Top authors line up at Hastings Book Festival - here's who's coming

Hastings Book Festival begins on September 16, promising a programme more varied than ever, with lots of local interest and more than 30 events spread over ten days.
Wayne HerbertWayne Herbert
Wayne Herbert

Festival director Wayne Herbert said: “Novelists, journalists, children’s authors, fiction for young adults, workshops for writers, poetry performances, literature for mental health, events for children, fiction, non-fiction, music, Shakespeare, Keats, Greek mythology, thrillers, bloggers and community projects, there’s a fantastic and diverse range of events on offer at this year’s Hastings Book Festival, with something for everyone interested in books or writing.

“The influential food blogger and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe will be giving this year’s Catherine Cookson Lecture – a talk given annually in honour of the best-selling author who lived in Hastings for many years. The eminent foreign correspondent Christina Lamb will be talking about her life and telling festival visitors the true story of what happened when a Shrewsbury Hotel took in rough sleepers during the pandemic – and how the lives of all those involved were changed by the experience. Writer, broadcaster, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes will be talking about her new book Stone Blind, the story of Medusa. Haynes’ previous books include the best-sellers Pandora’s Jar and A Thousand Ships.

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“Also visiting the festival this year to talk about her latest book, Elizabeth of York, The Last White Rose, is Alison Weir, the biggest-selling female historian in the United Kingdom, who now lives just outside Hastings.

“Bookfest favourite and Booker prize nominee Simon Mawer will be making a return appearance this year to talk about his latest book Ancestry, the story of his family across the generations.

“Miranda Seymour’s new biography of Jean Rhys, author of The Wide Sargasso Sea, has been hailed as one of this summer’s must-reads and we are delighted to welcome Miranda to the festival to discuss the troubled life of this remarkable author. Miranda will be in conversation with Andy Miller, author of The Year of Reading Dangerously and co-presenter of the popular podcast Backlisted which breaths new life into old books. And there’s more local interest when we welcome poets Julia Bird and Mike Sims for a lively session based on the life and work of John Keats where there’ll be talk of the encounter that Keats had with a mysterious woman in St Leonards whilst writing his masterpiece Endymion at what is now the Bo-Peep pub!

“Cat lovers will be fascinated by a talk by another local resident – the highly respected feline behaviourist Anita Kelsey. Previously a MOBO award-winning singer-songwriter (she even sang backing vocals for the Spice Girls), she’ll be talking about all things feline – what makes cats tick, dealing with problem behaviour and how to understand what they’re thinking.

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“There are workshops for writers, and we’re delighted to have Andrew Willie who was senior editor at Little Brown Publishers harnessing the symbolic powers of the Four Elements for the inspirations and fresh perspectives they can bring to the craft of writing and any creative practice.”

For full details of all the events, workshops and performances, and to book your tickets, visit the festival website Also the Hastings Bookshop.

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