Back in the Spring Dulwich Books held its inaugural Dulwich Books Festival – such was the success of those events that the bookshop will be hosting a Summer Book Festival to celebrate Independent Booksellers’ Week 2012.
A week of free and paid events held in and around Dulwich Books (SE21 8SW), many of which take London as their theme during this high-profile time for the city: what effects will the Olympics have on Stratford, asks Iain Sinclair? Who are the new generation of London and British poets? And, most importantly, how can you grow vegetables in a window box?
On Thursday 5 July, Iain Sinclair will be discussing his new book Ghost Milk, a journey investigating and, at times, castigating the so-called ‘grand project’ of the 2012 Olympics. Sinclair’s inimitable style has the unique ability to ask penetrating questions about contemporary life whilst exercising the poetics of a soul steeped in the love of great writers and thinkers from Blake to Kerouac, and beyond.
Iain Sinclair has been one of the writers most engaged with London over recent decades, treading its streets and, along with Will Self, re-introducing the discipline of psychogeography as a way of personalizing the civilian’s relation with urban life.
In a similarly transgressive though more light-hearted vein, on Monday 2 July, legendary London-based comedian and de-bunker of complex hypocrisies Mark Thomas will be in the bookshop to read from and discuss his new book Extreme Rambling, a humorous account of walking the Israeli Barrier, where he was ‘tear-gassed, stoned, sunburned, rained on…And all without hardly ever getting arrested!’ Mark Thomas has been revealing the horrors, absurdities and humour in contemporary life for more than twenty years.
Building on the work Dulwich Books has been doing with poetry presses and independent publishers – not least the Indie Presses Series from this February – on Tuesday 3 July, Dulwich Books will welcome respected poetry press Salt Publishing. Salt’s 2011 anthologies Best British Poetry and Book of Younger Poets collectively provided a window onto the UK poetry scene’s current strength in depth. The evening will present some new and vibrant voices introduced by poet Roddy Lumsden, who will be reading alongside Mark Waldron, Emily Hasler, Harriet Moore and Kate Miller.
On Wednesday 4 July, Penelope Bennett, author of Window Box Allotment, will be talking about and demonstrating ideas from her newly-expanded and illustrated book on how the urban gardener can squeeze the most out of little space. Afterwards there will be a Gardeners’ Question Time session, with Penelope answering audience questions. This event will take place at Alleyn Park Garden Centre (next door to Dulwich Books – SE21 8ES).
As well as the evening festivities above, there’ll be a number of more informal events taking place in Dulwich Books during opening hours. At 11.30am on 30 June, Miss Hope of the iconic Hope and Greenwood sweetshops will be in-store signing copies and sharing samples from her new book Miss Hope’s Teatime Treats. There will be a raffle on the day to win a hamper from Dulwich Books and Hope and Greenwood.
To round out the festival, at 3pm on Saturday 7 July, Christopher Brown will be in the shop presenting An Alphabet of London, a series of wonderfully whimsical linocuts illustrating London past and present, including its personalities, buildings, monuments, legends, historic events, and other metropolitan icons. From Dickens, Dr Johnson, Tower Bridge, and The Shard to the Diamond Jubilee, Wimbledon, pigeons and jellied eels, all London life is here. Christopher will demonstrate his methods by working on an illustration of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
And don’t forget: Saturday 7 July at 11.00am, as with every Saturday, our specialist children’s bookseller will be hosting Storytime – around half an hour of stories for children under seven, as well as a range of fun activities. There is also another Storytime every Thursday at 11.00am; a mid-week story telling session for the under-fives.
Iain Sinclair, Mark Thomas and Penelope Bennett all cost £10; the other events are free! Events all start at 7.30pm apart from those taking place during the day, the start times of which are specified.