An evening with Louis de Bernières
It was a wonderful evening in October as we welcomed top-selling and world-renowned author Louis de Bernières to our monthly Book Club event. You could hear a pin drop as he captivated the room by speaking about his writing process, sharing what inspires him and revealing how his passion for understanding the world around him is what drives him to write. It is this passion for researching and exploring various concepts which allows him to author complex stories built within vivid worlds which cause the readers to question reality.
Interestingly, though, while his latest novel, Light Over Liskeard, explores complex topics such as quantum computing and apocalyptic worlds, he explained that love is the central theme in all his books, and this one is no different. He believes that love is the most powerful and complex emotion. It can be a source of joy, pain, hope and despair and it is this along with its different expressions, such as romantic love, familial love, platonic love and even a love for animals, that he intertwines into his stories.
We were given a sneak preview into the Light Over Liskeard as he read two excerpts from the novel. This left our audience wanting to explore it further, evidenced by the long queue of people waiting to get their hands on a copy and have Louis sign it.
It was a very inspiring evening spent with a remarkable man.
An evening with Louise Doughty and Catherine Ryan Howard
In September we were joined by best-selling thriller authors Louise Doughty (A Bird in Winter) and Catherine Ryan Howard (The Trap). Both authors shared a window into their creative processes, and interestingly, how they took completely opposite approaches to one another. Catherine claiming to be a ‘plotter’ – with a well-defined plan before she begins writing; and Louise stating that she was a ‘plunger’ – with a tendency to dive into her story and figure it out along with her characters.
Both authors shared the delights and challenges of adapting their works for the screen, as well as revealing which of their works were currently in the pipeline, with production houses from ITV to Amazon Studios. Questions from our lively audience sparked conversations ranging from how modern reader appetites are changing, to how to believe in your own ability as a writer.
Trust no one… An evening with Lisa Jewell
There was a real sense of excitement and expectation in the air as Lisa Jewell was welcomed onto the stage by our host Joe Haddow (presenter and host of the BBC Radio 2 show The Book Club).
Lisa is a world-renowned, best-selling, and highly accomplished author who has authored several popular books. Over the course of the evening, Lisa shared insights into her creative processes, revealed what inspires her and answered questions directly from the audience. There were more than a few laughs as Joe and Lisa recalled various moments from her books and Lisa revealed how those moments were inspired. The real highlight, however, was having Lisa read a section of her latest book, None of This is True, and based on the long queue for a copy afterwards, this left an impression on us all.
Time travel anyone? An evening with Steve Jones and Holly Smale
Steve and Holly’s good-humoured stories delighted and entertained our audience. Both authors shared inspirations, interesting reading preferences and writing habits they had developed along their journeys. Holly revealed how she was certain that she wanted to be an author by the age of four, and Steve told the story of how he first got the idea for his debut novel, which had started bubbling away five years ago. When it came to writing style, interestingly, both authors wrote wherever they could – in cafes, hotel rooms, on planes, buses and even while working other jobs. Both agreed (contrary to popular opinion) that writing does not take place in a vacuum!
Steve is now writing his next book and Holly is currently executively producing a Netflix show based on her smash hit Geek Girl series.
Have you ever felt invisible? An evening with Joanne Harris
In May 2023 we were delighted to be joined by international bestselling author Joanne Harris, for an author talk and Q&A. Joanne also treated our audience to a beautiful reading of her latest novel Broken Light.
During the Q&A Joanne was kind enough to share advice with some budding writers in the audience, as well as a deeper dive into her editing process. One question about her upcoming plans even led to Joanne revealing possible plans for a Chocolat prequel!
An Evening with Lynda La Plante
The acclaimed international bestselling author, Lynda La Plante, joined us for a very special Book Club. In what was an unmissable event, the indisputable Queen of Drama, shared her extraordinary life and writing career. Lynda only appears at a very select number of events, so we were privileged and delighted to welcome her.
An Evening with Ruth Ware and Louise Candlish
We were joined by best-selling crime fiction authors Ruth Ware and Louise Candlish, discussing the twists and turns of their thrillingly dark tales of spine-chilling secrets, deception and murder mystery.
Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times. Louise Candlish is the Sunday Times bestselling author of 15 novels, including the #1 bestseller, Our House, winner of the British Book Awards 2019 Crime & Thriller Book of the Year and now a 4-part ITV drama.
An Evening with Jill Mansell and Sophia Money-Coutts
We hosted a feelgood evening with bestselling authors Jill Mansell and Sophia Money Coutts, who showcased their new romantic comedy novel releases. A richly entertaining evening, full of laughter in which the authors took our audience on a fun and insightful journey into the lives of both their protagonists; as well as their own processes and approaches to writing.
Jill Mansell has written over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers, and her books have sold over 13 million copies around the world. Sophia Money-Coutts is a journalist and author, having worked as an editor for the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail in London, and currently is Features Director at Tatler.
An Evening with Louisa Treger
Author Louisa Treger joined us to discuss her stunning historical novel Madwoman. The book brings to life the true story of 19th century journalist Nellie Bly, who faked insanity to get herself committed to a New York asylum and expose its horrendous conditions.
Joe Haddow returned as our host for the evening, and audiences enjoyed a lively Q&A session about the book.
An Evening with Wendy Holden and Eva Clarke
Bestselling author Wendy Holden joined us to discuss her poignant and incredibly moving book Born Survivors. The book tells an inspirational story of resilience and maternal courage, as three pregnant women fight for survival in concentration camps during the Holocaust.
Wendy was joined by Eva Clarke BEM, one of the babies born under these harrowing circumstances, who shared the particular context surrounding her family’s struggle for survival, and her own personal experiences of growing up in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
The event was hosted by author and Producer of the Radio 2 Book Club Joe Haddow – who facilitated a fascinating Q&A session with the speakers and audience.