“What can independent bookshops offer that Amazon cannot?”

That’s the question a book lover posed to me recently and it made me stop and think.

Facebook-Twitter_Icon-Books_400x400I know that many of you reading this article already support the many independent shops across the area, including the fantastic independent bookshops, and that you also understand the huge impact that online retailers have had on “High Street UK.” From, my perspective, on balance, the impact has been a negative one. Yes we may pay less for our some of our purchases but the landscape of High Street UK has changed, it has shrunk, it has less variety, and this has happened in less than a generation.

But, back to the question, and to answer it in terms of what can Dulwich Books offer you that the likes of Amazon cannot. I’ve tussled with this and concluded that bringing authors to where you are is a key part of the answer. And that is why that in addition to the regular programme of author events throughout the year, I have set up the Dulwich Literary Festival to offer a multiplicity of author and literary events over three days in October. And not just any author who can be bothered to attend but people you will recognise writing, and talking, about things you want to hear.

As the opener to the festival on Friday 16th we welcome Vince Cable, fresh from his experience in the coalition government, who will share with you his thoughts about Britain’s economic future.

secrets-of-the-wild-wood-jacket-image-finalThe Saturday morning and evening sessions are devoted to the under 12s. In the morning those who would like to learn how to draw cartoon characters of monster or garden gritters, can join in the ….. In the evening we have a magical storytelling event, amongst the trees in Dulwich College, as Jo Clayton will read from Into The Wild Woods, the latest tale from Tonge Dragt.

The Saturday lunchtime slot is a celebration of Ernest Shackleton with Michael Smith who was described by The Observer as “the best Shackleton biographer”. We’ll recover from these adventurers with Afternoon Tea with Prue Leith who will share with you how she has combined her two loves: food and writing.

In partnership with the Royal Society we are hosting a discussion with David Adams, author of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop and Adam Rutherford on Saturday evening 17th October at 7pm. This event is already proving popular and David is an amazing speaker. Click here to see what the New York Times thought of his book.

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Helen Lederer

We kick off on Sunday morning with local resident and BBC newsreader Huw Edwards. I want to write here, “the lovely Huw” because that’s what customers call him when booking tickets for this event, just don’t tell him that.  Huw is going to share with us his thoughts on Religion, London and the BBC, and he might mention the rugby. Straight afterwards sees a discussion on the hot topic of the moment, should Britain stay or leave the EU. Denis MacShane, former Europe minster will share with you his thoughts on the subject.

We turn to historical fiction and Kate Mosse at 3.30pm as she chats with Emma Darwin about her writing. If that’s not enough we then welcome Melvyn Bragg who will share with you his thoughts on The Peasant’s Revolt of 1381.

We close the festival with wine and comedy with Helen Lederer who will entertain us all brilliantly.

My aim is to make the festival a huge success for all involved, we have had wonderful support from the team at Dulwich College, as well as SE magazines and ED PR and with everyone’s support we’ll make it a fixture in our community for many years to come.

You’ll not get Amazon doing that.

Full details of all the events can be found at www.dulwichliteraryfestival.co.uk and with more events to be added do keep checking for information.

Tickets can be booked online, via email: dulwichbooks@yahoo.co.uk, via telephone: 020 8670 1920 or pop into Dulwich Books on Croxted Road SE21 8SW


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