Queen’s Park Book Festival 2018

queens park book festival

The Queen’s Park Book Festival is delighted to announce a packed weekend of literary celebration and debate in the heart of one of London’s favourite parks on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July.

The festival will bring together a mix of local, national and international writers and fresh literary talent led by the new Festival Director Thomas du Plessis. With over 40 events across the weekend there is something for everyone, with the programme covering current affairs, politics, fiction, stage and screen, sport, music, cookery, poetry and more, as well as free children’s events and family-friendly activities. The festival will also put local talent front and centre, shining a light on the extraordinary creativity of North West London.

You can buy tickets here, and more information and the full program can be found at the festival website



Literary giants and local legends Zadie Smith (Feel Free) and Nick Laird (Modern Gods) join academic and critic John Mullan to talk about their lives in writing and to read from new works. Three novelists, Susie Boyt, Tessa Hadley, and Lucy Hughes-Hallett, discuss the importance of reading to them as writers. Susie’s novel Love and Fame, Tessa’s short story collection The Past, and Lucy’s novel Peculiar Ground are all recently published in paperback. Man Booker shortlisted author Philip Hensher (The Friendly Ones) and brilliant young novelist Joe Dunthorne (The Adulterants) discuss their most recent books with John Mullan. Celebrating 50 years of the Man Booker Prize, 2013 winner Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries) interrogates the importance of prizes to writers with former Man Booker judge Stuart Kelly and member of the Advisory Committee for the Man Booker Derek Johns.

Cathy Rentzenbrink (The Last Act of Love) and Louisa Young (You Left Early: a true story of love and alcohol) tackle the difficulty of writing about the loss of someone you loved. Amanda Craig (The Lie of the Land), Winner of the first Costa Book Award Francesca Segal (The Awkward Age) discuss happy and unhappy families in literature with Hannah Beckerman (The Dead Wife’s Handbook).

Three brilliant writers, author Gulwali Passerlay (The Lightless Sky: My Journey to Safety as a Child Refugee)author JJ Bola (No Place to Call Home: Love, Loss, Belonging) and artist Sophie Herxheimer (Velkom to Inklandt: Poems in my grandmother’s Inklisch) share their incredible refugee experiences with the journalist Emily Dugan.

Two of the finest writers of contemporary crime fiction, Sarah Hilary (Come and Find Me) and Ali Knight (The Silent Ones) reveal to renowned crime critic Barry Forshaw how closely guarded – and dangerous – secrets give their novels a chilling edge.

Elizabeth Fremantle (The Poison Bed) and Imogen Hermes Gowar (The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock) unpick the mesmeric nature of historical fiction. Nigerian British writer and Betty Trask award winner Irenosen Okojie discusses her short story collection Speak Gigantular with Shyama Perera. New York Times bestselling author Natasha Solomons talks about how she spins historical research into immersive fiction.


Beloved local and former Tory MP Stanley Johnson (Kompromat) and editor, journalist, television presenter, author and daughter Rachel Johnson (Notting Hell) discuss the intersection of politics and TV. In this special event marking a hundred years since (some) women won the vote, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, award-winning journalist and author Caitlin Davies (Bad Girls: A History of Holloway Prison), acclaimed author Rachel Holmes (Eleanor Marx: A Life) consider the rich history of women and politics in Britain in an event chaired by journalist and author Melissa Benn (What should we tell our daughters?).

Celebrating the National Health Service’s 70th Anniversary, Health Editor for BBC News Hugh Pym (Inside the Banking Crisis: The Untold Story), Adam Kay (This is Going to Hurt) and Rachel Clarke (Your Life In My Hands: A Junior Doctor’s Story) will debate its future and how this cherished institution will need to adapt to survive. Broadcaster and journalist Michael Cockerell talks to former Scottish Labour Party MP and journalist Tom Harris about his new book, Ten Years in the Death of the Labour Party. 


Bringing together our brightest stage and screen visionaries, English theatre director and film producer Nicholas Hytner (Balancing Act) and actor and music historian Simon Russell Beale allow their 30-year long conversation about Shakespeare to spill out on stage. Award-winning director Stephen Frears and author of A Very English Scandal John Preston will talk to Amol Rajan about the remarkable story of Jeremy Thorpe and the upcoming new BBC series adaptation of Preston’s book directed by Frears. A fringe event at the Lexi Cinema will host a special screening of the iconic 1931 horror film Frankenstein to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with John Sutherland (Frankenstein’s Brain: Puzzles and Conundrums in Mary Shelley’s Monstrous Masterpiece).


BBC Sports Editor and author Mihir Bose (From Midnight to Glorious Morning?), former England cricketer Chris Lewis (Crazy: My Road to Redemption) & BBC presenter, editor and author Amol Rajan (Twirlymen: The Unlikely History of Cricket’s Greatest Spin Bowlers) discuss the latest scandals, developments and the future of the game itself. With the 2018 World Cup in full swing, former chief sports writer for the Guardian Richard Williams (The Death of Ayrton Senna), sports historian and local resident Simon Inglis and football writer Simon O’Hagan come together to discuss and analyse what we’ve witnessed so far.


English actress, novelist, musician, journalist and BBC radio 3 presenter Clemency Burton-Hill will discuss her new book Year of WonderClassical Music for Everyday with journalist and author Hannah Beckerman.


Restaurateur and award-winning author Russell Norman (Polpo) will interview Michelin-starred chef Giorgio Locatelli (Made at Home: The food I cook for the people I love) about his celebrated career and passion for cooking, as well as the secrets behind his latest recipes. For the intellectually hungry, there will be a literary brunch with veggie burger king, fractal artist and New Age entrepreneur Greg Sams (founder of Whole Earth foods, creator of the veggie burger, alternative thinker, published writer, entrepreneur), in conversation with local journalist and former Newsnight Editor Stephen Haggard.


The festival opens with an exclusive free event for the beneficiaries of the local literary charity Real Action, hosted by award winning children’s author David Solomons. Visitors will be able to find out the stories of the WW1 Servicemen of Queen’s Park who died in WW1 from local historians and experts from an exclusive investigation. The festival has commissioned local theatre company Palimpsest to create a special event with WW1 poetry readings and recitals for the festival. Author of Humans of Greater London, Cathy Teesdale has been commissioned to create an exclusive exhibition Humans of Queen’s Park, which champions and celebrates local residents of Queen’s Park. Local social enterprise Advantages of Age which celebrates growing old will present ‘The Tales from the Hot Tub’ with ten local writers and poets discussing their unique take on modern life, inspired by nights in a Kilburn hot tub.


An event entitled ‘stormy waters’ will be a spirited and beguiling look at modern life through the eyes of three poets: Caroline SmithChrys Salt MBE and Dzifa Benson in conversation with Rachael Newberry. Local authors and poets will be reading from their own work and stories written specifically for Queen’s Park Book Festival, presenting their unique view of Queen’s Park including: Yvonne Bailey-Smith (writer and psychotherapist), Mary Daly (writer and Brent Labour counsellor), Duncan McDowall (writer and local autobiographer), Mulumba Tshikuka (debonair writer and performer). Hosted by local writer and festival organiser Hud Saunders. The 8 local short stories will be published in a pamphlet specially for the Queen’s Park Book Festival, that will be given out free to the audience on the day.


There are free children’s events throughout the weekend with authors including Ben LyttletonAlex Bellos (Football School: The Amazing Quiz Book), Yuval Zommer (Bugs and BeastsKevin Tsang (Sam Wu is NOT afraid of ghosts), Katherine Webber (Wing Jones) and Lou Kuenzler (Not Yet Zebra)

Queen’s Park Book Festival 2018

Saturday 30 June – Sunday 1 July | Queen’s Park, Kilburn, NW6 6SG | #QPBookFest


    1. It’s not always easy depending where you live and what events are near to you, but I highly recommend getting to a book festival!

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