Second of a New Series of Events in West London
History by the River is new a monthly panel event with a social buzz for lovers of books, history and good beer. It’s a chance to get together with fellow readers and authors to hear about the best new historical writing, then discuss it all over a drink afterwards.
NB: you can’t actually see Tower Bridge from the pub, but Hammersmith Bridge is pretty too.
Tuesday 13 June 2017
13 Lower Mall,
Hammersmith, W6 9DJ
Featuring Stella Duffy, Natalie Haynes and Benet Brandreth
Chaired by Antonia Senior.
Stella Duffy has written fifteen novels including her latest, The Hidden Room, which Virago will publish in the UK in July 2017. She has written and devised fourteen plays and over sixty short stories, including several for BBC Radio 4. Her collected stories are published by Salt in Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined. She won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2002 (Martha Grace) and 2013 (Come Away With Me), and Stonewall Writer of the Year in 2008 (The Room of Lost Things) and 2010 (Theodora). Her novels The Room of Lost Things and State of Happiness were long-listed for the Orange Prize. HBO optioned her two Theodora novels (Theodora and The Purple Shroud) for a TV series. She wrote and presented the BBC4 documentary How to Write a Mills and Boon and has reviewed for The Review Show (BBC2), Front Row and Saturday Review (BBCRadio4) and written articles for most major newspapers in the UK. She has been commissioned by the Ngaio Marsh Estate and Harper Collins to write Money in the Morgue, a novel started and abandoned by Dame Ngaio Marsh in the 1940s. She is completing the book based on the three (incomplete) first chapters and the few notes left by Marsh. In addition to her writing work she is a theatre director and performer. Her latest theatre commission is The Matilda Effect, a play about women in science, for Three Legged Theatre. She is the founder and Co-Director of the Fun Palaces Campaign for cultural democracy. She was awarded the OBE for Services to the Arts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2016.
London Lies Beneath
In August 1912, three friends set out on an adventure. Two of them come home.
Tom, Jimmy and Itzhak have grown up together in the crowded slums of Walworth. They are used to narrow streets, the bustle of East Lane market, extended families weaving in and out of each other’s lives. All three boys are expected to follow their father’s trades and stay close to home. But Tom has wider dreams. So when he hears of a scouting trip, sailing from Waterloo to Sheppey and the mouth of the Thames – he is determined to go. And Itzhak and Jimmy go with him.
Inspired by real events, this is the story of three friends, and a tragedy that will change them for ever. It is also a song of south London, of working class families with hidden histories, of a bright and complex world long neglected. London Lies Beneath is a powerful and compelling novel, rich with life and full of wisdom.
Natalie Haynes is a writer and broadcaster. She writes for the Guardian, and the Independent. Her first novel, The Amber Fury, has been published to great acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, as was The Ancient Guide to Modern Life, her previous book. She has spoken on the modern relevance of the classical world on three continents, from Cambridge to Chicago to Auckland.
She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4: reviewing for Front Row and Saturday Review, appearing as a team captain on three seasons of Wordaholics, and banging on about Juvenal whenever she gets the chance. A second series of her show, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics, will be broadcast on Radio 4 next year.
Her documentary on the Defining Beauty exhibition at the British Museum, Secret Knowledge: The Body Beautiful aired in 2015 on BBC4 in the UK and on BBC World News everywhere else. She was a judge for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction, the 2013 Man Booker Prize, and the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
Children of Jocasta
In Children of Jocasta, Natalie Haynes reimagines the Oedipus and Antigone stories from the perspectives of two of the women who have often been overlooked; retelling the myth to reveal a new side of an ancient story.
When you have grown up as I have, there is no security in not knowing things, in avoiding the ugliest truths because they can’t be faced . . . Because that is what happened the last time, and that is why my siblings and I have grown up in a cursed house, children of cursed parents . . .
Jocasta is just fifteen when she is told that she must marry the King of Thebes, an old man she has never met. Her life has never been her own, and nor will it be, unless she outlives her strange, absent husband.
Ismene is the same age when she is attacked in the palace she calls home. Since the day of her parents’ tragic deaths a decade earlier, she has always longed to feel safe with the family she still has. But with a single act of violence, all that is about to change.
With the turn of these two events, a tragedy is set in motion. But not as you know it.
Benet Brandreth is a highly-regarded Intellectual Property barrister, rhetoric coach and authority on Shakespeare. Benet works regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar and others on Shakespeare’s use of language. He has also written and performed for radio and the stage. His one-man show, The Brandreth Papers, was a five-star reviewed sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival and on its London transfer. He is qualified as an instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts and as a stage combat choreographer. He lives in London with his wife and two sons and is exhausted from all his efforts at becoming a Renaissance Man.
The Spy of Venice
CJ Sansom meets Shakespeare in Love – a historical thriller with a swashbuckling twist and a hero like you’ve never seen him before
When he’s caught out by one ill-advised seduction too many, young William Shakespeare flees Stratford to seek his fortune.
Cast adrift in London, Will falls in with a band of players – but greater men have their eye on this talented young wordsmith. England’s very survival hangs in the balance, and Will finds himself dispatched to Venice on a crucial embassy.
Dazzled by the city’s masques – and its beauties – Will little realises the peril in which he finds himself. Catholic assassins would stop at nothing to end his mission on the point of their sharpened knives, and lurking in the shadows is a killer as clever as he is cruel.
Suspenseful, seductive and as sharp as an assassin’s blade, The Spy of Venice introduces a major new literary talent.
Antonia’s first career was as a journalist. She spent thirteen years on staff at The Times, writing about everything from pensions to particle physics. She left after her second child to try to fulfil a long held ambition: to write historical novels. Her third book, The Tyrant’s Shadow, is hot of the presses.
The Tyrant’s Shadow
A court without a kingdom, a kingdom without a king…England, 1652: since Charles I’s execution the land has remained untethered, the people longing for change. When Patience Johnson meets preacher Sidrach Simmonds, she believes her destiny is to become his wife and help him spread the Lord’s word. Simmonds sees things quite differently. Patience’s brother Will has been bestowed the job of lawyer to Oliver Cromwell. Tasked with aiding England’s most powerful man, he must try to overcome his grief after the loss of his wife. Then Sam Challoner, Will’s brother-in-law, returns unannounced after years in exile, forcing Will and Patience to question their loyalties: one to a ruler, the other, a spouse. Who do they choose to save? Themselves, their loved ones or their country…
Stella Duffy © Gino Sprio.
Natalie Haynes ©Dan Mersh
Benet Brandreth © Luce Newman-Williams