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Book Festival 2011

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!

Queen’s Park Book Festival 2011 from Gina Newson on Vimeo.

TICKETS SOLD FAST … in 2011, flying out of the ticket desk! 800 in all!

Particular highlights were Natalie Haynes, Sebastian Faulks, some of the Peep Show creative team, Geraint Anderson & Alex Preston, our cricket 3-some Mihir Bose, Amol Rajan & Marcus Berkmann and especially Edwyn Collins & Grace Maxwell rounding the day off with a very funny, frank and moving interview and an acoustic set.

What sort of Festival was it ? About 30 authors, all either living locally or with strong local connections, signed up – taking part in discussions and conversations in one of two tents – a main 215 seat tent and the smaller 76 seat, QWERTY tent. Author events were covered by the all-day inclusive ticket. There were also many free events for adults and children (see details below).

Our main sponsor was Brondesbury Estates and they also put up our poster on their billboard on Summerfield Ave

Some local restaurants also did deals on presentation of festival tickets. This is our poster in the window of Penk’s.

And so did Queen’s Park Flowers

Events for everyone … all day (and all free) in addition to the author events.

Kilburn Library – join up, say hello, find out what’s going on
Save our Six (Brent Libraries) – visit them to find out about their campaign and add to our chain novel
Kilburn Amnesty Group – join them at their “cakes and conscience” table to support their writing campaign
Queen’s Park Books – on hand with the latest books from our line-up of authors, ready for signing

Brondesbury Poetry Group – have a go at their “collage poetry”

Crazy Baker Sophie Grey was on hand with a delicious range of sandwiches, salads, croissants, cakes and gingerbread men
Book Swap – no money needed, just exchange one book for another and find out about Kensal to Kilburn Transition Town
St Anne’s Church – quizzes and literary cakes and cookies
Local School writing competition results

Discuss local history – and share your memories- with Bruce Fursman and Gill Hallifax
Join artist Maria Vlotides to create some “pavement poetry” and hear about her recent street art project. This is Sebastian Faulk’s coal-hole poem.

Artist and comic-creator Karrie Fransman will introduce you to the world of comic drawing and invite you to have a go
Find out about book jacket design with Ed Dovey and have a go yourself

LATEST NEWS – 12th June

Our opening Guest wins BAFTA! Our opening Lexi Screening was completely sold out and we had a surprise extra guest in the shape of Stephen Moffat co writer and creator of BBC’s Sherlock

* A dazzling curtain-raiser to the Book Festival took place on Fri 10th June
Mark Gatiss – actor, producer, novelist, scriptwriter and all-round creative genius – presented a special screening at the Lexi Cinema. We asked Mark to select a favourite film with a literary flavour and he came up with a wonderfully intriguing and original choice – The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, the 1970 classic directed by Billy Wilder
Mark – well known to TV audiences for his appearances in The League of Gentlemen and for his recent BBC4 series on horror films – is a Holmes aficionado who co-created and produced the acclaimed and now BAFTA award winning Sherlock on the BBC last year. The latest series is, in fact, in production right now. There was an introduction from Mark …hot foot from filming … followed by the screening and a Q & A, together with suprise last minute guest and co-writer of Sherlock and Dr Who Stephen Moffat.

In a major coup for the festival, Robert Webb – comedy genius and one half of the Mitchell & Webb duo, the stars of Channel 4′s Peep Show – joined Peep Show co-writer Sam Bain and producer Robert Popper (see below) in Queen’s Park.

* And in another major coup, Edwyn Collins – who appeared with his author wife Grace Maxwell – topped off their conversation about Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins with a short acoustic gig. They were interviewed by BBC6 Music presenter Shaun Keaveny.
Edwyn was just back from the US, where he played the prestigious South-by-South-West Festival and appeared at New York’s legendary Bowery Ballroom.
Now he’s be played in Queen’s Park, bringing along a few friends … we hope you didn’t miss him!


Sebastian Faulks, author of the multi-million bestseller Birdsong – recently adapted for the West End stage – and numerous other books. He presented the much talked about Faulks on Fiction on BBC2. He will be in conversation with local novelist Tim Lott.

Co-writer of the hit Channel 4 comedy Peep Show, Sam Bain, along with the show’s producer Robert Popper. Writing under the pseudonym Robin Cooper, Robert wrote The Timewaster Letters, which Little Britain’s Matt Lucas described as “the funniest book I have ever read”.

A great moment for the under-sixes … Pui Fan Lee from BBC’s flagship Cbeebies! For her Queen’s Park festival appearance Pui is putting on a show that will be aimed at children between the ages of two and six.

Maggie Gee’smany novels include The White Family, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She has also published a memoir, My Animal Life, out in paperback this summer. Monique Roffey’s second novel, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Her latest book is a memoir of sexual discovery, With the Kisses of His Mouth. Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of The Independent, chairs their discussion.

We have a wonderful showcase for local authors Anthony Gardner, Simonetta Wenkert, Chioma Okereke and Rosa Rankin-Gee talking about their relationship with our area.

Philip Hensher, author of the acclaimed state-of-the-nation and Booker shortlisted novel The Northern Clemency and former Booker Prize judge. His new novel King of the Badgers is out this spring.

Natalie Haynes, author, critic, broadcaster and regular on BBC2’s Review Show. Her books include The Ancient Guide to Modern Life.

Polly Williams, long-time Queen’s Park resident and author of the best-selling The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy. Polly will be appearing with Tasmina Perry, whose books include Daddy’s Girl and Original Sin and also Christina Hopkinson, currently making waves with her chronicle of middle-class family life The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs. They will all be interviewed by ace TV scriptwriter Amy Jenkins

We have children’s author Anthony McGowan, whose Einstein’s Underpants was recently chosen by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen as one of the 10 books every 11-year-old should read.

Jane Robins, another local, who followed up her biography of Queen Caroline with the extraordinary 19th-century, true-crime story The Magnificent Spilsbury And The Case Of The Brides In The Bath. She will be appearing with crime writer Ali Knight, whose Wink Murder is already making waves.

Alex Bellos, author of a brilliant history of Brazilian football Futebol and a fascinating exploration of the world of mathematics, Alex’s Adventures in Numberland.

Daljit Nagra; Karen Rydings & Priya Basil. Daljit is a Forward Prize-winning poet whose current collection is Look We Have Coming to Dover! Daljit also runs the ‘Becoming a Poet’ course at the Faber Academy. Academy member Karen Rydings will follow Daljit. Priya Basil is an IMPAC-longlisted novelist whose passionate novels Ishq & Mushq and The Obscure Logic of the Heart reflect her international outlook.

Still on sport, Marcus Berkmann – our March quiz-setter – whose cricket books Rain Men and Zimmer Men are hilarious classics of the memoir genre; and new young cricket writer Amol Rajan, whose history of spin-bowling Twirlymen, is published in May. They will be joined by Mihir Bose long time local resident and author of many books including a history of Indian cricket.

How do a husband and wife become one author?
Noel Holland is the husband and wife writing team of Noel Fursman and Julia Holland.Rosie’s War (their first book) is a memoir of Julia’s mother, told through her eyes as a young woman who made a dramatic escape from a German- run internment camp in Occupied France during the Second World War. Barry Norman called it “a wonderfully atypical wartime story” and critic John Lahr “droll, fascinating.”

Finally we have Geraint Anderson, scathing chronicler of City life in Cityboy: Beer And Loathing In The Square Mile. He will be joined by Alex Preston, from Kensal Rise and another City insider-turned-novelist. Together they will be interviewed by BBC Chief Economics correspondent Hugh Pym.

Most of our authors stayed to sign copies of their books, which were on sale and chatted to their readers.

The event was masterminded and backed financially by QPARA, the Queen’s Park Area Residents’ Association, together with box office and admin help from our local bookshop Queen’s Park Books. Tel: 020 7625 1008.
We were partially funded by the Brent Neighbourhood Working Fund, plus generous sponsorship from Brondesbury Estates.
We’ve decided that any profits from the Festival will be shared amongst local primary schools to help them buy books.

If you would like to help in any way or want to give us feedback, please Contact Us

QPARA Book Festival 2011 team:

Simon O’Hagan
Elaine Henderson
Jamie Newall
Gina Newson
Gill Hallifax
Lisa Harriman from Queen’s Park Books

3 Trackbacks

By Lit Preview: Queen’s Park Book Festival | Londonist on June 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Edit

[…] here’s an idea for running a literary festival – pack everything into one day. The Queen’s Park Book Festival is pitching two tents in Queen’s Park on Saturday 11th June and cramming a bunch of fabulous […]
By Queen’s Park Book Festival on June 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Edit

[…] Saturday, Queen’s Park is hosting its first Book Festival – a one-day literary extravaganza and showcase for local talent. Aim towards a tent near the […]
By London’s Summer Literary Festivals « thelondonartscene on July 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Edit

[…] Queen’s Park Book Festival, NW6 […]

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