Filed in the section labelled Historical Fiction 

Fiction Festival 13-15 March 2020

at the Town Hall on the Saturday Market Place

Click here to download a programme


Louise Doughty, Romesh Gunesekera, Jill Dawson, John Lucas

Guinevere Glasfurd, Jeremy Cameron, DJ Taylor, Rachel Hore

** With regret, Sophie Hannah and Louis de Bernières couldn’t make the weekend.

They send big apologies to those who particularly wanted to see them **

Join us for readings and interviews as some of the most exciting, world class writers gather in King’s Lynn for the 32nd Fiction Festival.


Many of the writers you might recognise are welcomed back with their new novels. 

Sophie Hannah, writer of the continuing Poirot books for the Agatha Christie estate, and master of the psychological thriller, will deliver her new book, Haven’t They Grown. 

Louise Doughty’s previous title, Apple Tree Yard, was a massive success and TV mini series after she was last with us in 2016. Her new thriller is Platform Seven. Louis de Bernières will read from his wonderful short stories, Labels. Local authors - no less impressive - are Guinevere Glasfurd and Jill Dawson. His coming-of-age novel, Suncatcher, set in 1960s Ceylon, will be read from and discussed by Romesh Gunesekera. Rachel Hore and D J Taylor return with their new books, The Love Child and The Lost Girls, respectively. Scroll down for the timetable of events, and below that, a little more about the writers.


Admission is £10, either in advance or on the door. Friday and Saturday nights are particularly popular, so do consider booking in advance to secure a seat. Come along to all events of the weekend with a season ticket at £40. 

Students’ price is £1 per event. Click here for booking information.


The listed start times denote when the readings start, so please arrive in good time to be seated. Late-comers will be admitted, but you’ll get some odd looks. 


There is usually a 20 minute break between two halves of 45 minutes. The bookstall welcomes your custom with cash or contactless plastic.


Click here to download a copy of the programme, or, once they’re printed, pick one up at various locations in King’s Lynn: Norbury’s Fine Foods (Tower Street), Waterstones, Tourist Info (now at the Old Gaol House on Saturday Market Place), Bank House Hotel (by the Custom House), Hawkins Ryan offices (Tuesday Market Place).

The Weekend’s Events


Friday 13th March, 7.30pm

Guinevere Glasfurd

Rachel Hore

in conversation with John Lucas


Saturday 14th March, 11.00am

Discussion:

What are today’s enemies of promise?

The writers will discuss the issues identified in Cyril Connolly’s 1938 book of that name, whether they are still valid, and look at new issues that may stifle creativity
Chaired by John Lucas



Saturday 14th March, 3.00pm

Louise Doughty pt 1 (not Sophie Hannah)

Jeremy Cameron

in conversation with Chris West



Saturday 14th March, 8.00pm

Louis de Bernières

Jill Dawson

in conversation with Lachlan Mackinnon



Sunday 15th March, 11.00am

Romesh Gunesekera

Louise Doughty

in conversation with Chris Bigsby



Sunday 15th March, 3.00pm

D J Taylor on The Lost Girls: Love, War and 

Literature 1939-1951

in conversation with Chris Bigsby

(Click here for an easy-to-print version of the timetable of events)

WRITERS’ POTTED BIOGRAPHIES



Guinevere Glasfurd is originally from the north of England and now lives in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire. She graduated with Distinction from the MA Creative Writing course at Anglia Ruskin University. Her short stories have been published by Mslexia and The Scotsman and in a collection from the National Galleries of Scotland. She has won awards from Arts Council England and the British Council. She was with us in 2018 with her novel, The Words In My Hand, which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award. Guinevere is back with her second novel, The Year Without Summer, which tells the story, through six different characters, of a fateful year when temperatures fell and the summer failed to arrive.



Rachel Hore lives in Norwich and is the author of ten novels including supernatural chiller, A Place of Secrets (2010), the best-sellers, A Gathering Storm (2011) and Last Letter Home (2018). The seeds of her writing career were sown during her days as senior editorial director of fiction at HarperCollins in London. Rachel is a reviewer of fiction for The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday. She teaches publishing at the UEA. We always welcome her regular contributions to our festivals, this year with her latest novel, The Love Child (2019).



Sophie Hannah is an internationally best-selling master of psychological crime fiction, published in 32 languages. In 2014, she published a new mystery novel, The Monogram Murders, starring Hercule Poirot - written with the blessing of the Agatha Christie estate. Three more Poirot novels followed, with a fourth due this year. In 2013, Sophie’s novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared. Sophie has also published six collections of poetry. Her new novel, Haven’t They Grown (2020), brims with intrigue, suspense and plot twists. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is a Honorary Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College.



Jeremy Cameron was born in 1947, grew up in West Norfolk and is the author of six novels. He was for 20 years a Probation Officer in Walthamstow, rooting him in the world in which his five novels featuring East End wide-boy, Nicky Burkett, are set. The books are funny with the narrator’s voice skilfully maintained throughout these tales of the East End underworld. The first was Vinnie Got Blown Away (1995), and its sequel, It Was An Accident (1996), was made into a film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Nicky. The books are now re-issued. Jeremy is an obsessive walker. Never Again (2014) tells of his walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. Last year’s Quite Quintessential (2019) follows his walk around all the places in England which begin with the letter Q. He thought it might take two years but actually took five owing to ill health and a diagnosis of Parkinson’s when half way through. He lives in Westacre.



Louis de Bernières was born in London in 1954. He published his first novel in 1990 and was selected by Granta magazine as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Since then he has become well known internationally as a writer: Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994) won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Novel, Birds Without Wings (2004), and A Partisan's Daughter (2008), was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. His latest book is a collection of warm and witty short stories, Labels (2019), set across locations of de Bernieres’ previous novels. He lives in Norfolk and as well as writing, he plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar.



Jill Dawson is the best-selling author of nine novels, including Fred & Edie (short-listed for The Whitbread and Orange Prize) and Watch Me Disappear (long-listed for the Orange Prize). Her excellent 2009 best-seller, The Great Lover, about Rupert Brooke, was a Richard & Judy summer read. Her latest novel is The Language of Birds (2019), a story based on Lord Lucan and the murdered nanny. In addition to writing fiction, Jill has edited six anthologies and won awards for poetry and screenplays. She has held many fellowships, including the British Council Writing Fellowship at Amherst College, Massachusetts and the Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, where she also taught on the MA course (2003). Jill lives with her husband and two sons in the Cambridgeshire Fens.



Louise Doughty was born in 1963 and is a graduate of the Creative Writing Course at UEA. Her nine novels - the rights for which have been sold in 21 countries - include the internationally acclaimed Fires In The Dark (2003) and The Stone Cradle (2006), based on the history of the Romany people and her own family ancestry. Whatever You Love (2010) was short-listed for the Costa Novel award and long-listed for the Orange prize. She was last in King’s Lynn in 2015 with her best-selling thriller, Apple Tree Yard - which was adapted into a BBC TV series in 2018. She reviews books for The Observer and is a cultural commentator both at home and abroad and writes non-fiction and plays for radio. She has judged many awards including the Man Booker prize. Her latest novel, Platform Seven (2019), is a gripping psychological thriller.



Romesh Gunesekera was born in Sri Lanka in 1954. He moved to England when he was 17 and now lives in London. He has published five novels and two books of stories. His first novel, Reef (1994), was widely acclaimed and short-listed for the Booker Prize and the Guardian Fiction Prize. The Sandglass (1998) won the First BBC Asia award and Heaven's Edge (2002) was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book. Romesh was with us in 2015 with his moving and fascinating collection of stories, Noon Tide Toll (2014). He returns with his new novel, Suncatcher (2020), a poignant coming-of-age novel about difficult friendships and sudden awakenings, set in 1964 Ceylon.



Born in 1960, the author of thirteen novels and many other books, DJ Taylor lives in Norwich and is a regular feature at our Festival. Educated at Norwich School and Oxford, he is a distinguished novelist, critic, journalist and biographer – notably of Thackeray (1999) and Orwell: The Life, for which he won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award, and a history of literary life in England since 1918, The Prose Factory (2016). His numerous novels include English Settlement, winner of the Grinzane Cavour prize, and Derby Day (2011) long-listed for The Booker Prize. Taylor’s new book is a group biography, Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature: 1939-51. It is a colourful portrait of four young women of Blitz-era London cutting a swathe in a sophisticated and highly sexualised literary world. DJ Taylor is married to novelist Rachel Hore.


Interviewer: John Lucas

The distinguished poet, novelist and critic, John Lucas is Professor Emeritus at the Universities of Loughborough and Nottingham Trent. He is the author of many academic works, including studies of Dickens and Ivor Gurney. His novels blend fiction, memoir and social history. Another recent book includes a beautifully produced anthology of Cricket Poems. Both The Guardian and The TLS chose his Next Year Will Be Better: A Memoir of England in The 1950s (2010) as their Book of the Year. He runs Shoestring Press, lives in Nottingham and is a regular interviewer at our festivals.


Interviewer: Chris West

Chris West is a novelist and non-fiction writer. He has written four crime novels set in 1990s China. The first, Death of a Blue Lantern, was nominated for Best First Novel at the World Mystery Convention. His latest work of fiction is What’s the Bloody Point of it All?, a comic novella published this year. His latest non-fiction book, Eurovision! A History of Modern Europe through the World’s Greatest Song Contest, tells the story of Europe from Suez to Brexit through the Eurovision Song Contest, and was published in 2017. A 2020 edition will be available soon.


Interviewer: Chris Bigsby

Chris Bigsby is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of Arts. He is an award winning Academic, Novelist and Biographer, and is the Professor of American studies at UEA, and Director of the Arthur Miller Centre there. He has published more than 40 books including the Biography of Arthur Miller in two volumes (2008 and 2011).


Interviewer: Lachlan Mackinnon

Lachlan Mackinnon is a poet, critic and literary journalist. He was educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Oxford. His first collection, Monterey Cypress, was published in 1988, then followed The Coast of Bohemia in 1991, and the Jupiter Collisions in 2003. His fourth collection, published in 2011 by Faber & Faber, is Small Hours. He lives in Ely and is married to Wendy Cope.