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The best of Guildford Book Festival 2021

It's time to indulge our inner bookworms and check out the Guildford Book Festival line up... and with more than 30 speakers taking part in live events at venues across the town there's plenty to see. Here are our top choices.

The Guildford Book Festival is back for its 32nd year of celebrating some of the best authors on your shelves. Who doesn’t love hiding themselves away and getting immersed in a good novel?

This year’s line up features some big hitters – including Hollywood stars, award-winning novelists, comedians and broadcasters – as well as a few emerging stars. And as well as talks there are writing workshops. Here is a run down of some of the most interesting picks from the eight day event which is on from Sun 3 – Sun 10 Oct. Reading glasses at the ready!

Nadiya Hussain: Nadiya’s Fast Flavours
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre  ■ Sun 24 Oct, 7pm

Nadiya Hussain, writer, chef, chook
Photo credit: Chris Terry

Nadiya Hussain’s joy and excitement for food is contagious, so this is a talk not to miss for all you foodies out there. Nadiya will discuss her latest recipe book, Nadiya’s Fast Flavours, and her love of fuss-free cooking. Tickets for under 18s cost £15, adult tickets cost £21, and it’s £39 if you’d like a signed copy of the cookbook too.


Sebastian Faulks in conversation with Stephanie Merritt – Snow Country
■ The Electric Theatre  ■ Mon 4 Oct, 6.30pm

Sebastian Faulks, writer, author
Photo credit: Still Moving

Best known for his hugely popular novel Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks is heading to Guildford to discuss his latest effort, Snow Country. Based in Austria, the story follows Lena, a spirited girl born with nothing and Anton, a man of passion and self-doubt. Tickets cost £32 and included a signed copy of the book.


Graeme Hall: All Dogs Great and Small – What I’ve Learnt Training Dogs
■ The Electric Theatre  ■ Tue 5 Oct, 6.30pm

Graeme Hall, dog trainer, writer

Thinking about getting a puppy soon? This one is for you. Famed dog trainer Graeme Hall will shares his tips on building a strong relationship with your pup from day one and relives some of the funny experiences he’s had with our furry friends. Tickets cost £15.


Vince Cable: The Chinese Conundrum – Engagement or Conflict
■ The Electric Theatre  ■ Tue 5 Oct, 8.15pm

Vince Cable, politician

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable will discuss the inner workings of his new book, where he explores the complicated nature of the relationship between China and the western world. Tickets cost £15.


Professor Tim Jackson in conversation with: Post Growth – Life After Capitalism
■ Climate Emergency Centre  ■ Wed 6 Oct, 7pm

Professor Tim Jackson, writer
Photo credit: Fernando Manoso-Borgas

With the climate crisis continuing to intensify, Professor Tim Jackson from the University of Surrey discusses the topics explored in his new book, debating what a world beyond capitalism could look like. Tickets cost £15.


Jeremy Vine: The Diver and the Lover
■ The Electric Theatre  ■ Wed 6 Oct, 6.30pm

Jeremy Vine, writer and broadcaster
Photo credit: Sophia Spring, Hodder & Stoughton 2020

The famous broadcaster will arrive in Guildford ready to discuss his first effort as a novelist. The Diver and the Lover is set in 1951 and follows the story of sisters Ginny and Meredith, who travel from England to Catalonia in search of distraction. Things soon escalate when they discover artist Salvador Dali is staying nearby. Tickets cost £15.

Hayley Mills in conversation with Elizabeth Buchan: Forever Young – A Memoir
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre  ■ Sun 10 Oct, 2.30pm

Hayley Mills, actress, author
Photo credit: Bee Gilbert

Actress Hayley Mills was a hugely famous child film star in the 1960s, spending many years working in Hollywood on classic movies including The Parent Trap. At Guildford Book Festival, she will discuss the details of her new memoir and her nostalgia for the bygone era. A ticket only costs £21, or it’s £38 for copy of the book too.

Mel Giedroyc: The Best Things
■ The Electric Theatre  ■ Thurs 7 Oct, 8.15pm

Mel Giedroyc, author, comedian, presenter
Photo credit: Laurie Fletcher

Presenter, comedian, writer and Surrey local Mel Giedroyc has written a novel based in her hometown of Leatherhead. The story follows Sally, who is struggling to keep afloat in a sea of bad luck that includes her husband losing his business and their home. But her inner strength surprises even her. Tickets to the talk cost £15.

Alison Weir: Six Tudor Queens – Katherine Parr: The Sixth Wife
■ The Guildhall  ■ Thurs 14 Oct, 6.30pm

Alison Weir, author

In her latest book, renowned historian Alison Weir takes a fictitious look at Katherine Parr, the wife that outlived Henry VIII. Torn between love and duty, what secret could she be keeping from her infamous husband? Tickets to the talk about the new novel cost £15.


Jake Tyler – A Walk from the Wild Edge
■ Meet at the Castle entrance  ■ Sun 10 Oct, 11am

Jake Tyler, author

Jake Tyler is a broadcaster and mental health advocate who famously walked 3,000 miles to help his own mental wellbeing. Now the author of his new book, join Jake on a walk along the riverside in Guildford while he discusses his personal journey and a positive future. Tickets cost £10.

By Kirstie Pickering

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