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Philip Marsden

Philip Marsden


A keen “day sailor” since boyhood, Philip Marsden had long been entranced by the mystical lure of the Summer Isles since long distant visits to an inspirational aunt who made a life and mysteriously died on one of them. His latest book, The Summer Isles tells how, with beguilingly insane bravado, he buys a clinker-built yacht and sails from his home in South Cornwall up the west coast to revisit them. Marsden, being a polymath as well as sailor, his occasionally hair-raising adventures along the way are spiced with the histories and myths of the fascinating places he visits. This was the closing event of North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
Stepping in at the last minute, Patrick Gale talks to Cathy Rentzenbrink about his novel based on the youth of Cornish poet Charles Causley, Mother's Boy. Recorded at North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
Legendary garden writer Anna Pavord’s latest book, Landskipping, is a fascinating history of a peculiarly British fascination with landscape shot through with autobiographical glimpses that place Anna within that historical. What is it about landscape, she asks, that we find beautiful? How does landscape comfort us, fill us with awe or simply mesmerise us? Anna was in conversation with obsessive gardener Patrick Gale at North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
Colombo-born George Alagiah is familiar to millions as a BBC journalist and newscaster and, more recently, as a figurehead for cancer patients and campaigner for improved cancer screening. He is the author of two memoirs charting his family story and the process of becoming an Englishman: A Passage to Africa and A Home from Home: from Immigrant Boy to English Man but has now turned novelist with his well-received thriller of murky dealings in post-apartheid South Africa, The Burning Land. George was in conversation with a fellow star of the BBC, Petroc Trelawny, at North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
Peppered with anecdotes, On the Brink is a rich and personal insight into the life and times of the Fox family, whose success in Cornwall and beyond spanned across three centuries. Colourful stories from the author's own experience of working within the family's shipping business, along with historical reference, portray an intricate account of the contribution the Foxes made to the history of Falmouth. Charles read this extract from On the Brink as part of the Cream of Cornish event at North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
This is the incredible story of a Second World War shoot-out between black and white American soldiers in a quiet Cornish town that ended up putting the ‘special relationship’ itself on trial. The subsequent court martial into what tabloids labelled a ‘wild west’ mutiny became front page news in Great Britain and the USA. Three thousand miles across the Atlantic, it mirrored and bolstered a fast-accelerating civil rights movement. At home it caused Churchill himself ‘grave anxiety’ while refracting an extraordinary truth about the real state of Anglo-American relations. For three long days the story raged before the turbulent war-torn world moved on and forgot forever amid ever-escalating D-Day preparations. This account of a shocking drama the authorities tried to hush up has been painstakingly pieced back together for the first time thanks to new archival research. When slotted into its unique context, extracted from wartime cabinet documents, secret government surveys, opinion polls, diaries, letters and newspapers as well as testimony from those who remember it, the story offers a rare and stunning window into a little-known dark side of the ‘American Invasion.’ By breathing new life into a vanished trial, it reveals a rare and surprising insight into the wider story of how Britain reacted to soldiers of the Jim Crow army when they came to stay. Kate read this extract as part of the Cream of Cornwall event at North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
This session presents two very exciting debut novels from writers who have each been fearless in rattling family skeletons or using elements of autobiography to come up with something fresh and startling. Eleanor Anstruther’s A Perfect Explanation was inspired by her discovery that her grandmother, the granddaughter of the 8th Duke of Argyll, sold her father to her aunt for £500 to raise him as her own. Paul Mendez worked as an actor before settling into a writing career. His Rainbow Milk draws, in its portrayal of a boy’s search for his true, Jamaican father, on his own troubled early life as an “unfellowshipped” gay son of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Black Country. Eleanor and Paul were in conversation with Colin Midson, director of Bookshaped and artistic director of the Falmouth Book Festival. We apologise for the slight audio issues in this recording caused by technical problems at the live event.
Joff Winterhart

Joff Winterhart


Joff Winterhart was one of the first graphic novelists to find their work shortlisted for the Costa Novel prize. That was his debut, Days of the Bagnold Summer, a funny, beguiling portrayal of the profound failure in communication between a down-at-heel single mother and her painfully introverted, would-be rock god son. Singled out for high praise from Zadie Smith, his second novel, Driving Short Distances, portrays the hesitant, deeply repressed friendship that springs up between a slightly hopeless young chap and the mysterious man who hires him to drive him from unit to unit on industrial estates. It’s a horribly well observed study of masculinity, our need for father figures and all those inexplicable small businesses on the edge of town… Joff talked about these, his fascinating working methods and his novel-in-progress with novelist Patrick Gale at North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
Amanda Craig

Amanda Craig


One of England’s foremost novelists, Amanda Craig joins the artistic director of the upcoming Falmouth Book Festival, Colin Midson to talk about her latest work. The Golden Rule was not only picked as a book of the year 2020 in the Financial Times, The Sunday Times, the Daily Mail and The Observer but was also longlisted for the Woman’s Prize. A follow-up to Craig’s hugely popular The Lie of the Land, it’s a proper Cornish, female inversion of the plot of Strangers on a Train.
Two lively meditations on our relationship with the sea and shoreline which are also memoirs. As part of her postgraduate cultural anthropology masters, Lamorna Ash elected to return to her mother’s Cornish roots to embed herself in Newlyn’s fishing community. There she experienced first-hand the brutal lessons of life at sea and came to appreciate both the challenges facing an industry in peril and the privileges she had taken for granted. The result, Dark, Salt, Clear: Life in a Cornish Fishing Town has struck a chord with a forcibly isolated public and been Radio 4’s Book of the Week. Cornwall-based Lisa Woollett’s Rag and Bone celebrates the environmentally friendly pleasures of picking over what the waters throw up, from mudlarking on the Thames to beachcombing in the far west, while charting her family’s association with recycling what others throw out. The BBC’s Petroc Trelawny interviewed Lamorna and Lisa at North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
Louise Doughty

Louise Doughty


Louise Doughty is the author of five radio plays and nine novels, including the phenomenon that was Apple Tree Yard. Its television adaptation was viewed by seven million per episode and one anticipates the same is in store for her latest. Platform Seven is every bit as gripping. It starts as a whodunnit confined to the reaches of Peterborough Station and what the ghost of a recent suicide can see and hear, but then expands to become a thriller about coercive control, gaslighting and a touching meditation on mortality. Was it a suicide after all, or a kind of murder? Hear Louise in conversation with her old friend Patrick Gale at North Cornwall Book Festival 2021.
The seventh North Cornwall Book Festival concluded with this conversation between Windham-Campbell Prize-winning writer Tessa Hadley and Patrick Gale, recorded in St Endellion Church. The two discuss Tessa's newest novel, Late in the Day, the art of writing and the human psyche. A literary moment not to be missed. Oct 13 2019
Damien Lewis, the Sunday Times number one bestselling author and filmmaker, gives his North Cornwall audience a fascinating talk about SAS Italian Job, his latest book on crazily risky SAS operations in WW2. Oct 13 2019
Sophie Ratcliffe, academic, writer and literary critic, talks to Cathy Rentzenbrink about her unique and moving memoir, Lost Properties of Love. "It's sort of Brief Encounter, but with more sex, and Lego... and fish fingers."
Deborah Moggach, the author behind such hugely popular novels as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Ex-Wives and Tulip Fever, is interviewed here by writer Cathy Rentzenbink. Download to hear them chat about Deborah's latest book The Carer, as well as families, marriages and writing.
An unmissable conversation with Barbara Hosking and Petroc Trelawny. Hear how Barbara's extraordinary life has shaped the political landscape, the realities of being an ambitious young woman in the 1950s, how she came to terms with her sexuality and much more as they discuss her autobiography Exceeding My Brief: Memoirs of a Disobedient Civil Servant. Oct 13 2019
Patrick Gale interviews singer, songwriter and writer Tracey Thorn about adolescence and suburbia, as depicted in her memoir Another Planet. 12 Oct 2019.
Raynor Winn, bestselling writer of The Salt Path, discusses what it means to have a home, and the extraordinary journey of her life so far, with Lisa Cooper. Oct 12th 2019.
Bestselling writer John Boyne discusses his latest book for adults, A Ladder to the Sky, with broadcaster Petroc Trelawney. Oct 12th 2019. The audio quality of this recording is higher after the first few minutes.
Financial Times and Guardian journalist Adharanand Finn has combined his twin passions for travel writing and extreme running in his newest book, The Rise of the Ultra Runners. Here he talks to journalist and keen runner, Freddie Kimpton.
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