Monday, 7 September 2015

Come to the excellent Chiswick Book Festival and tackle my fiendish literary anniversaries quiz!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve come up with a literary quiz for this year’s Chiswick Book Festival. In the past, I've done ones on James Bond and the First World War, but the subject this time around is literary anniversaries, and includes questions about F. Scott Fitzgerald (died 75 tears ago), Alice in Wonderland (published 150 years ago), the Battle of Waterloo (200 years ago), Rudyard Kipling (born 150 years ago), J.K. Rowling (born 50 years ago), Somerset Maugham (died 50 years ago) – you get the drift.

There are 60 questions in all. It only costs £1 to enter (they're already selling like hot-cakes), and you can get a copy if you attend any of the events during the festival. The winner's prize is a Macmillan 150th Anniversary boxed edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, donated by Fosters Bookshop in Chiswick High Road. Proceeds will go to three excellent (and, I would have thought, uncontroversial) charities: RNIB Talking Books, InterAct Stroke Support, and Doorstep Library.

This year’s programme is, I must say, an absolute corker – I’ve spotted at least ten events I wouldn’t mind attending, including most of the following:
Sir Max Hastings on The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939 – 1945
Former Sky new diplomatic editor Tim Marshall and Peter Oborne - Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell You Everything You Need to Know about Global Politics
Ferdinand Mount on The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money and Marriage in India 1805-1905
Former deputy DG Will Wyatt chairs a panel including former head of news, Roger Mosey, on “The BBC at Bay – Again”
After the Final Whistle: the First Rugby World Cup and the First World War
A.N. Wilson being quizzed by our vicar Father Kevin Morris on how to read The Bible (I suspect Father Kevin already knows - I imagine it's for the benefit of the rest of us)
Sandy Burnett on his Idler Guide to Classical Music
There’s also a talk on Anthony Burgess in Chiswick (he and his first wife lived here in the early ‘60s), and a host of people off the tele, including comedienne Helen Lederer, shop expert Mary Portas, Masterchef presenter John Torode (the Aussie, not the baldie), actor Hugh Fraser (Captain Hasting in Poirot), and (I’m very sorry to report) Vince Cable (shome mishtake surely)!

There are a host of other speakers and topics (crime fiction, children’s books, misery memoirs – you name it).

This is the festival’s seventh year. As always, it’s organised by members of our church, St Michael & All Angels, Bedford Park, and the chief organiser is Torin Douglas, who many readers will remember as the BBC’s media correspondent for many years. It takes place mainly at the church (although, as you can tell from the programme, there’s nothing particularly religious about it) and at the Tabard Theatre across the road. The church and the theatre are just around the corner from Turnham Green Station on the District Line (literally a 90 second walk). The festival kicks off on Thursday evening, and lasts till tea-time on Sunday. You can find all the information you’ll need here, and you can download the attractive full-colour programme leaflet here.

Hope to see you there – but please don’t ask me to reveal any of the answers to the quiz: Him Upstairs might get the hump, and I really do not want to get into His bad books.

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