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Fairford Book Fest

Fairford Festival is thrilled to see the return of the Fairford Festival of Fiction as Book Fest and taking place over two days!

On Friday 9th June... we have two great children’s authors and illustrators, plus Children's Workshops taking place in the Literary marquee at Fairford Cricket Club.

On Saturday 10th June... we’re pleased to announce our cracking line-up of talented and well-known authors (listed below) from 10am-6.30pm - starting with a short opening at 9.45-10am by the young Reading Ambassadors from Fairford Primary School.

Book Fest logo

9.45 – 10am Opening of the Fairford Festival Book Fest 2023

The young Reading Ambassadors from Fairford Primary School will be opening the Fairford Festival Book Fest 2023 and will be reading a few selected passages from books they love.

Emma Perry

10am - Emma Reeves

Our first guest is Emma Reeves. Emma writes drama for screen, audio and stage including My Mum Tracy Beaker; The Beaker Girls; The Worst Witch; Hetty Feather; Little Women; Anne of Green Gables; Cool Hand Luke and Carrie’s War.

Amongst her many awards, Emma has three Writers’ Guild Awards for Best Children’s TV Episode and two British Screenwriter’s Awards for Best Children’s Show. She has been nominated for BAFTA Awards three times.

Emma will be interviewed by Isla Beadnell – a 15-year old Y10 Media student from Farmor’s School and will be explaining how she adapts novels/stories for stage and screen e.g. book adaptations for stage and screen of Carrie’s War, Little Women, The Worst Witch and Hetty Feather. As well as other works by Jacqueline Wilson: The Story of Tracy Beaker and My Mum Tracy Beaker.

Photo by Vanessa Valentine.

Rachael Stott

11.15 am - Sandra Howard

Sandra Howard was one of the leading fashion models of the 60s and 70s, appearing on the cover of American Vogue for two months in succession. She moved into freelance journalism, writing for newspapers and magazines including the Daily Mail and Sunday Express. She had a regular column in the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine, writes on travel for the Mail on Sunday and has written six previous novels. Her seventh novel – Love at War – is set mainly in Cairo and East Africa during WW2 and is based on a true story. Sandra is married to the former British Conservative Party Leader, Michael Howard and has three adult children.

Sandra will talk about her latest book, Love at War, explaining its interesting provenance and how much she enjoyed researching Cairo and East Africa in wartime. She will also talk about her first book, Glass Houses, a bit about her early journalism and the excitement of having a novel in print – the thrill never dies. It was just after getting her bus pass – long after her time as a model.

Antony Johnston

12.30pm - Anne de Courcy

Anne de Courcy is an English biographer and journalist including women’s editor on the London Evening News; a columnist for the London Evening Standard and feature writer for the Daily Mail. Her books include: The Viceroy’s Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters; Diana Mosley; Debs at War; Snowdon; The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj.

Anne will describe her life as a top journalist in London and the capital’s high society set and social climbing in London and New York.

Geoff Ryman

1.45pm - Dr Michael McCarthy

Dr Michael McCarthy lectured in Politics before a career in development, consultancy and in rural and heritage regeneration. His books include Campaigning for the Poor; A History of Their Making; and The New Politics of Welfare. Citizen of London was one of the Financial Times’ books of the week giving the book a very contemporary twist – lessons on how to make it in the City. Citizen of London has also been featured on Times Radio and is the subject of two BBC podcasts on – History Extra and History Revealed.

The extraordinary story of Richard Whittington, born 1358-59 just 35 miles from Fairford in Pauntley, Glos. Despatched as a young third son to London around 1369-70 to become a Mercer’s apprentice and rising to become one of our most notable medieval entrepreneurs. Displaying exceptional acumen in the wool and luxury cloth trades and becoming a key influencer at the Court of three English kings – Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V to whom Whittington would become a supplier of luxury goods, a lender and fixer. Four times Lord Mayor of London, a member of Parliament and a Sheriff of London. A success story that would not be out of place in the City today.

Clover Stroud

3pm - Paul Martin

Paul Martin lives in Wiltshire and is a British antiques dealer, professional drummer with some well-known bands and TV presenter for 18 years on the BBC antiques programme Flog It! He has starred in Antiques Road Trip and other classic valuation programmes.

Paul Martin will be talking about his life on TV and in the world of art and antiques. He will be bringing along a few ‘props’ from his antiques collection to discuss with the audience. He’ll also be talking about his new series airing in April and May on Channel 5: The Great Auction Showdown.

Jessica Fellowes photo

4.15pm - Jessica Fellowes

Jessica Fellowes is an author, freelance journalist and the niece of Julian Fellowes (creator and writer of Downton Abbey). Jessica was a columnist for the Mail and the London Paper, deputy editor of Country Life magazine, and writes now for the Telegraph, Times and Mail.

Jessica is an authority on Downton Abbey and will talk about her inside knowledge of this popular television series. She will also talk about creating a whole series of The Mitford Murders.

She is also open to questions from the audience.

Dom Joly photo

5.30pm - Dom Joly

Dom Joly is a comedian and author of many travel books. Born in Beirut and formerly a resident of Quenington, he now lives near Cheltenham with his Canadian wife, Stacey.

Famous for television comedy programme: Trigger Happy, Dom is also the author of many travel books including: Such Miserable Weather about holidaying in England; The Dark Tourist; The Downhill Hiking Club and Scary Monsters and Super Creeps (in search of the world’s most hideous beasts!).

Dom said: “As a former Quenington resident, it will be great to return to Fairford, one of my old stomping grounds to talk about my travel writing and my trips to 106 countries and some of the world’s weirdest destinations.”

Dom Joly will be interviewed by BBC TV’s Points West reporter, Steve Knibbs. Talking about The Downhill Hiking Club, which is Dom’s most recent book and is about him hiking across Lebanon with two friends.

The Dark Tourist and his travels to some of the world’s most weird destinations featured in his book – Chernobyl, Lebanon, North Korea, Killing Fields of Cambodia.

Also searching for mythical monsters e.g. Big Foot and the Yeti in Scary Monsters & Super Creeps. And Such Miserable Weather is about holidaying in England.

He has a new book coming out in November called The Conspiracy Tourist.

Interviewer Steve Knibbs

Steve Knibbs is the Gloucestershire Reporter for BBC Points West. He’s born and bred in the county and passionate about local news and telling the stories of the people live and work here.

Photo by Marksteen Adamson.

Tickets for the workshops at the Fairford Festival Book Fest for Children on Friday 9th June cost £6 per child per author (adults are free).
Tickets are available from 7a Coffee Shop OR Fairford C of E Primary School OR visit Eventbrite online and search for Fairford Festival Book Fest for Children (plus booking fee)

Tickets for the Fairford Festival Book Fest on Saturday 10th June cost £10 for all day access (children under 10 are free with a paying adult).

Tickets are available from 7a Coffee Shop OR Fairford C of E Primary School OR visit Eventbrite online and search for Fairford Festival Book Fest (plus booking fee).


Supported by The PB Shop and The Bull Hotel, Fairford.