Balham Literary Festival Returns With Some Summer Loving

Lose yourself in a book or two this summer

Simon Hooper'Father of Daughters' Simon Hooper will be sharing more of his family moments

Balham Literary Festival returns this June with a dazzling line-up to celebrate summer in the city with its theme of Summer Loving.

The festival will include events for the whole family, with author Natasha Farrant (The Children of Castle Rock) hosting a children’s writing workshop and a story time session with Dr Anne Rooney, who will read from Dinosaur Atlas. For parents, Instagram’s favourite dad Simon Hooper – aka Father of Daughters – will also be sharing his side-splitting stories of modern family life.

Commenting on the Festival programme, Susie Nicklin, owner of Dulwich Books, says, “Summer in the city can be a wonderful thing. Poised between half term and the liberation of the summer holidays, throughout June there’s a sense of expectation in the air. It’s a time to get away from screens and to participate in activities, or to lose yourself in a good book outside in the garden or on the Common.

"So come along and let yourself be transported – whether you like to get away from every day matters or prefer to take time out to consider politics and ideas, there is something for you at the Festival.”

Hanan Al-Shaykh
Embracing this year’s theme, authors Rosie Wilby (Is Monogomy Dead?) and Holly Bourne (How Do You Like Me Now?) will discuss the minefield of modern love in an evening of light-hearted romantic reflection. Whilst Hanan Al-Shaykh (left), one of the Arab world’s most acclaimed writers, will discuss her new novel The Occasional Virgin, a fresh and fearless romantic comedy about love in a multicultural age. Hanan will be in conversation with Turkey’s most widely read female writer, Elif Shafak (Three Daughters of Eve).

Bringing together great food and superb storytelling, the festival will welcome Melissa Hemsley to show Balham how to eat happy and demonstrate recipes from her latest book; Original Flava’s Craig and Shaun McAnuff will share their family-inspired Caribbean cooking and talk about their journey to social media stardom; Natasha Pulley and Anna Mazzola will serve up a delectable book brunch with coffee, pastries, and fascinating historical fiction; and there’ll be scones and short stories with Tessa Hadley and Chris Power.

With escapist reads the order of the day, audiences can travel to the dark forests of Nordic Noir with Antti Tuomainen, Johana Gustawsson and Lilja Sigurdardóttir, who will be reading from their latest work and discussing enduring interest in the genre; Michael Ondaatje will host a captivating evening at Dulwich College, taking audiences back to war-time London, the setting for his much-anticipated novel Warlight; whilst Tim Winton, Carys Davies and Paul Howarth will journey from the vast saltlands of Western Australia to the nineteenth-century American frontier in a discussion about fiction’s transportive power.

Essential societal questions will be posed and debated this year, starting with Malia Bouattia, Matt Myers and Koshka Duff who will look at the history of student revolt and young people as a catalyst for change; Tim Marshall will be discussing the fences, walls and borders that play an ever-growing role in dividing the global population; and Professor AC Grayling (above) will be reflecting on the nature of democracy, and how governmental systems have induced its failure.

Zing Tsjeng will be discussing her Forgotten Women series, uncovering some of the great women history has forgotten and demanding recognition for their achievements, while Guy Gunaratne and Diana Evans will also talk about London as a divided city and the role it has played in their literature.

Tickets are on sale now at, as well as in store at Dulwich Books, 6 Croxted Road, SE21 8SW.
Events will take place at venues across Balham throughout June including Balham Bowls Club, Balham Library and Oxfam, Balham.


April 25, 2018