Monthly Archives: February 2013

Naomi Wolf to talk at WOW

The amazing women at WOW have asked us to share this information with you all about an event next week with feminist writer Naomi Wolf:

As part of our evening programme we are delighted to welcome internationally acclaimed author, social critic and political activist Naomi Wolf for an in-depth discussion of her life, work, and her latest book.

Wolf discusses pornography and rape, as well as intimacy and sensuality. Plus she talks about how men – or anyone who loves women – can learn from the latest research about how really to understand the nature of female pleasure and its importance.

Wolf’s first book ‘The Beauty Myth’ (published in 1991) challenged the cosmetics industry and the marketing of unrealistic standards of beauty. It went on to become a bestseller and was credited with launching a new wave of feminism.

In her latest best-selling book, Wolf makes the case that the vagina is much more than a sex organ. It is integral to female well-being, and is one catalyst to female creativity, confidence and identity. It was also named Publishers’ Weekly Best Science Book of the Season.

Part of the WOW – Women of the World Festival 2013. For more information on the festival visit wow.southbankcentre.co.uk

When? Saturday 9 March

Where? Royal Festival Hall

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Me and my book

A couple of years ago, well, rather more than a couple, I started writing a children’s book about cats. I entered it into a competition and sent it to some publishers and then forgot about it for a few years.

 

Then, when I decided to publish The Lightbulb Moment, I dug Greta and Boris out again to do a trial run of self publishing. There were quite a lot of things wrong with it, so I set about re-writing and was soon once more immersed in Greta’s magical adventures.

 

I sent a copy to Bidisha who had expressed an interest in reading it, and her review convinced me to try and get the thing published.

So I contacted John Hunt publishers who I knew had published Laurie Penny and Nina Power, and hurrah! They liked it and accepted it. There was some more editing to do, and my friend Rob Griggs worked on the illustrations – including the beautiful cover.

 And today, in the post, this arrived.

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Not ashamed to say there were tears in my eyes when I opened the box. I love writing and having a book published has been my ambition ever since I wrote a book about a duck when I was five.

I’m now working on a grown up novel but I feel that Greta, Boris and Kyrie will be going on some more adventures soon.

You can pre-order Greta and Boris: a daring rescue on Amazon and it will be published on 29 March 2013.

If you are an agent and would like to represent me, please get in touch. As I say, I’m working on another book and will be writing a sequel for G&B soon so give me a shout!

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Anything Words – tonight

Don’t forget, the Anything Words event to help raise money for the festival is happening tonight. 

Organised by the amazing powerhouse that is Debi Withers, Anything Words invites us all to bring our favourite books and authors together to read, discuss and celebrate. 

I’m taking my very old and well-loved copy of Orlando – inspired by Jeanette Winterson’s gorgeous New Statesman article yesterday. And I’m looking forward to seeing what other people are bringing along. Hopefully this will be a chance to discover some new writers!

Where? Arts West Side, 6 Old Market Street, BS2 0BH

When? Tonight, 7pm

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A tribute to Orlando

Jeanette Winterson has written a beautiful, ecstatic tribute to one of our favourite novels, Orlando, in The New Statesman

Read it and then if you haven’t already, read the book. It’s beautiful and often laugh out loud funny.

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Don’t forget: Lynn Shepherd talk on Monday night!

Chase away those Monday blues and come to lovely Foyles on Monday 18th Feb to meet Lynn Shepherd, author of A Treacherous Likeness. 

The book explores the dark secrets and intermingled lives of Shelley, Mary Shelley and the romantic poets. Through the process of writing it, she has made many fascinating discoveries about the lives of the Shelleys that offer new and shocking answers to some of the unexplained mysteries about the couple. 

She told Foyles:

I’ve been fascinated by the Young Romantics’ circle for years, but my novelistic antennae really started twitching when I was looking for a follow-up subject after Tom-All-Alone’s, and started to read Richard Holmes’ wonderful biography of Percy Bysshe Shelley, which then led on to Miranda Seymour’s life of Mary Shelley, who was of course the author of Frankenstein. The more I read about the strange and inexplicable gaps in the story of the Shelleys’ lives, the more I realised that there was the possibility to write my own story – a story which could make sense of all those mysterious events and echoing silences that Shelley’s biographers have so far been unable to explain.”

To reserve your place for Monday’s talk, contact Foyles today

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Leeds Book Club blog the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

Our lovely friends at the Leeds Book Club blog are writing a series of previews of the festival, reviewing the books of some of our speakers.

This fabulous celebration of the event starts with a look at the work of Helen Dunmore, who will be talking at the Women Writing Today panel on Saturday 16 March. You can book your tickets for the event here.

Thanks BookElf! 

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Beatrice Hitchman chooses her top 5 debut novels

What makes a great debut novel? Is it one that arrives already perfect, already a masterpiece; or one that’s rough-edged, full of brio, the spark of a brilliant career? Or something else altogether? As many answers to this question as there are books – but here’s my suitably anarchic list:

5. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit… so that’s what a literary empire sounds like, thundering towards you. To me, though, The Hobbit is just the first book I picked up and couldn’t stop reading; and I think the actual magician is Tolkien, using every narrative trick possible to keep you hooked (preciousss).

 4. She Came to Stay (L’Invitée) – Simone de Beauvoir

 ‘You and I are simply one. Neither of us can be described without the other…’ Though we know her best for The Second Sex, de Beauvoir wrote novels, like this existentialist thriller about artists in wartime Paris. Like all her stuff, it’s pretty heavy on the philosophy, but I love it because of that engagement; and also because it’s a really personal story, about a couple who somehow become a threesome, and don’t quite know what to do about it…. 

3. Pig Tales (Truismes) – Marie Darrieussecq

There are lots of animals in this frightening vision of an alternative France: swimming pools full of sharks, and wolves…and then there’s our heroine, who suspects she might be turning into a pig. Funny, grotesque and dazzlingly ambitious, this made the twenty-six year-old Darrieussecq an overnight star, and makes me seethe with envy every time I read it – so it goes without saying that it’s one of my very favourites. 

2. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

If you’re Flaubert, your path to publication goes like this: write Bovary for YEARS, get it published AT LAST… get sued, because this brilliant novel was a bit much for the public of the time. Flaubert wasn’t put off from writing, and published lots besides, but this is the one most people think of – and the story still feels modern and relevant today. 

1. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

Called “wild, confused, disjointed, and improbable” when it was first published, Wuthering Heights is often thought of as Jane Eyre’s psychotic twin: which is fun, because Emily Brontë really was Charlotte’s sister, and I sometimes wonder if the pillow fights ever got out of hand. It’s a cri de coeur, all right, but a glorious one, which continues to inspire terrible romantic behaviour every single day – and I like my books a bit wild, so this is what I’ve chosen as my number one debut of  all time.

Beatrice Hitchman’s debut novel, Petite Mort, is published in March and is a must read! She will be speaking on the Women’s Writing Today panel on Saturday 16th March. 

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