The 2012 Festival was held over a fortnight from 29th October to 8th November.
29 October, Bush Theatre
Morpurgo: The Truth and the Stories
Michael Morpurgo in conversation with his biographer Maggie Fergusson.
Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse and Private Peaceful, is one of the most popular writers of our time: no surprise, then, that the Bush was packed with children and parents. In conversation with his biographer Maggie Fergusson, Michael spoke of his childhood, the mysterious disappearance of his father, his early passion for soldiering and his longing to do almost anything but sit at home and write, alone. A born performer with a not-so-secret hankering for the stage, he made the crowd laugh, think and – a personal confession this – even cry. No one who heard him sing the ballad from the stage version of War Horse will ever forget it.
30 October, Bush Theatre
if Poems: An evening of classic poetry
Isla Blair, Julian Glover and Helen Fielding perform their favourite poems.
Sometimes only the right poem, read in the right voice, will do. Writer Rachel Kelly recently launched the iF Poetry App to introduce the iPod generation to the joys of great poetry – from Byron to Betjeman, by way of Hilaire Belloc and Edward Thomas. Now published as a book, iF: a Treasury of poems for almost every possibility, her selection of classic poetry was brought to life for an appreciative audience by the great actors Isla Blair and Julian Glover, with a guest appearance by Helen Fielding, creator of Bridget Jones.
5 November, Bush Theatre
Love, vengeance and the Victorians
Kate Summerscale in conversation with Louisa Young.
Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace reconstructs a sensational 1840s divorce case which features a wife who makes two terrible errors: falling in love with another man, and leaving her diary unlocked. Its author Kate Summerscale, whose books include the best-selling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, talked to novelist Louisa Young about high passion, dry evidence, vengeance, jealousy and scandal.
6 November, Bush Theatre
Bringing the past alive
Andrew Miller in conversation with John Preston
Andrew Miller’s historical novel Pure won the Costa Book of the Year award in 2011. An evocative masterpiece set in pre-revolution Paris, it was released to critical acclaim. He talked to writer John Preston about the perils and rewards of turning history’s footnotes into fiction.
7 November, Holy Trinity Brook Green
Life and adventure
Artemis Cooper on Patrick Leigh Fermor
Introduced by Patrick Bishop
Undercover agent, footloose romantic, prolific travel writer: Patrick Leigh Fermor was the ultimate Boy’s Own hero. In her highly acclaimed new biography, Artemis Cooper reveals the layers of this extraordinary man, offering glimpses of a life well lived.
8 November, Holy Trinity Brook Green
Hoodies and Oligarchs
Harriet Sergeant & Ferdinant Mount
Discussion moderated by Jonathan Ford
We love to caricature society’s extremes – the underclass and the overlords – but are we deluding ourselves? Harriet Sergeant spent years with a London gang, documenting her experience in Among the Hoods. In The New Few, Ferdinand Mount examined the nation’s power elite at the other end of the scale. Together, in a sometimes heated but always fascinating discussion chaired by Jonathan Ford of the Financial Times, they offered new perspectives on Britain’s big broken society. The Mayor of Hammersmith, Belinda Donovan, and our local MP, Andy Slaughter, were among the audience.