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Lowdham Book Festival’s Last Saturday

Saturday, 30th June, 2018    
11:00 am - 4:30 pm
Lowdham Book Festival
Village Hall, Lowdham, Nottinghamshire

Five Leaves is pleased to again organise the last day of Lowdham Book Festival – this year being its nineteenth year.

16 events over the day, dozens of stalls from new and second-hand booksellers, book organisations and letterpress printers. Children’s programme. Cafe.

All events are free.  The main festival is organised by The Bookcase of Lowdham.

Village Hall, Main Street, Lowdham
All Day Book Fair and Cafe
Throughout the day the Village Hall hosts a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, salads and panini, cakes and ice-cream. The bookfair is spread over the Village Hall, a marquee behind the village hall and assorted gazebos. It features shops selling new and second hand books, publishers, charities and book trade organisations. There’s an (always popular!) display of old fashioned printing equipment. There will be books for adults and children, bargain books and books by all the authors appearing at the Festival.

Sessions are first come, first served and can’t be booked in advance … so pitch up early if you think your choice might be popular!
This year our programme includes our usual helping of local history, poetry, crime fiction… but also includes fiction from East Europe and Ireland, history talks on the Spanish Flu Epidemic, landscape, skeletons and neuroscience….

Lost Nottingham – a city in pictures, an illustrated talk by Ian Rotherham
to include the launch of the new book Nottingham: Unique Images from the Archives of Historic England (Historic England Series), and extracts from Lost Nottingham in colour‘and Sherwood Forest and the Dukeries – a companion to the land of Robin Hood.

Skeletons, with Jan Zalasiewicz

From the bones of dinosaurs to the capsules of microscopic life, skeletons hold life together, build reefs, give armour for protection, strengthen our bodies. Without skeletons, life would not exist. Jan Zalasiewicz is a Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester.

Writing about Neuroscience, with Jonathan Taylor

 Jonathan Taylor’s memoir Take Me Home: Parkinson’s, My Father, Myself (Granta, 2007) was recently named by top neurologist Prof. Andrew Lees as one of his Five Best Books on Neuroscience (https://fivebooks.com/best-books/neuroscience-andrew-lees/). In this session, Jonathan talks about his memoir and his other writings inspired by neuroscience, and also recommends his own favourite books on the subject.

The Afterlives of Dr Gachet, with Sam Meekings

Sam Meekings returns to childhood home of Nottingham to read from his novel about the life of Dr Gachet, the subject of one of Van Gogh’s last paintings. His reading tour includes the Institut Van Gogh in Auvers.

His first book, Under Fishbone Clouds, was published in the UK, the USA and Brazil, and was called “a poetic evocation of the country and its people” by the New York Times. Meanwhile, the Scottish Review of Books said of hiswork that The Book of Crows is a profound novel, and Meekings demonstrates a greater degree of ambition than some of his contemporaries.” He has been featured in The Independent, on Arena on Radio 1, and in the National Geographic.


How to Read the English Landscape, with Andrew Bibby

Andrew’s books include Backbone of England which focused on northern upland landscapes. His new book delves into the landscapes of ‘middle England’, using the device of a journey made by bicycle along the belt of Jurassic limestone from west Dorset to north Lincolnshire. Andrew turns to social history, economics, and literature, to describe why the countryside looks the way it does. He considers efforts taken to improve community life, ranging from the co-operative village shop in Northamptonshire to the campaign for affordable housing in a Dorset village. He looks at land usage land ownership, discussing how the countryside today is shaped by agricultural subsidies and estate management.

Pandemic, 1918 an illustrated talk with Catharine Arnold

 “In the same city, the Victoria Baths swimming pool was drained and turned into a temporary morgue when the local council ran out of places to store the dead. By the week ending 16 November 1918, Nottingham had the highest death rate in the country: 60,000.” This is the story of Spanish flu, which killed 100 million people globally.

The Piano Room, with  Jaroslav Melnik

Jaroslav Melnik (Jaroslavas Melnikas) is a celebrated Ukrainian/ Lithuanian writer. He has won the BBC Ukrainian Service Book of the Year Award in the Ukraine and has been nominated for it multiple times. His books have been best sellers in Lithuania and his writing is celebrated in France. Today he will be reading in English and discussing East European fiction with Stephan Collishaw (Noir Press). 

New Irish Writing, with Deirdre O’Byrne

Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends was the book other publishers said they wished they had published last year. Eimear McBride won the Goldsmiths Award for her experimental fiction. Then there’s the short story writer Claire Keegan and the novelist Sara Baume, all making waves. Deirdre will introduce you to a new generation of Irish writers and give out samples of their writing to discuss. 


 The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness, with Graham Caveney 

The Boy with… is a memoir of a northern, Irish-immigrant working class family, and an adolescence that was redeemed, then betrayed, by his headteacher, a priest, who introduced him to a world of arts and culture, but who also abused him. This memoir was one of the most widely reviewed books of 2017, now out in paperback.

 The Welbeck Atlas, an illustrated talk by Steph Mastoris

Steph Mastoris is the editor of The Welbeck Atlas produced by the Thoroton Society. It is presented together with a description of the work of William Senior in the 17th century and includes maps of the Earl of Newcastle’s estates in Nottinghamshire, much of which lay within Sherwood Forest, as well as maps of estates in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Northumberland, so it is of great local interest. 

 Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy Panel*, with Dr Teika Bellamy

Although there are many successful women authors in the science fiction genre today, it is still very much a genre dominated by men. Join Teika Bellamy, the founder of Mother’s Milk Books and the editor of the popular series The Forgotten and the Fantastical, discuss the current state of the genre with regards to women authors. She will be joined by other local writers and readers. 

 The Shoestring Poetry Hour, with Jonathan Taylor and Robert Etty

 Nottinghamshire’s leading specialist poetry publisher, and long-time Lowdham regular, John Lucas of Shoestring Press launches a new collection by Leicester poet Jonathan Taylor and offers a welcome return by Robert Etty from Lincolnshire.


 Vikings Nottinghamshire, an illustrated talk by Rebecca Gregory

Nottingham was part of the Danelaw, the Viking settlement. Traces can still be found in street and village names, the local dialect and archaeological finds. Did you see the big exhibition recently at Lakeside?

In Transit, poems about travel with Sarah Jackson and Tim Youngs

‘I’m fascinated by this relationship between imagination and travel. What is it about being on the road that has inspired so many poets? How is the rhythm of movement translated into poetic form? And how does the texture of the journey shape the language of each poem? In this reading, Tim and I want to explore the physical, social and psychological implications of travel, gathering together a range of poems that challenge our assumptions of what it means to be in transit.’ 

Sarah and Tim edited the Emma Press book, In Transit. They will be joined by contributors Jo Dixon, Richard Goodson, Rory Waterman and others from the collection

Crime fiction, with  Roz Watkins 

Roz Watkins’s Detective Inspector Meg Dalton is a slightly overweight, feminist vegetarian who plies her trade in the Peak District. It was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger and is being adapted for TV.  In her novel, Devil’s Dice, a body is found near The Devil’s Dice – a  network of caves and a well-known local suicide spot. The man’s initials and a figure of the Grim Reaper are carved into the cave wall behind his corpse, but bizarrely, the carvings have existed for over one hundred years…

Words Best Sung, with Lee Stuart Evans

Lee Evans is a comedian – no, not that one, this Lee Evans is funny. He writes for Stephen Fry, Julie Walters and a host of top stars, but here is appears in his own right with Words Best Sung, a very loosely family autobiographical novel of the 1960s. There is a sound track – the music of the 60s – but primarily this is a novel of working class life in Worsop. There’s a lot about finding love and happiness, and a lot about steam trains.

Find the full Festival programme on the website of The Bookcase or pick up the physical programme, which looks  like this: