#FolkestoneBookFestival #TheShapeofThingstoCome – Time to say Goodbye at the Weekend. What’s on Saturday and Sunday @FstoneBookFest #daytriptoFolkestone

Posted November 21, 2019 by Zoé in Blog, Book Festival, Reviews and Stuff / 2 Comments

It is really sad to think that as I am writing this post to tell you about the weekend and it is going to be the end of the Book Festival – where does time go? You still have time to jump on the train from St Pancras and head down to Folkestone for a day or two to see what our Book Festival is about! I am loving the festival this year, I am not involved as I am a Finance bod, but I am getting to have a look around at the talks and I am part of the public, plus I am behind the scenes seeing how it all comes together! Love my job! I mean Toby Jones, writing workshops and the legend of Tim Waterstones – yes THE Tim Waterstones – the founder of Waterstone book shop!

What do we kick off with on Saturday 23rd? (This weekend is filled with so many epic things!!!!)


Words & Music Time Machine Events – 2003 & 1723: England & Germany at 10:30am and 2:30 pm – I mean it’s Toby FRICKING Jones!

Words & Music Time Machine Events - 2003 & 1723: England & Germany

Campo Santo by W G Sebald, read by Toby Jones and selected Cello Suites by J S Bach, performed by Natalie Clein.

Toby Jones first starring role was playing Truman Capote in Infamous (2005). Other films include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Secret Agent, Dad’s Army, Finding Neverland, Captain America: the First Avenger and as Claudius Templesmith in The Hunger Games. He co-starred with Mackenzie Crook in the BBC television series The Detectorists.

At the age of 16, Natalie Clein sprung to fame winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians in Warsaw. She has since performed with many of the world’s great orchestras and musicians including Martha Argerich, Leif Ove Andsnes and Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Natalie plays a 1777 Simpson Guadagnini cello.

This event takes place at St Dunstan Church, Snargate, Romney Marsh, TN29 0EW

This ticket includes entry to an Insight: Discussion on Sebald and Bach, with Ben Hutchinson and Hannah French at 12.15pm at St Thomas à Beckett Church, Fairfield, Romney Marsh, TN29 9RY.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no parking at the churches. Ticket includes a return coach from Dymchurch Central Car Park at 10am for 10.30am performance and then to St Thomas à Beckett Church, Fairfield, Romney Marsh. (Meeting point was previously Dymchurch Beach Car Park).


Story Machine Productions Presents: Kerry Hudson & Sam Ruddock – Writing Your Life Workshop at 11am – Perfect for all you writers out there! (*Staff Pick by ME*)

Story Machine Productions Presents: Kerry Hudson & Sam Ruddock - Writing Your Life Workshop

*Update 04/11/19: We’re very sorry to announce that due to circumstances beyond our control, Kerry Hudson is unable to participate in this year’s festival as previously advertised. Sam Ruddock will be running the workshop on his own and Hudson’s monologue Lowborn (Down the Chipper) at 4pm will be performed by actress Gillian Deane.*

Every narrative has power and yours deserves to be heard. Join publisher and producer Sam Ruddock to explore how you can bring you past to life. Whatever your life story, regardless of whether you’ve ever seen it in books before, he will take you through exercises and share experience and expertise to help you unlock the power of writing your story.

Kerry has asked us to share the following: “It’s with great disappointment that I’ve had to ask an actress to take up my role in the remaining Lowborn Down The Chipper tours. This is a monologue which deals with very sensitive and personal matters and, ultimately, I found it more difficult than expected. I am delighted that we have an actress who will continue to tell this story which I’m surely will resonate just as strongly with audiences.”

Duration: 2 hours Produced by Story Machine Productions.
Presented in association with Arts Council England.


Richard Dawkins: Outgrowing God at 12pm (*Staff Pick by Marita*)

Richard Dawkins: Outgrowing God

Should we believe in God? In his new book, Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide, written for a new generation, the brilliant science writer and author of The God Delusion explains why we shouldn’t.

Do we need God in order to explain the existence of the universe? Do we need God in order to be good? For anyone hoping to grapple with the meaning of life and what to believe, Outgrowing God is a challenging, thrilling and revelatory read.

Richard Dawkins is the bestselling author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker and Unweaving the Rainbow.

This event takes place at Saga Pavilion, Enbrook Park, Sandgate High Street, Sandgate, CT20 3SE. Event chaired by Robert Hewison.


Anastasia Dukakis & Marijam Didžgalvytė: The Future of Gaming at 12pm – the gamer in me is dying with excitement for this – fingers crossed I can make it! (*Staff Pick by ME*)

Anastasia Dukakis & Marijam Didžgalvytė: The Future of Gaming

From the early days of black and white 2D games, to online games with incredible graphics, the gaming industry has been at the heart of technological evolution.

Anastasia Dukakis and Marijam Didžgalvytė explore how narrative is explored within games and look at how, from the perspective of the player and the spectators, it varies from other media.

Event chaired by Matt Edwards.


Helen Czerski: Exploring the Physical World at 2pm *Sponsor Pick by News Now*

Helen Czerski: The Future of the Planet

As part of the festival’s Climate Change & Environment theme, and based on the H G Wells quote “adapt or perish, now as ever, in nature’s inexorable imperative”. Helen Czerski discusses the urgency of education, both in terms of imminent threats to the planet but also in conveying the wonder and beauty of life on earth.

Helen Czerski is a physicist, oceanographer and television presenter with a mission to broaden our understanding of the physics of the everyday world. As a physicist she studies the bubbles underneath breaking waves in the open ocean to understand their effects on weather and climate. Helen regularly presents BBC programmes on physics, the ocean and the atmosphere, including ‘Colour: The Spectrum of Science’, ‘Orbit’, ‘Operation Iceberg’, ‘Super Senses’, ‘Dara O’Briain’s Science Club’, as well as programmes on bubbles, the sun and our weather. She is currently a Research Fellow in the department of mechanical engineering at University College London.

Her books include ‘Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life’ and ‘Bubbles: A Ladybird Expert Book’.

“Physics isn’t all quantum weirdness. It’s about daily life”. Helen Czerski

Event chaired by Julia Wheeler.


Kerry Hudson: Lowborn (Down the Chipper) at 4pm – where else could you see a talk in a chip shop – blinking good food too! (*Staff pick by Laura*)

Kerry Hudson: Lowborn (Down the Chipper)

*Update 04/11/19: We’re very sorry to announce that due to circumstances beyond our control, Kerry Hudson is unable to participate in this year’s festival as previously advertised. Actress Gillian Deane will perform the monologue written by Kerry instead.*

When Kerry Hudson was born, she was destined to be the latest in a long line of Aberdeen fishwives. But Kerry had bigger dreams and the fight, humour and strength of her community to back her up.

An intimate one-woman performance of stories from Hudson’s working-class childhood. Arrive earlier to order your fish and chips before settling in for an event unlike anything you have ever been to before.

Kerry has asked us to share the following: “It’s with great disappointment that I’ve had to ask an actress to take up my role in the remaining Lowborn Down The Chipper tours. This is a monologue which deals with very sensitive and personal matters and, ultimately, I found it more difficult than expected. I am delighted that we have an actress who will continue to tell this story which I’m surely will resonate just as strongly with audiences.”

This event takes place at Harbour Fish Bar, 1-3 Lower Sandgate Road, Folkestone CT20 1QJ (Ps this is a tasty fish bar!!)


Tim Waterstone: The Face Pressed Against a Window at 4pm –this is one I want to come to, I mean wow!

Tim Waterstone

Tim Waterstone is one of Britain’s most successful businessmen, having built the Waterstones empire that started with one shop in 1982. In his memoir ‘The Face Pressed Against a Window’ he explores his formative years in a small town in rural England at the end of the Second World War, and the troubled relationship he had with his father before moving on to the epiphany he had while studying at Cambridge, which set him on the road to Waterstones and gave birth to the creative strategy that made him a high street name. In 2018 he was knighted for services to bookselling and charity.

In conversation he discusses the years leading up to the creation of Waterstones and gives his thoughts on the future of books and bookselling.

‘The Face Pressed Against a Window’ confirms one’s sense that this extraordinarily energetic and well-meaning man has been, and still is, a force for good.
– Literary Review

Event chaired by Louise Jury.


Johny Pitts: Afropean: Notes from Black Europe at 6pm

Johny Pitts: Afropean: Notes from Black Europe

TV presenter, photographer and writer, Johny Pitts, sets out to explore “black Europe from the street up” in his new book, Afropean: Notes from Black Europe. Dissatisfied with the limits imposed on his identity and the framing of his black experience, Johny is a nomadic writer in search of his tribe. He claims membership of a collective black community in Europe that offers a sense of belonging more nourishing than the reductive nationalism of individual European countries. But what is it to be Afropean?

Fascinating, urgent and stirring. His humility and honesty are wonderfully refreshing and by the end of the book our perception of the old continent has been challenged and reimagined. Bernardine Evaristo.

Event chaired by Louise Jury.


Lemn Sissay: My Name Is Why at 8pm (*Staff Pick by Fiona*)

Lemn Sissay

At the age of seventeen, after a childhood of being fostered followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman – it was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth. In My Name is Why, Lemn Sissay recounts his life story, a story of neglect and determination misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph.

He reflects on being fostered, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home. This moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions and celebrates the redemptive power of creativity.

Lemn Sissay is an award-winning writer and popular broadcaster as well as being the author of five books of poetry. He was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Huddersfield and the University of Manchester, and was awarded an MBE by the Queen for services to literature. He was the official poet for the London 2012 Olympics and is patron of the Letterbox Club, supporting children in care. Earlier this year he was announced as the winner of the 2019 PEN Pinter Prize – the prize is awarded to writers who take, in Harold Pinter’s words, an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ look at the world – and Lemn Sissay will receive the award in October.

“I have never read a memoir like it. A blistering account of a young life in the hands of neglectful authorities. It’s a quest for understanding, for home, for answers. Grips like a thriller. Astounding”- Matt Haig

Event chaired by Julia Wheeler.


Wow that is one jammed pack Saturday!!! How are we closing the festival?


Philip Hoare: Facing the Sea at 9:30am – a nice early swim if you are up for it!

Philip Hoare: Facing the Sea

From the edge of England, in a special festival commission, Philip Hoare reads his address to one of his great passions – the sea. Philip Hoare’s books include Leviathan or, The Whale; The Sea Inside; and RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR.

This is an outdoor, standing event, so please dress for the weather and bring a fold up stool if required. Limited seating will be available. After the talk Philip will lead a swim in the sea (weather permitting).

This event takes place at The Ledge (Bill Woodrow sculpture on Mermaid Beach).


John Browne: Engineering the Future of Civilisation at 12pm (*Staff Pick by Jo*)

John Browne

Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilisation is an impassioned defence of progress and innovation by the engineer, businessman and former CEO of BP, John Browne. It explores the relationship between innovation and our most urgent current dilemmas, including climate change, connectivity, defence and artificial intelligence. Addressing the mistakes and abuses of technological change, it provides an eloquent blueprint for how we can continue to thrive.

John Browne was CEO of BP from 1995–2007. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, past President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and former chairman of Tate. He holds degrees from Cambridge and Stanford Universities, was knighted in 1998 and made a life peer in 2001. He is the author of four previous books.

“A feast of stimulating and significant ideas … Like all the best books, it is partly autobiographical. I knew that Browne had been head of BP but had not realised that his father was an executive of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Iraq. This may partly explain his fine eye for civilisation as distinct from bare economic activity, even at the behest of oil companies.” – Andrew Adonis, Financial Times

Event chaired by Peter Guttridge.


Words & Music Time Machine Events – 1819: England & Austria at 2:30pm and 5pm

1819: England & Austria

Odes by John Keats, read by Greta Scacchi and The Trout Quintet by Franz Schubert performed by Julius Drake (piano), Priya Mitchell (violin), Sascha Bota (viola), Brian O’Kane (cello), Steven Williams (double bass).

Greta Scacchi is a highly acclaimed actress best known for her roles in films such as White Mischief, Presumed Innocent, The Player, Emma and Looking for Alibrandi.

Julius Drake is a regular performer at the Wigmore Hall London, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre New York, La Scala Milan and the Edinburgh and Salzburg Festivals. The New Yorker recently described him the “collaborative pianist nonpareil”.

This event takes place at St Mary & St Eanswythe’s Church, Church Street, Folkestone, CT20 1SE


Dorian Lynskey – 1984: Window to our Future at 2pm – this is one I am trying to get to! *Sponsor Pick by News Now*

DORIAN LYNSKEY

George Orwell’s last novel has become one of the iconic narratives of the modern world. Its ideas have become part of the language – from ‘Big Brother’ to the ‘Thought Police’, ‘Doublethink’, and ‘Newspeak’ – and seem ever more relevant in the era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’. The cultural influence of 1984 can be observed in some of the most notable creations of the past seventy years, from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, from Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta to David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs – and from the launch of Apple Mac to the reality TV landmark, Big Brother.

In The Ministry of Truth, Dorian Lynskey investigates the influences that came together in the writing of 1984, from Orwell’s experiences in the Spanish Civil War and war-time London to his book’s roots in Utopian and Dystopian fiction.

He explores the phenomenon that the novel became on publication and the changing ways in which it has been read over the decades since. 2019 marks the seventieth anniversary of the publication of what is arguably Orwell’s masterpiece, while the year 1984 itself is now as distant from us as it was from Orwell on publication day. ‘The Ministry of Truth’ is a fascinating examination of one of the most significant works of modern English literature. It describes how history can inform fiction and how fiction can influence history.

Dorian Lynskey writes about music, film, books and politics for publications including The Guardian, The Observer, the New Statesman, GQ, Billboard, Empire, and Mojo. His first book, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, was published in 2011. A study of 33 pivotal songs with a political message, it was NME’s Book of the Year and a Music Book of the Year in the Daily Telegraph.

“If you have even the slightest interest in Orwell or in the development of our culture, you should not miss this engrossing, en-lightening book. ” John Carey, Sunday Times

Event chaired by Andy Miller.


Insight: Discussion on Keats and Schubert at 3:45pm

Insight: Discussion on Keats and Schubert

Inspired by Wells’ The Time Machine, we travel back in time in this year’s Strange Concords: Words and Music Time Machine Events to alight on seminal artistic creations that once shaped our cultural future.

Join Natasha Loges for an insight discussion on John Keats and Franz Schubert, and what inspired the Book Festival curators to bring together their words and music in surprising, but exciting, conjunctions.

This event takes place at St Mary & St Eanswythe’s Church, Church Street, Folkestone, CT20 1SE. Free to attend, booking essential.

1819 – England & Austria takes place on Sunday 24 November at 2.30pm and 5pm at St Mary & St Eanswythe’s Church. Odes by John Keats, read by Greta Scacchi and The Trout Quintet by Franz Schubert performed by Julius Drake (piano), Priya Mitchell (violin), Sascha Bota (viola), Brian O’Kane (cello), Steven Williams (double bass).


Gaia Vince & Fred Pearce – Our Changing Earth at 4pm

Gaia Vince & Fred Pearce

The changes we humans have made in recent decades have altered our world beyond anything it has experienced in its 4.6 billion-year history. As a result, our planet is said to be crossing into the Anthropocene – the Age of Humans. It can be difficult to register the scale of change in a fast-changing world. But Gaia Vince and Fred Pearce have devoted their work and writing to doing just that. As humans melt the Arctic, turn forests into grasslands and savannahs into deserts, and choke the seas with plastic waste, Gaia and Fred discuss how they see the future of our planet.

In Adventures in the Anthropocene, Gaia Vince decided to travel the world at the start of this new age to explore what all these changes really mean, especially for the people living on the frontline. This book looks at how we are reshaping our living planet and explores how we might engineer Earth for our future. Her new book, Transcendence: How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty and Time explores the astonishing story of how culture enabled us to become the most successful species on Earth.

In When the Rivers Run Dry Fred Pearce explores the growing world water crisis, from Kent to Kenya, taking us to places where waterways are turning to sand before the reach the ocean; where fields are parched and crops no longer grow; where wars are fought over access to water. But he offers us hope for the future, if we can radically revolutionise the way to treat water, and take personal responsibility for what we use.

Event chaired by Helen Sharp.


Steve Jones: Here Comes The Sun! at 6pm

Steve Jones

Our sun drives the weather, forms the landscape, feeds and fuels – but sometimes destroys – the creatures that live upon it, controls their patterns of activity, makes chemicals in the skin that cheer up those who bask in its rays, and for the ancients was the seat of divine authority.

In Here Comes the Sun, Steve Jones shows how life on Earth is ruled by our nearest star. The book is filled with unexpected connections; between the need to stay cool and man’s ability to stand upright, between the power of memory and the onset of darkness, between the flow of solar energy through the plants and animals and of wealth through society, and between Joseph Goebbel’s 1938 scheme to make Edinburgh the summer capital of a defeated Britain and the widening gap in the life expectancy of Scottish men compared to that of other European men brought on by that nation’s cloudy climate.

Its author charts some of his own research in places hot and cold across the globe on the genetic and evolutionary effects of sun-light on snails, fruit-flies and people and shows how what was once no more an eccentric specialism has grown to become a subject of wide scientific, social and political significance.

Steve Jones is a Senior Research Fellow at University College, London and has worked at universities in the USA, Australia and Africa. He gave the Reith Lectures in 1991 and appears frequently on radio and television.


Insight: Requiem – Hope For Our Future at 7:45pm

Insight: Requiem - Hope For Our Future

‘The Shape of Things to Come’ concludes with a film of one of the most profound, yet uplifting, ‘operatic’ achievements of our lifetime, Requiem. ARTE filmed the opening performance of one of Europe’s most radical artists, Romeo Castellucci, and his company, Societas Raffaello Sanzio’s production at the 2019 Aix-En-Provence Opera Festival.

In a sublimation of music, chorus and song, dance, ritual, performance art, extraordinary tableaux and costuming and an atlas of great extinctions, Requiem is a paean to mankind’s creativity yet ultimately comes down on the side of hope, through the innocence of our children, beginning once again.

“‘Requiem’ has a radiant quality, celebrating the community bonds and cycles that undergird life and death. Castellucci suggests a benevolent nature which can heal the wounds of modern life, if we don’t destroy it…a remarkable experience…it is beautiful and cryptic…a revelation.” – Financial Times.

Associated with: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence

In Partnership With: Orange Fondation Arte Alliance Francais


And that will be a wrap….however there is still time so don’t get FOMO like I am!! Go get a ticket!

Until next time xxx


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