Book Festival

With heavy hearts we have to tell you that we are not able to present a Book Festival, but we look forward to staging a triumphant return in the future.

Read some of our Press coverage from 2012

“It was massive” said local author Polly Williams

Watch this fantastic short film made by QPCS

Queens Park Book Festival 2012 from Edward Rolfe on Vimeo.

Where else could you sit in a marquee listening to Dame Harriet Walter describe how “in a typically chaotic and disorganised way” she had persuaded women to have their photos taken for her collection of images of older women

Or where teenagers packed an event, with piles of books for signing at their feet among skateboards and rucksacks

Or where Marina Lewycka described life in a squat in Mile End to Shyama Perera “there’s no time to lie around… there’s lots of meetings and organising things… it’s a full time job”

Or where Alexandra Shulman gave advice to two pupils from QPCS about how to succeed in fashion journalism just before her own event

Or where authors and interviewers arrived by bike. This is Owen Jones

Or where Peattie and Taylor, local creators of the “Alex” cartoons, signed books in the bandstand

Or where there was such a fantastic range of author events the whole weekend

Sophie McKenzie and Robert Muchamore with Lou Kuenzler

Melissa Benn and Owen Jones with Steve Richards

Jamie Byng and Derek Johns with Colin Midson

Kerstin Rodgers and Henrietta Green with Lisa Markwell

Dean Atta performing his work

Kate Monro and Polly Williams with Lena Corner

John Lanchester and Justin Cartwright

Maggie Gee

Natalie Haynes

Simon Day and Viv Groskop

Member of a local writers’ group reading his poem about boxing

Karen Ryding reading from her collection “Sixteen”

Or where there was a full programme of crafts and author activities for children in the new Bookbugs tent

Where the “green room” was a tent

Where the whole event was organised and run by QPARA volunteers

Where everywhere you looked people were reading

or drawing

Where the conversation continued outside the tents

Carin von Drehle, poet Daljit Nagra and Simon O’Hagan

Shyama Perera and Linda Grant

Where local groups got involved

Kilburn Amnesty Group’s popular stall

See more great photos taken by the group here

St Anne’s cake stall

Brondesbury Poetry Group

Save our Seven Libraries stall

There’s more to come. The fantastic Book Jackets designed by local school children from Salusbury School, Malorees and QPCS in our competition.

Not long to wait now for the second Queen’s Park Book Festival on May 19th and 20th, 2012. Yes, 2 days of fantastic book related fun next weekend!

You’ll easily find the Festival – it’s in the top right hand corner of the Park – just look out for the white marquees. Day tickets are available on the spot. The Barbara Pym tent and the Qwerty tent which are the venues for most of the author events, we have a dedicated children’s tent, the “Bookbugs” tent for younger children’s authors and other activities.

There will also be free creative activities for all ages going on both days. Last year’s popular Book Swap is back, so bring books you’ve enjoyed to exchange for others.

Tickets and programmes are on sale at Queen’s Park Books, Salusbury Road, 020 7625 1008. Tickets cost £10 a day (£8 concs) or the incredible value £15 weekend ticket (only available in advance). All under 18s free! Payment in the bookshop and at the Festival by cash or cheque only please.

Saturday Authors
12.00 Harriet Walter in the Barbara Pym tent. Jamie Byng and Derek Johns in the Qwerty tent. Read more
13.00 Linda Grant in the Barbara Pym tent. Marcus Berkmann, Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor in the Qwerty tent. Read more
14.00 Robert Muchamore and Sophie McKenzie in the Barbara Pym, Daljit Nagra and Karen Rydings in the Qwerty. Read more
15.00 Alexandra Shulman in the Barbara Pym, Che Golden and Lil Chase in the Qwerty. Read more
16.00 Philip Hensher in the Barbara Pym, Alex Bellos and Alexander Masters in the Qwerty. Read more
17.00 Simon Day in the Barbara Pym, Jennifer McVeigh and Robin Bayley in the Qwerty. Read more
18.00 Edwyn Collins and Nick Coleman in the Barbara Pym, Alba Arikha and Rosa Rankin-Gee in the Qwerty. Read more

Sunday Authors
12.00 The Barbara Pym Society in the Barbara Pym (where else?) and Local Writers’ Groups in the Qwerty. Read more
13.00 Melissa Benn and Owen Jones in the Barbara Pym, Henrietta Green and Kerstin Rodgers in the Qwerty. Read more
14.00 Natalie Haynes in the Barbara Pym, Dean Atta in the Qwerty. Read more And hear more of Dean Atta
15.00 Kate Summerscale in the Barbara Pym, Andrew Martin in the Qwerty. Read more
16.00 John Lanchester and Justin Cartwright in the Barbara Pym, Polly Williamns and Kate Monro in the Qwerty. Read more
17.00 Marina Lewycka in the Barbara Pym, Andrew Lycett, Nick Rankin and Zachary Leader in the Qwerty. Read more
18.00 Maggie Gee in the Barbara Pym, David Winner, Jimmy Burns and Mihir Bose in the Qwerty. Read more

There will also be an even wider range of children’s activities than last year, many in a special “Bookbugs” tent.


Saturday May 19

12.00 Local author LOU KUENZLER and Australian author JACQUELINE HARVEY
13.00 MINI BOOK MAKING with Debby
14.00 MINI BOOK MAKING with Debby
15.00 Author ANDREW WEALE
16.00 Author GUY BASS

Sunday May 20

12.00 NATASHA TAYLOR – The Fuzzy Fella
13.00 LOCAL LIMERICKS with Lou Kuenzler
15.00 MINI BOOK MAKING with Debby
16.00 MINI BOOK MAKING with Debby

Download and print Bookbugs Timetable
Also free creative activities for all ages. The book swap will be back, and we may continue last year’s surreal   Community Chain novel June 2011.

Manga cartoon drawing last year with Sonoko Obuchi.  Photo by Gina Newson.


And another date for your diaries Lexi Opening Gala Friday 18th May

To launch the Book Festival, local actress & writer Jessica Hynes (formerly Jessica Stevenson) will be presenting her personal choice of The Remains of The Day at the Lexi cinema on Friday May 18th. The film, from 1993, stars Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins and is a wonderful adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel.   Book tickets.   Read more

Message from Lisa at Queen’s Park Books

Ever mindful of our wonderful customers’ enjoyment of the planned entertainment, and with last year’s experience in mind, here’s a plan …


How’s that for sheer genius?

We found last year that people were very enthusiastic to have signed copies of books and headed straight for the “pop-up shop” after writers’ events. (N.B. This year the “shop” is going to be proudly sited on the bandstand). Last time many authors were on a tight schedule and weren’t able to stay to sign books for long, so some people had to leave disappointed with their copies unsigned. We’d hate to see sad faces again this year, so make sure you buy your books and get straight into that queue!

We will be stocking the latest work by all the featured authors in the pop-up, but there’s absolutely no way, even in my WILDEST dreams, that we’ll have enough to satisfy the demand if each festival-goer decided they would like a new book on the day.

Given space limitations in the park (AND in the shop for that matter), we can’t physically stock every book ever written by every author, so if you’d like a copy of an old favourite signed, and your copy is looking like it will fall apart sometime soon, then please pop in and grab a new copy (or we’ll order it for you if it’s not on the shelves) AND we’ll give you a discount voucher valid in the shop over the Book Festival weekend.

How’s that for a deal?

1 Apr 12                                                                                                                        

The Quiz was a great success as the Eh? Team, the Honiton Harriers, the Windermere Wanderers and 17 other teams put their heads together to solve Simon O’Hagan’s excellent questions. Some of us particularly liked the Hairdressers’ Names round.

Sorting the quiz sheets

Preparing the food

Jamie Newall as quiz master

Marking up the scores

The marking team at work

The winners are announced


17 Mar 12                                                                                                                        

To get an idea of what’s in store watch Gina Newson’s fantastic slide show of last year’s event

And on Friday 30th March at 7.30pm in Salusbury School’s Electric Hall a QUIZ NIGHT  to launch the Festival so save the date. A general knowledge quiz with a slight bookish bias (but not every round will be as fiendishly challenging as last year). Tickets available from 12th March from Queen’s Park Books. £10 (£8 concessions) including a glass of wine and nibbles. Make up your own team of 6 or just come along and form a team on the night.

See the Quiz poster

10 Mar 12                                                                                                                        

The first QUEEN’S PARK BOOK FESTIVAL took place on SATURDAY JUNE 11th, 2011 in Queen’s Park itself. It was a fantastic day. Huge happy crowds, lots of enthusiastic authors …. and the weather was on our side with sun most of the day!
Read more about last year

Jamie Newall thanking Natalie Haynes.               Photo by Gina Newson.

Preparations are well under way for this year’s event – we’ve got around 40 authors signed up – names will be announced at the Quiz, we’re booking up fun and creative book based activities for all ages, the marquee’s ordered. Our main sponsor is local Estate Agents Queen’s Park Partnership and we’re very grateful for their generous support. We’ve also been awarded a grant from Brent Council’s Neighbourhood Working Fund, but we still need to raise more money through sponsorship so that we can keep the ticket prices low for everyone.

This is where you come in! If you’d like to support the Book Festival and help us maintain low ticket prices and offer free activities for the whole community please become a Festival Friend for £25. Includes a weekend ticket worth £15 and a warm glow. You can join up at Queen’s Park Books, 87 Salusbury Road or contact Elaine Henderson at

We have a different sponsorship scheme for businesses. We’d love to hear from you if you’d be interested in sponsoring one vital element of the day- such as the deckchairs or microphones or one of the free activities (cost on application). Or for just £50 you could be a Business Festival Friend. Please contact Elaine Henderson at

Pui Fan Lee with an appreciative young audience.  Photo by Gina Newson.

Festival tickets will be available from mid April only from our local bookshop, Queens Park Books, 87 Salusbury Road (tel. 020 7625 1008). Day tickets cost £10 (£8 concessions) or the amazing value £15 advance only weekend ticket (available until 6pm Friday 18th May).
Day tickets also available in the park on both days. Under 18s free.

More information here about the whole weekend soon.

QPARA Book Festival team:

Simon O’Hagan
Elaine Henderson
Jamie Newall
Oonagh Bucknall
Gill Hallifax
Judy Wilcox
Emma Lowe
Lisa Harriman from Queen’s Park Books
Colin Midson