NEXT HULF TALK: Christmas Special

Saturday 26th November 2022 (2-5pm)

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW

The final HULF Talk of 2022 will be a lighthearted Christmas special, featuring guest authors of books that make great Christmas presents for all the family, such as:

  • A A Abbott‘s Lies at Her Door, a crime thriller set in Bristol in which a dead body is discovered in a sinkhole that opens up in the middle of community carol singing
  • Steve Berry‘s memoir Straight Up! – Himalayan Tales of the Unexpected
  • Kate Frost‘s wintry romantic escape novel, The Amsterdam Affair
  • Michael Macmahon trio of books on three timely topics: how to get your bank balance into the black and keep it there, how to make effective wedding speeches, and memorable quotes (a great stocking-filler!)
  • Alice Rosewell with her Little Book of Encouragement
  • John Ruthven‘s The Whale in Your Living Room for everyone interested in wildlife documentaries
  • Betty Salthouse‘s delightful chapter books for children including Mother Koala Knows Best
  • Trevor Stubbs‘ novels for young adults, including his Flip! and White Gates trilogies and anthology Stardust
  • Debbie Young‘s Murder in the Manger and Sinister Stranger at St Bride’s, entertaining cosy mystery novels set in the run-up to Christmas

There will also be heartwarming readings from Christmas classics by our guest readers Gerard Boyce and Michael Macmahon.

Chairing the afternoon will be HULF Director Debbie Young.

Once the formal part of the programme is over, the authors will be pleased to sign and sell copies of books and to chat informally to members of the audience.

The ticket price of £5 includes coffee, tea, cakes and biscuits, plus a £2 discount voucher valid against a book bought at the event.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW

IMPORTANT NOTE: Capacity of our beautiful historic venue is limited, so advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival is a series of not-for-profit book-related events run by Debbie Young. This is a HULF Mini event. For more information about HULF, please visit www.hulitfest.com.

NEXT HULF TALK: The World at War – Saturday 29th October 2022

Join us on Saturday 29th October, 2-5pm, in the Bethesda Chapel, Park Street, Hawkesbury Upton for a fascinating and moving afternoon of talks about the impact of World War, with guest speakers from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Ukraine, plus five authors of fiction and non-fiction inspired and informed by the First and Second World Wars, in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

The ticket price of £5 includes coffee, tea, cakes and biscuits, plus a £2 discount voucher valid against a book bought at the event.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Capacity of our beautiful historic venue is limited, so advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED – BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE!

This event is kindly sponsored by Hawkesbury Parish News

The Programme & Speakers

The keynote address on the impact of World War will be made by Simon Bendry, now Head of Education and Engagement at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Bringing our conversation into the 21st century, Svitlana Rotayenko, who works for NATO, will speak on the context and effect of the current war in her home country, Ukraine.

Lucienne Boyce, author of The Bristol Suffragettes, will answer the question “To what extent did the First World War play a part in bringing universal suffrage to women in the UK?”

Nigel Messenger, who has done extensive voluntary work with the Royal British Legion, will talk about his fact-based novel, The MichMash Miracles, set in two different eras, about an extraordinary case of First World War battle won using techniques learned from an Old Testament story.

Also blending fact with fiction, Hawkesbury author Will Fenn (aka Bill Fairney), will talk about the inspiration for his novel Uncle Walter’s Secret, a story of espionage.

Addressing the impact of the Second World War on civilians, and in particular on women, will be two best-selling historical novelists, Clare Flynn, whose The Chalky Sea is set in Eastbourne, and Lizzie Lane, whose Tobacco Girls series features workers at the famous Wills tobacco factory in Bristol.

There will follow ample time for questions for the audience, after which the authors will be pleased to sign and sell copies of books and to chat informally to members of the audience over coffee and cake.

ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED – BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Find Your Next Favourite Holiday Read at Our Next HULF Talk (25th June)

Whether or not you’re planning to go away on holiday this summer, our next HULF Talk on 25th June will make you feel like you’ve travelled the world, as our three guest authors taking us through the pages of their novels to an A-Z of colourful destinations, from A(msterdam) to Z(anzibar).

Carol Cooper already had a string of non-fiction books to her name before turning to writing novels with vibrant settings and characters who don’t always do what they should. In her latest book, The Girls from Alexandria, Carol draws on her childhood in Egypt to recreate the bygone world of cosmopolitan Alexandria. 

Kate Frost is the author of several bestselling romantic escape novels including The Baobab Beach RetreatThe Greek Heart and The Amsterdam Affair. In 2021, she signed a six-book deal with Boldwood and has continued to write escapist fiction for them. One Greek Summer was published in March and An Italian Dream will be out on the 7th July. 

Helena Halme writes Nordic fiction with a hint of both Romance and Noir. Her latest series, Love on the Island, is set on the quirky and serenely beautiful Aland Islands, which lie in the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden.

Tickets are now on sale via Eventbrite booking form here.

Tickets are limited to just 60, so book early to avoid disappointment!

Photos & Transcripts from April HULF Talk on Crime Writing & Order Form for Tickets for June Talk on Holiday Reads

We’re pleased to announce that tickets are now on sale for our next HULF Talk on Holiday Reads on Saturday 25th June, when Debbie Young will be chairing a panel of three guest authors, Carol Cooper, Kate Frost and Helena Halme, whose novels are set around the world from A(msterdam) to Z(anzibar)! Who better to help you find your next best holiday read?

More details to follow soon, but as always, our venue capacity is just 60, so book early to secure a ticket! Here is the booking form to order yours now via Eventbrite, or open this link in a new browser window:

Photos from HULF Talk on Crime Writing

In the meantime, here are some photos from our April HULF Talk on Crime, Mystery & Thriller writing with AA Abbott, Lucienne Boyce, Valerie Keogh and Debbie Young. Below the photos are links to read the transcripts of Lucienne and Debbie’s talks on aspects of the history of crime writing on their respective author websites.

We were grateful, as ever, to the Bethesda Chapel for use of their venue, and we thank the Hawkesbury Parish News for kindly sponsoring the venue hire costs for this event
The light and airy interior of the chapel makes it a pleasant and friendly setting
We always have a bit of fun with topical props to set the scene for our talks
From left to right, back row: Lucienne Boyce & Debbie Young, front row: Valerie Keogh & A A Abbott

Transcripts of Talks on Crime Writing

Follow the links below to read the talks by Lucienne Boyce and Debbie Young, who have now posted the transcripts on their websites:

The Victorian Origins of Crime Writing by Lucienne Boyce

Lucienne made a new friend at our April HULF Talk

NEXT HULF TALK: Crime, Thriller & Mystery – 30th April 2022

Join us on Saturday 30th April, 2-5pm, in the Bethesda Chapel, Park Street, Hawkesbury Upton for this entertaining new talk.

ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED – BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE!

An entertaining afternoon of author talks, readings & discussions exploring the past, present & future of Crime, Thriller & Mystery books

Kindly sponsored by Hawkesbury Parish News

About this event

In the peaceful setting of Bethesda Chapel, spend a fascinating afternoon in the company of four authors of Crime, Thriller and Mystery novels.

Author and historian Lucienne Boyce will set the scene with a brief talk about the nine-teenth-century origins of the modern detective novel, including Wilkie Collins‘ trailblazing The Woman in White .

Debbie Young will provide insights into the Golden Age of Detective Fiction in the inter-war years, including Dorothy L Sayers and Agatha Christie, who inspired her contemporary English village mysteries.

Fast forward to the present day, and A A Abbott and Valerie Keogh will discuss the development of the modern crime novel and the psychological thriller.

After the panel discussion of current trends and predictions for the future of this broad genre, there will be ample time for questions for the audience.

Once the formal part of the programme is over, the authors will be pleased to sign and sell copies of books and to chat informally to members of the audience over coffee and cake.

The ticket price of £5 includes coffee, tea, cakes and biscuits, plus a £2 discount voucher valid against a book bought at the event.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Capacity of our beautiful historic venue is limited, so advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED – BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE!

NEXT HULF TALK: The Romantic Novel – 29th January 2022

Join us on Saturday 29th January, 2-5pm, in the Bethesda Chapel, Park Street, Hawkesbury Upton for this entertaining new talk.

ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED – BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Four successful novelists will lead a lively discussion about aspects of the romantic novel, including its past, present and future, and to what extent they view themselves as romantic novelists:

  • from nearby Charfield, Jayne Davis, who writes Georgian romances
  • from Bristol Kate Frost, who writes contemporary women’s fiction set not only in her home city but in alluring destinations all over the world
  • from Shropshire Katharine E Smith, whose novels include an eight-book romantic series set in Cornwall
  • Hawkesbury Upton’s own Debbie Young, who writes romantic comedies and gentle mysteries set in the Cotswolds

About this event

In the peaceful setting of Bethesda Chapel, this lively team will explore the history of the romantic novel. discuss the nature and the appeal of romance to modern readers.

They will also share the stories behind their own books, along with other insights into their writing lives, and give readings.

After their informal presentations and panel discussion, the authors will be pleased to sell signed copies of their books and chat informally to members of the audience over coffee and cake.

When the event has ended, the nearby Fox Inn will be open and will welcome anyone who wishes to continue the conversation over a drink or a meal.

ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED – BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Guest numbers will be limited for social distancing purposes, so advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment. Admission on the day will depend on advance ticket sales and cannot be guaranteed. Should changes in Covid restrictions require cancellation, the organiser will refund the ticket price less Eventbrite’s administration charge.

The ticket price includes free hot drinks and cakes plus a £2 discount voucher valid against any book purchased at the event.

Meet the authors:

Jayne Davis writes: I enjoy reading many genres, but ever since I got hooked on Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer in my teens, I’ve particularly liked getting lost in the past with a good romance. I’ve had several careers, including engineer, teacher, publisher, and author of school textbooks. I’d always wanted to be a writer, but that kind of writing wasn’t quite what I had in mind. Now I’m finally enjoying writing historical romance. When I’m not writing or wasting time on the internet, I love reading (which author doesn’t?), gardening, walking and cycling. And drinking tea.

Kate Frost writes: I am the author of best-selling romantic escape novels (The Baobab Beach RetreatA Starlit SummerThe Greek HeartThe Amsterdam Affair and The Love Island Bookshop), character-driven women’s fiction (The Butterfly Storm series and Beneath the Apple Blossom), and Time Shifters, a time travel adventure trilogy for children. I live in Bristol with my husband and young son. As well as writing novels, I’m the Director of Storytale Festival, a new city-wide children’s book festival that I co-founded in Bristol in 2019 with the ethos of making books accessible to all and encouraging children and teens to read, write and be creative. I feel incredibly lucky to spend my days writing and being immersed in books. One Greek Summer, my first book with Boldwood, will be published on 9thMarch 2022. 

Katharine E Smith writes: I

I am a writer, editor and publisher, living in Shropshire, UK. I am a Yorkshirewoman by birth and I write (a lot, but not exclusively) about Cornwall. I am married, have two children, and a border collie. I love walking, and wild swimming – even on very cold days (though I definitely prefer it in the summer). My books include three standalone literary fiction novels – Writing the Town ReadLooking Past, and Amongst Friends – a contemporary romance/women’s fiction series – Coming Back to Cornwall – and the Connections series, each book of which focuses on a different character living in a small Cornish town. I suppose my books can mostly be classed as largely women’s fiction, but I don’t like to be sexist about these things and don’t see any reason that men might not enjoy them as well! In my role running Heddon Publishing, I work with other authors all around the world to help develop their work and achieve their dreams of becoming published. I love this work and have met some fantastic people, and learned a lot to benefit my own writing.

Debbie Young writes; Having lived in Hawkesbury Upton for over 30 years, I love writing stories set in the Cotswolds, whether light-hearted village mysteries or romantic comedies or a blend of both. My books include two series of novels, the Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries, which a reader described as “rose-tinted murders”, and the Staffroom at St Bride’s school stories, “like Malory Towers for grown-ups”, and standalone short stories, novelettes and novellas. My latest book is a “what-if” romantic comedy novella, Mrs Morris Changes Lanes. Two of my novels have been shortlisted for The Selfies, a publishing industry award for the best independently-published fiction in the UK.

Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival is a series of not-for-profit book-related events run by Debbie Young. For more information about HULF and the latest event news, visit http://www.hulitfest.com.

HULF IS CHANGING

As you’ll probably have noticed, during the Covid pandemic we’ve had to cancel the 2020 and 2021 HULFs, which were meant to take place in April.

We had hoped that by the time the next Festival was due to take place, we’d be living in a world free of hand sanitiser, face masks and social distancing, but currently we’re not convinced that by April 2022, we’ll feel comfortable holding crowded book talks and workshops in the relatively small spaces of our village venues. We’re also not keen to bring vast crowds of strangers into the community.

Back to our Community Roots

Rather than cancel the Festival for a third time, we’ve decided to take HULF back to its roots as a small event designed to serve our community. We’ll do this by holding just one event at a time, in a single venue, for an afternoon, rather than what feels like taking over the whole village for the day and bringing in authors and visitors from far and wide. (For the cancelled 2020 event, We had authors willing to fly at their own expense from Sweden and France to take part, and a visitor from the US planning her whole holiday around HULF.)

We’re not quite ready for a return to packed venues yet (Photo of HULF 2019 by Angela Fitch)

Smaller Events at Greater Frequency

To offset the reduction in the size of the event, we will increase frequency to roughly quarterly. Where possible the events will be held on the last Saturday of the month to make it easier to remember when they are. We will of course avoid the last Saturday in August as that is always the day of the Hawkesbury Horticultural Show, at which we always have a stall.

The first HULF Talk, as we’re calling the new style event series, will be on Saturday 27th November on the theme of Travel and Adventure in the beautiful setting of the Bethesda Chapel. (Limited number of tickets still available here – admission is by advance booking only to help us control numbers.)

We would like to thank rare book dealer Peter Harrington of London (www.peterharrington.co.uk) for their kind sponsorship of this event. Their short film, One Hundred Seconds to Midnight (www.onehundredsecondstomidnight.co.uk), about a remarkable collection of rare books related to climate change, will be part of the programme.

Click image to book your tickets via Eventbrite (PhotoL Mark Horrell on the summit of Everest)

The second HULF Talk will be on Saturday 29th January, and as we’ll be in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, the theme will be the Romantic Novel. Speakers will include Katharine E Smith and Kate Frost, who write bestselling romantic novels set in Cornwall, Greece, Africa, and other alluring destinations. The full speaker line-up will be announced on the Festival website in December.

We look forward to welcoming you to the new-look HULF.

Photo of Edmund Weiner, Katharine E Smith and Rachel Amphlett at HULF 2019
by Angela Fitch

save the date graphic for HULF Talk 27 Nov 2021

New HULF Talk Event

(Saturday 27th November, 2-5pm)

This will be the first in a new occasional series of informal afternoon talks, each on a different, interesting theme, bringing authors of all kinds to Hawkesbury to share their books and interests via readings, talks and audience Q&A.

Come and explore the world with our guest authors

The inaugural HULF Talk will be a fascinating afternoon on the theme of WORLD TRAVEL & ADVENTURE, in the peaceful, light-filled Bethesda Chapel, spend a fascinating afternoon travelling the world through the books of four local authors.

Author and historian Lucienne Boyce will set the scene with a brief talk about the mythical and idyllic undiscovered country still sought by explorers as recently as the eighteenth century, including an evocative reading from her historical novel, To the Fair Land.

HULF Founder and Director Debbie Young will chair a panel of three real-life adventurers, who will share their experience of travel at some of the highest and lowest points on Earth, including readings from their travel memoirs:

  • Steve Berry, renowned yeti hunter, author of Straight Up: Himalayan Tales of the Unexpected
  • Mark Horrell, mountaineer, author of Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest
  • John Ruthven, marine film producer and cameraman, author of The Whale in Your Living Room

After the panel discussion, the authors will be pleased to sell signed copies of books (perfect Christmas presents for any would-be or actual adventurers in your life) and chat informally to members of the audience over coffee and cake, which will be for sale throughout the event from the pop-up Bookshop Cafe in the Bethesda Chapel’s Schoolroom.

Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival is a series of not-for-profit book-related events run by Debbie Young. This is a HULF Mini event.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED

Guest numbers will be limited for social distancing purposes, so advance booking is essential to be avoid disappointment. The £5 ticket will entitle you to a free coffee or tea and £2 off the price of any book bought on the day. Admission on the day will depend on advance ticket sales and cannot be guaranteed.

ORDER YOUR TICKET HERE

Please click this link to order your ticket via Eventbrite.

If you have any questions about the event, please don’t hesitate to message us via our Contact page.

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MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

LUCIENNE BOYCE

Lucienne Boyce is an award-winning historical novelist (To The Fair Land, the Dan Foster Mysteries), women’s suffrage historian (The Bristol Suffragettes), biographer (currently writing a biography of suffrage campaigner Millicent Price), speaker and blogger. 

Website: www.lucienneboyce.com

STEVE BERRY

Born in Shillong, just south of the Bhutanese border, Steve has returned to the Himalaya many times as leader of numerous treks and expeditions. His main passion is the Himalaya and he has trekked extensively throughout the entire range, including Bhutan, Ladakh, the kingdom of Zanskar, Nepal, and Tibet. In recent years he has been seeking the whereabouts of the Yeti and has appeared in two films on British television. The search continues!!

Website: www.mountainkingdoms.com

MARK HORRELL

For nearly 20 years Mark Horrell has been exploring the world’s greater mountain ranges and keeping a diary of his travels, as well as writing one of the most credible Everest opinion blogs on the net. He writes about trekking and mountaineering from the often silent perspective of the commercial client. As a writer he strives to do for mountain history what Bill Bryson did for long-distance hiking.

Website: www.markhorrell.com

JOHN RUTHVEN

John Ruthven is the only producer to work full time on both ‘Blue Planet I and II’ series. His career highlights range from producing iconic images of blue whales to directing drama inside a WW2 U boat or following venomous snakes throughout Asia. Multi-award winning, with most recently a BAFTA for ‘people’s must-see TV moment’, one that he wrote and produced with the Blue Planet team, and an Emmy for the best environmental film in USA.

LinkedIn profile: linkedin.com/in/johnruthven

painting of White Cliffs of Dover with VE Day dates and Hawkesbury Upton

Happy VE75 Day – from HULF’s Authors of WWII-inspired Books

Before Covid-19 scuppered Hawkesbury Upton’s plans for a special commemorative  event of VE75 Day in and around the village hall, we had booked a stall to stage a mini-festival of books inspired by World War II. 

Six HULF authors were looking forward to sharing their books and their experience with visitors. Although they now can’t be here in person, we’d still like to share their books with you, which would all make great reading as we mark this special day.

Young RAvens by Celia Boyd

Celia Boyd’s children’s story will also be enjoyed by adults

Celia Boyd‘s Young Ravens  tells the story of a young girl and her little brother during the Second World War, When her parents divorce, Sheila and her brother are sent by her solder father (who has custody of the children) to live with her grandparents in Sheffield, Sheila must adapt fast and learn to accept and thrive in her new circumstances.

Click here to order a copy.

Uncle Walters Secret by Will Fenn

“A thrilling tale of intrigue, history, passion and covert operational planning based on real events around World War 2” – reviewer on Amazon

Hawkesbury author Wiliam Fairney, best known for his books about engineering and engineers, as diverted from the usual engineering theme of his books to pen a history book called Uncle Walter’s Secret (published under the pen-name Will Fenn), an exciting tale of intrigue, espionage, torture, loyalty, betrayal and retribution based on true events.

Click here to order the ebook or paperback.

cover of Collateral Damage by Edward James

A personal memoir in prose and verse

Edward James, who has previously brought his historical novels set in Tudor times to HULF (read his guest post for the HULF blog here.), was planning to bring Collateral Damage, his personal memoir of growing up during the Second World War. It is a short collection of five short prose pieces and two poems, which, Edward says, “are not about the horrors of war but about growing up in a world which seemed normal at the time and was quite mad by today’s standards”.

A limited private print run means that copies are only available directly from the author, so if you would like to buy a copy, please contact HULF and we will pass your order on to Edward.

image of covers of Rosalind Minett's trilogy

Like Edward’s memoir, Rosalind Minett‘s war-time trilogy, series title A Relative Invasion, is more about the characters than the events. Her compelling and powerful story of conflict and competition between two very different cousins is a psychological drama that just happens to be set during the war. However it brings vividly to life the experience of living in London suburbia and then being evacuated to the countryside during the war years. The three books in order are: Impact, Infiltration and Intrusion.

Click here to order paperbacks or ebooks.

Through the Eyes of a Teenage Girl

Bombweed cover

The Second World War through the eyes of a teenage girl

The story behind Bombweed is an interesting one. It was originally written in 1957 by Margaret Smith, the mother of Gillian Fernandez Morton and Maureen Armstrong, drawing on her own experience of being a teenager during the Second World War. However in the aftermath of war, when the nation’s focus was on building a bright new future, publishers declared they were not interested in books harking back to those dark days. In 2018, Margaret’s daughters decided it was time to share it with the public, and edited it for publication for a 21st century audience. It offers fascinating insights into the effect of the war on teenagers and on women in general.

Click here to buy it as a paperback or ebook.

In the Shadow of Hitler

Although Richard Vaughan-Davies‘s thriller In the Shadow of Hitler is mostly a story set in the immediate aftermath of the war, focusing on the affair of a British lawyer working in Germany with a local woman, but it tells a much wider story through flashbacks to the war, and also earlier, addressing the impact on one man, Adam, of the rise and fall of Hitler,  even into Adam’s old age. This compelling and thoughtful novel also provides one interpretation of the rumour that Hitler fathered a child by Unity Mitford, bringing the Cotswolds also into the story. A fascinating, evocative and intelligent read.

Order your copy in paperback or ebook here.

painting of White Cliffs of Dover with VE Day dates and Hawkesbury Upton

Whatever you are doing on this special day, HULF sends you its very best wishes. 

photo of Michael and Debbie at closing ceremony

The Now Traditional End to our Festival

In what has now become an annual tradition, each year as we all gather for the closing ceremony of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, Michael MacMahon rounds off the event with his inimitable rendition of Prospero’s speech from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

This year of course we cannot meet in person, so Michael, who is a voice artist and actor as well as an author and much more, very kindly recorded it and sent it to me to share with you,

Over to Michael…

photo of Michael and Debbie at closing ceremony

Michael MacMahon closing HULF 2019, with Debbie Young