2015 festival: Programme

2015 Flamstead Book Festival

View or download the print programme as a pdf from here – or read on. On this page you can click on the author’s name (in the text) for a short biography.

At each session, typically you can listen to the author, have a chance to ask questions, and, if you would like a copy of the featured book, buy it from Waterstones and have it signed by the author.

The earlier sessions on Saturday are primarily for children and young people. Please note that the age ranges given are just a guide.


19.30-20.30: drinks from approx 7pm for talk to start at 7.30pm
venue: Church; tickets: £10 with glass of wine

Agatha Christie and Me

book jacket for Monogram MurdersSOPHIE HANNAH is known for her best-selling psychological crime novels, two of which were adapted for the ITV drama Case Sensitive starring Olivia Williams.

Her most recent work – The Monogram Murders – is the first Hercule Poirot novel since Agatha Christie’s death, having been specially approved by the renowned crime-writer’s estate. It will be out in paperback in time for Books in the Belfry. Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn says: “Reading the Monogram Murders is like returning to a favourite room of a long-lost home.” Moustaches optional.


10.00-10.30: Story-time
age: up to 7; venue: Village Hall; tickets: FREE

Start the Day with a Story

What better way to start Books in the Belfry‘s programme of events on Saturday than with a story-telling session from some of our best-loved children‘s works read by JUDITH McMULLEN from Beechwood Park School. Some are classics, others are more recent. Aimed at the under-7s but parents and carers welcome.

This session is free but you still need to book a ticket for each child. Up to four free tickets per order.

11.00-11.45 Workshop
age: 7 and over; venue: Village Hall; tickets: £4.00

Comic Consequences

Back by popular demand! After her hugely successful book-making session last year children’s illustrator LAURA TRINDER, who specialises in comic and graphic novels, is returning to host a new workshop.

You can find out how to write and illustrate comics through a fun, consequence-style game. Just bring along your imagination.

age: 11 and over; venue: Church; tickets: £4.00


book jacket for TimeRidersBooks in the Belfry will be travelling back to the future thanks to top children’s and young adult author ALEX SCARROW. The former rock guitarist is the creator of the best-selling TimeRiders series which follows the adventures of three teenagers recruited by a mysterious agency with just one purpose, to fix broken history.

Scarrow – whose latest work in the series is The Infinity Cage – will show how Liam, Maddy and Sal have to stop time travel from destroying the world.

12.15-13.15 Workshop
venue: Village Hall; tickets: £5.00

Creative Writing Workshop

JANE TAYLOR, who has a doctorate in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia and taught journalism before her first novel was published, hosts a creative writing masterclass for adults.

Enjoy the freedom to be creative in an interactive and engaging session. You never know. You could go on to be the next JK Rowling.

venue: Village Hall; tickets: £6.00 with cream tea (tea/coffee and scone)

Gardeners’ Tea Time

Another Books in the Belfry favourite returns: MATT BIGGS, who is well known for his appearances on the long-running BBC Radio Four Gardeners’ Question Time.

Come and hear about Matt’s horticultural experiences and ask him questions about your particular gardening interests. This is GQT with a twist.

venue: Church; tickets: £10.00 with voucher for cup of tea/coffee after the session

In Conversation

book jacket Travelling to InfinityJANE HAWKING was Stephen Hawking’s wife for over 25 years and her memoir Travelling to Infinity was the inspiration behind this year’s Oscar-winning film The Theory of Everything.

Jane – in one of her few public appearances this year – will talk about her incredible account of love and loss with the celebrated scientist as well as what it was like for her marriage to be played out on film by actors Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne.

18.00-19.00 followed by optional glass of wine
venue: Church; tickets: £8.00

What Makes a Great Sports Book?

Award-winning authors MICHAEL CALVIN and IAN RIDLEY will discuss what makes truly great sports writing.

book jacket for ProudCalvin ghosted Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas’s moving biography Proud – shortlisted for last year’s William Hill Sports Book of the Year and penned The Nowhere Men, which opened up the hidden world of football scouts and won the 2014 Football Book of the Year. Ridley is the author of 10 books including Tony Adam’s critically-acclaimed biography Addicted, recently judged to be among the top 10 all-time sports books.

In a session chaired by football journalist VIKKI ORVICE there will also be the chance to quiz our panel about the Champions’ League final later that evening and a summer of sport which includes England hosting the Rugby World Cup and cricket clashes with New Zealand and Australia.

Tickets are on sale now. View the Tickets page for information about how to buy them in advance.

programme believed correct at time of publication, but check website for any further information.