat” was shortlisted for awards included the Costa First Novel Prize. Set in Bath, her third and most recent novel, “Crushed” is the gripping story of three teenage girls who form an intense friendship over one summer. Trinidadian-born Ingrid Persaud’s debut novel, “Love After Love” will be published by Faber in April 2020, and tells of the unconventional Ramdin-Chetan family – happy in their differences until the night a glass of rum, a heart to heart and a terrible truth drives them apart. Bev Thomas’s debut novel, psychological thriller “A Good Enough Mother” counts Paula Hawkins, author of “The Girl on the Train” among its fans and is the story of trauma therapist, Dr Ruth Hartland who is preoccupied with the disappearance of her son, Tom. So when a new patient arrives who looks shockingly like Tom, it sets in motion a chilling series of events. Your ticket price includes a glass of wine, a sandwich lunch, a proof copy of the not-yet-published “Love After Love” by Ingrid Persaud and
some 90th birthday goodies from Faber & Faber!
Fancy trying your own hand at writing? Why not try the Beginner’s Writing Workshop
with experienced writing mentor and coach Katri Skala. This half-day workshop is suitable for anyone who has a desire to write fiction or who is already writing and would like to make progress.
Got Mudlets in tow? There is lots of fabulous family entertainment on offer, including the always-wonderful Julia Donaldson
, in a fun-packed hour of dramatised stories, songs and audience participation. The stories featured in the show will include Julia’s latest books, “The Go-Away Bird” and “The Smeds and the Smoos”, as well as classic favourites such as “The Gruffalo”.
Sophie Dahl showcases her first children’s book, “Madame Badobedah
”, a timeless story celebrating the power of friendship and of imagination. Come and hear Sophie tell all about the inspirations behind this warm and sparky story, in conversation with Nicolette Jones, children’s books editor of The Sunday Times.
There is also Elmer Storytelling
; a magical hour of fun and circus laughter with the one and only Nell Gifford, owner and producer of Giffords Circus
along with award-winning children’s writer Sally Gardner, and a series of Aardman Animations workshops
where you get the chance to learn how to make your very own Gromit, Shaun or Lu-La character.
To sum up Stroud Book Festival this year, we can’t do better than quote the inimitable Sue Limb: “When we grow up we sometimes feel we’ve lost the joy of plunging into an imaginary new world. We feel besieged by political angst, taxes, illness and bereavement. But that childhood feeling of escape is still available to us, through our imaginations: the moment we open a book.”
So, ready to book?