Here’s my guide to the Festival in the Independent. 2 weeks to go! Top tips: Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld; Miranda Seymour; Tom Rob Smith; Gary Shteyngart (I’m reviewing his new book on BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review next week); Darragh McKeon (amazing debut novel on Chernobyl).
Germaine Greer’s White Beech: The Rainforest Years reviewed in Red.
“With all Germaine Greer’s campaigning and public speaking it can be easy to forget that she’s a great writer too: above all White Beech: The Rainforest Years is a surprisingly compelling read, filled with expert botanical details and personal asides.”
There is an outside chance still to see her in Bath on Saturday March 1. The event sold out just before Germaine’s 75th birthday in January — but you can still go on the waiting list if you call 01225 462231.
Here’s a couple of guides to the comedy at Bath Literature Festival in GQ and on the Bath Festivals website including Jennifer Saunders (who I’m interviewing), Jo Caulfield, Lucy Porter, Mark Watson, Count Arthur Strong, Steve Richard, Ellie Taylor, Mary Bourke, Rachel Parris, Austentatious…
There’s a handful of tickets left for our Great Big Comedy Night: Happy 75th Birthday, Germaine! on Friday March 7 at 7pm — and for my show I Laughed, I Cried at 4.30pm the same day.
The Germaine Greer public lecture (based on her new book, White Beech) on Saturday March 1 at the Independent Bath Literature Festival is pretty much SOLD OUT! I’m so thrilled. A handful of extra tickets may be released in the next few days or you can go on the waiting list here. Keep checking the Bath Festivals website.
If you can’t get a Germaine ticket for love nor money nor first editions of The Female Eunuch, then this is a great substitute: The Great Big Comedy Night – In Honour of Germaine’s 75th Birthday (which is in late January — but better late than ever). It’s at Bath Komedia on Friday March 7 at 7pm in association with Bristol’s award-winning all-female comedy night What the Frock. At Bath we’ll be featuring a token man – Live at the Apollo’s Mark Watson. I think it’s what Germaine would want.
Our official big launch for the Independent Bath Literature Festival 2014 kicks off at 9.30am on Monday 20 February at the Bath Box Office next to the Abbey. Several events have already sold out and Germaine Greer only has a handful of tickets left.
I will be there handing out free copies of The Big Bath Read 2014, Joanna Rossiter’s The Sea Change, a brilliant novel by a local debut author about the relationship between a mother and a daughter as the fall-out from the Second World War echoes across the generations. Here’s more on The Sea Change in our discussion group on Goodreads. See you for free books! (Bring coffee for me. And cake. I will have a day off my sugar detox.)
The second I got the job as the new artistic director at the Independent Bath Literature Festival, I knew I wanted to put Austentatious on the 2014 programme. They were the first thing I thought of. So it makes me especially proud that they were the first event to sell out, almost two weeks ahead of our official programme launch on January 20. Featuring Cariad Lloyd, whose BBC3 pilot has earned her comparisons to Catherine Tate, and Rachel Parris, star of Channel 4′s The IT Crowd, Austentatious is a seven-strong crack team of improvisers who conjure up a “lost” Jane Austen novel out of thin air, based on audience suggestions.
To go on the waiting list for Saturday March 8 click here or call the Box Office on 01225 463362.
Interview for this smart new website, Culture Whisper, with recommendations for film, books, theatre and live events. In case you are feeling too lazy to click and read (and I would not blame you, it’s turning out to be a long month, this January malarkey), they are: Hanif Kureishi’s new novel The Last Word (he’s also at Bath on Sunday March 2: tickets here), American Hustle (like it needs me promoting it when it already won loads of awards and Golden Globes and things), Germaine Greer’s exclusive appearance at Bath Literature Festival on Saturday March 1, the Hampstead theatre play Rapture, Blister, Burn (I’m doing an event there on 5 Feb) and Austentatious 2014 Tour (including their performance at Bath on Saturday March 8). Culture = sorted.
On our 2014 programme: Alastair Campbell, Rachel Joyce, Patricia Hodge, Jonathan Dimbleby, Jed Rubenfeld, Amy Chua, Gary Shteyngart, Jo Caulfield, Ben Watt, Lucy Porter, Philip Hensher, Michael Rosen, Douglas Alexander, Jonathan Aitken, Gabin Esler, The Incredible Spice Men, Nicky Haslam, Adele Parks, David Lodge, Mrs Moneypenny, Frieda Hughes, AL Kennedy, Boris Akunin, Olivia Laing, Lionel Shriver… and over 150 more names.
If you cannot *possibly* wait until all the tickets for the Independent Bath Literature Festival (which I’ve curated) go on general release on Mon 20 Jan, you can jump the queue as of today. Sign up here.
Here’s how it works: support Bath Festivals by becoming a Member and unlock all of our tickets now. £20 buys you PenPal status which includes this in the deal:
– Advance brochure mailing (of the lovely booklet with the candy floss on the front, which is a guide to all our events and also operates as a handy guide to all the best books out in the first quarter of 2014)
– One week priority booking on all Festival events
– Invite to exclusive supporters’ events
– Discounts and special offers with our Festival partners and our Festival bookseller, Waterstones.
Why else would you want to do this? Above and beyond all this, it is a great cause. Because Bath Festivals are a not-for-profit. Like many of the other great British arts festivals, there is no way we could do what we do without the generous support of friends, patrons, supporters and sponsors.
Plus, if you sign up as a PenPal and tweet me about it, I’ll send you bespoke reading recommendations. I will flood you with them until you ask me to stop. Just tweet me at @vivgroskop
I loved what Philip Hensher (who’s with us on 3 March talking about “Bliss is… Wagner”) said in his recent piece about “putting the arts at the heart of our society”: “This should be a golden age for readers but it feels like the end of days.” Except I don’t think it is the end of days. I am willing to bet £20 that it is just the beginning of days.
For a video guide to the events featuring me wearing a slightly ill-advised leopardskin sequin cardigan, click here
The launch for the Independent Bath Literature Festival is well underway! For a more detailed run-down of the programme, check out the Bath Magazine where I am (not inaccurately) described as a “candy floss lover”. (The brochure features a huge picture of candy floss on the cover.)
Superhot tip for now: buy tickets for Austentatious and Germaine Greer while you still can. My own favourites: the Great Bath News Debate, Jennifer Saunders and our fantastic foodie events with superchef Mark Hix, Jewish food legend Claudia Roden (or at least that’s how I think of her because I love The Book of Jewish Food) and Jane Austen culinary scholar Pen Vogler’s Literary Lunch with Mr Darcy.
Today the full programme for the Independent Bath Literature Festival, 28 Feb to 9 March 2014, is revealed! 10 days, 180+ authors, 20,000+ tickets. I’m the Artistic Director and this is my first year in the job. This year’s theme? Bliss.
New names unveiled today: Alastair Campbell, Rachel Joyce, Patricia Hodge, Jonathan Dimbleby, Jed Rubenfeld, Amy Chua, Gary Shteyngart, Jo Caulfield, Ben Watt, Lucy Porter, Philip Hensher, Michael Rosen, Douglas Alexander, Jonathan Aitken, Gabin Esler, The Incredible Spice Men, Nicky Haslam, Adele Parks, David Lodge, Mrs Moneypenny, Frieda Hughes, AL Kennedy, Boris Akunin, Olivia Laing, Lionel Shriver… Er, is that enough? (That is not everyone. I’ll be blogging regular guides to the programme over the next few weeks as it’s hard to get your head around 180+ events.)
Here’s how to buy tickets: Jennifer Saunders goes on general release for the first time today. I’ll be interviewing her in the Forum about her book Bonkers and whether she is ever going to get around to writing the movie of Absolutely Fabulous. And whether Goldie Hawn is as awful as she sounds. It will be a very intellectual discussion indeed.
On sale as Early Bird releases: Hanif Kureishi, Henry Blofeld, Claudia Roden, Mark Hix, Austentatious, Rowan Williams, Mark Watson and the Great Big Comedy Night (I’m MCing), Joanna Trollope, The Great Bath News Debate with Intelligence Squared featuring Alain de Botton, Jon Snow and Jonathan Dimbleby, Germaine Greer.
All the rest of the tickets you can buy now if you sign up as a Friend of the Festival, from £20. Details here. Membership gets you an advance brochure mailing, priority booking and invitations to exclusive events.
All tickets go on general release on January 20. Enjoy!