June 13, 2024

Six summer events for bookworms

Book| © Florin Gorgan/ Flickr
Book| © Florin Gorgan/ Flickr

Whether this year has left a Glastonbury-shaped hole in your calendar, you’re fed up with Football Fever, or you’re just looking for abit of culture, we’ve got just the thing. Six fabulously bookish events to enjoy this summer.

Celebrate the sisterhood
Launching this summer, Feminist Book Fortnight (16 to 30 June) was initiated by Five Leaves Bookshop. Now over 25 independent bookshops are taking part in the campaign with the aim of keeping the debate about diversity in publishing – and books by women writers – in the spotlight. Over the 2 weeks there are lots of fascinating events planned, from a discussion with Helen Pankurst about her book, Deeds Not Words, to a panel debate on the absence of working class narratives in literature.

Happy Birthday Ian McEwan!
One of Britain’s greatest modern writers turns 70 this month. And to celebrate, Vintage is publishing a brand new short story by the author himself. My Purple Scented Novel is a gripping tale of literary betrayal that follows the fortunes of two writers: once celebrated Jocelyn Tarbet and once obscure Parker Sparrow. With echoes of his early novella, Amsterdam, it’s perfectly formed and just the right side of dark. Order your copy and look forward to a delightful hour hoovering it up in the garden.

A film fit for bookworms
Penelope Fitzgerald’s Booker-shortlisted novel The Bookshop is adapted for the big screen by Spanish writer-director Isabel Coixet. Emily Mortimer is Florence Green, a war widow who dreams of opening a bookshop in a small Suffolk town. But, this being England in the ’50s, such lofty ambitions cause something of a stir and the town becomes a battleground. Add in a mysterious book-loving recluse (Billy Nighy) and a haughty aristocrat (Patricia Clarkson) and you’ve got the perfect slice of summer entertainment. Out now in cinemas nationwide.

50 years of the Man Booker  
For half a century, the Man Booker Prize has recognised many of the defining novels of our times and continues to celebrate the best fiction. Head to the Southbank Centre this July to join in the weekend of celebrations. We can’t guarantee cake but there will be a star-studded line up featuring past winners and literary luminaries including Hilary Mantel, Julian Barnes and Kazuo Ishiguro. There’ll also be masterclasses – from tips about getting published to how to edit your novel – for aspiring writers. The Man Booker 50 Festival is on from 6 to 8 July.

A little more conversation
Even if you haven’t got round to reading Old Baggage yet, you’ve no doubt heard about it; it’s been on most of this summer’s ‘must read’ lists. A bittersweet comic novel, it follows the fortunes of militant suffragette, Matilda Simpkin, as she struggles to match her present to her thrilling past. Take a trip to the lovely Daunt Books in Hampstead to hear author Lissa Evans (who also penned Their Finest) discuss her book with journalist Lucy Scholes. 27 June 6.30pm at Daunt Books Hampstead, 51 South End Road, London NW3 2QB.

A Woodstock for the mind
The Queen’s Park Book Festival is back for the first time since 2011 with a packed weekend of literary entertainment and debate. Discover new local talent and see the headliners – including Stephen Frears, Stanley Johnson, Eleanor Catton and Shami Chakrabarti. Local legends Zadie Smith and her husband Nick Laird will also be in conversation with critic John Mullan. And don’t forget to bring the little ones – there’ll be free children’s events throughout the weekend. Queen’s Park Book Festival is on from 30 June to 1 July.


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