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Best of the Guildford Book Fest

The Guildford Book Festival kicked off last night and with its huge array of speakers across a nine day extravaganza, Surrey’s county town punches way above its weight, I reckon.

There are some big-hitters in the line-up: serious bods like Max Hastings and Martin Bell; twinkle toes Anton du Beke; and a troupe of best-sellers including Bernard Cornwell, Kate Mosse, Alison Weir and Joanna Trollope. Need a little steer on what to book? Well, it’s funny you should say that. Here’s our Top 7 festival picks.

Gill Sims: Why Mummy Swears – The Struggles of an Exasperated Mum
 The Guildhall, Guildford   Mon 8 Oct

Photo by Martin Hunter

If you’re a fan of the Peter and Jane blog, you’ll howl with laughter at this evening of lively conversation with Gill Sims. She’s also written two number one best-sellers, Why Mummy Drinks and Why Mummy Swears. And – naturally – the evening includes a glass of wine.

Bryony Gordon – in conversation with Jane Wenham Jones
 The Electric Theatre, Guildford   Tues 9 Oct

The irrepressible author and Telegraph columnist ran the London Marathon in her underwear, so shy and retiring she most definitely is not. She’s in town to talk about her latest book, Eat, Drink, Run: How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad, a keeping-it-real welcome antidote to Joe Wicks and that whole clean-living broccoli bunch.

Alison Weir: Six Tudor Queens – Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen
 The Electric Theatre, Guildford   Tues 9 Oct

Alison Weir returns to Guildford to chat about Jane Seymour, the third of King Henry’s wives. Her new novel casts fresh light on the young queen, portraying her as a young woman of courage and compassion, driven by the strength of her faith, and the belief that she can achieve some good in a wicked world.

Kate Mosse in Conversation with Stephanie Merritt: The Burning Chambers
■ The Electric Theatre, Guildford  ■ Wed 10 Oct

Highly-acclaimed author Kate Mosse, talks to Stephanie Merritt (aka S J Parris) about her number one bestselling novel, The Burning Chambers. Bringing 16th century Languedoc vividly to life, it’s a gripping story of love and betrayal, mysteries and secrets, conspiracies and divided loyalties.

Cocktails with Adele Parks and Tasmina Perry
■ The Long Bar at the Harbour Hotel, Guildford  ■ Thurs 11 Oct

Adele Parks, author of I Invited Her In

All the best bookclubs involve wine or cocktails – and this evening promises to be a thriller (!!), with best-selling authors Adele Parks and Tasmina Perry. They’ll be chatting about their psychological thrillers, I Invited Her In and Friend of the Family, over a cocktail.

Maryam Sinaiee: Nightingales and Roses – a Taste of Iran
■ The Electric Theatre cafe, Guildford  ■ Fri 12 Oct

One for the foodies – this one includes some Persian treats. Blogger and home cook Maryam introduces the flavours, history and culture of her native Iran. Born in Tehran, she learned to cook from her mother and is passionate about Persian history and its cuisine.

Anton du Beke: One Enchanted Evening
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford  ■ Sun 14 Oct

Twinkle toes himself has written a book – his debut novel – called One Enchanted Evening, set around a London hotel ballroom in the lead up to World War II. He’ll be chatting to BBC Radio Surrey host Lesley McCabe about the book his time on Strictly Come Dancing and his career as an all-round entertainer.





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