St Michael and All Angels Church, Bedford Park


The Chiswick Book Festival:
September 25th-27th 2009

Why hold a book festival in Chiswick?

We think it’s long overdue – and are delighted that so many top authors and publishers seem to think so too!

Becky Sharp throws a book in Vanity FairIn 1817, William Thackeray went to school here, by the river – the inspiration for Miss Pinkerton’s Academy in Vanity Fair, where Becky Sharp famously threw a dictionary out of her carriage (right). Yeats, Chesterton and Betjeman wrote eloquently about Bedford Park and other parts of Chiswick. So have current authors like Celia Brayfield and Mavis Cheek.
Chiswick House was the favourite home of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, immortalised in Amanda Foreman’s prize-winning biography (Georgiana called it "my earthly Paradise"). And writers such as Edna O’Brien have graced the annual Bedford Park Festival, organised here by St Michael & All Angels Church.

Now, leafy Chiswick - London W4 - is home to many who work in publishing and the media, as well as those who love books, making it a natural place to celebrate the written word.

Festival venues include St Michael & All Angels Church & Parish Hall; and the Tabard Theatre; all close to Turnham Green tube station - as well as Sam's Brasserie & Bar, off the Chiswick High Road. And there are lots of other places nearby to eat and drink!

Why now?

Plans for a Chiswick festival devoted to books were first drawn up more than two years ago - and others saw the potential too! In 2007, Ealing Council announced plans to hold their own Literary Festival here – in tents on the green opposite Turnham Green tube station. We thought two book festivals here, both in September, would have been too much of a good thing, so we joined forces.

The Ealing Literary Festival attracted writers such as Andrew Motion, Lynne Reid Banks, Nicholas Parsons, Richard Briers and Tom Holland and we've supported it for the past two years, providing speakers and hosting a drinks party for writers and readers in St Michael's Parish Hall.
This year, Ealing decided to move its event, and we offered to take over the slot, with their blessing.

The first Chiswick Book Festival has been welcomed by both of Chiswick’s local councils, Ealing and Hounslow. It is supported by local bookshops, including Waterstone’s and the Oxfam Book Shop; Chiswick Library;; and local authors, publishers and businesses.

The Festival is non-profit-making and will support a selection of reading-related charities and the work of St Michael & All Angels. Find out more at their stalls in the church during the weekend.

We hope you enjoy the weekend, and if you’d like to be involved, please get in touch!

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