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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 Debbie Young with the two boxes and a HULF banner

2020 HULF is a Festival in a Box!

Photo of book boxes

HULF in a Box – now in full swing on Debbie Young’s front wall at Post Cottage, France Lane, Hawkesbury Upton

HULF Founder & Director Debbie Young writes:

Although we had no choice but to cancel the 2020 Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival its usual format due to coronavirus lockdown, we’ve come up with an alternative to at least mark the day and share great books by our Festival authors with anyone passing by as they take their permitted daily exercise.

Welcome to HULF in a Box!

What exactly is a Festival in a Box?

To mark our official Festival Day, I’ve filled both the Lttle Free Library boxes on my front wall exclusively with books by HULF authors.

Photo of interior of adult book box

Something for all tastes in the Festival Box for adults

photo of interior of childrens box

The Festival box for young readers includes books for all ages – plus the anthology for adults from our first ever HULF

What’s in the boxes?

In our Festival in a Box you’ll find something to suit all tastes.

For adults there are contemporary, historical and speculative fiction, poetry, and self-help, including books by AA Abbott, Ali Bacon, Lucienne Boyce, William Fairney, Clare Flynn, Mari Howard, David Penny, Michael Macmahon, Alison Morton, Stephen Oram, Alice Rosewell, T E Shepherd, Joyce Williams and Shirley Wright – and me, Debbie Young.

For young readers, there are picture books by Hawkesbury artist Caroline Mockford,  and chapter books for children by Hawkesbury author Betty Salthouse, and some gripping reads for young adults, including exciting novels by HULF Young Readers’ Director Kate Frost, HULF regular Trevor Stubbs, with his amazing FLIP! series, and two novels by teenage Gloucestershire novelist Alexandra Killworth.

I’ve also added  the few remaining copies of the anthology from the first HULF in 2015, which includes a sample from books by every author who took part.

Special thanks to those Festival authors who have kindly sent copies of their books specifically for this use. 

As books are borrowed, I’ll be filling the gaps with my personal copies of other Festival authors’ books.

I now declare the first ever HULF in a Box – and the sixth Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival – officially open!

Photo of Debbie Young with book boxes and banner

I even dressed the part to launch HULF in a Box, donning my book-themed earrings (a gift from Heidi Perry, who has helped so much with HULF each year), my book-print skirt, and my trusty HULF Author badge!

Now Help Yourselves!

As always with the LIttle Free Library, anyone may borrow them and to return them when they’ve finished – but I always say that if someone loves a book so much that they want to keep it, or to pass it on to a friend , they’re welcome to do that.

HULF usually lasts just one (very action-packed!) day – but HULF in a Box will remain open for as as long as I have enough Festival authors’ books available to fill it.

Who said we couldn’t have a sixth HULF this year? I think my HULF in a Box still counts!

Here’s to the 7th Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival on 24th April 2021 – and let’s hope we have the same glorious weather that we’re enjoying for the sixth!

Note: As with any item you collect from people’s front walls at the moment – and there’s a lot of it going on in Hawkesbury! – you’re advised to take sensible precautions, including wiping down the book cover when you get it home and washing your hands thoroughly. You may also choose to leave the book to one side for a day or two before you start reading it. All the books  in the HULF in a Box are new or in as-new condition. 

Background Information about the Little Free Library

For years I’ve hosted on my front garden wall a Little Free Library, inspired by the movement in the US to share books and encourage reading for pleasure in the local community. My father made the first box for me, and before long I was getting so many books donated that I had to ask my husband Gordon to make a second one. Now we have one box for young readers, (clear-fronted) and one for adults (with an opaque front). Earlier this year, Gordon gave both boxes a spring makeover – just in time for our HULF in a box!

Like to launch a Little Free Library of your own to share your love of reading during lockdown? Visit www.littlefreelibrary.org for inspiration!