Author Tours

We have exciting news … The North Cornwall Book Festival Author Tours are coming to Launceston!

These events will take place at various locations around Cornwall, including St Endellion, Penzance and Falmouth. In Launceston, there will be four Author Tours beginning in May and ending in November.

All of the events will take place at the Eagle House Hotel and tickets will cost £8. Accompanied under 16s can attend for free.

Author Tour 1: Rachel Joyce on Miss Benson’s Beetle

20th May at 7:30 pm

The first Author Tour will be with author Rachel Joyce, who swept to household name status with the runaway success of her debut novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and its sister novel, The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy. Her latest book, Miss Benson’s Beetle, transported thousands during the early months of lockdown with the tropical voyage of its unlikely heroine, an unregarded schoolmistress, as she reconnects with her childhood passion for entomology.

It won Rachel the Wilbur Smith Prize for Adventure Writing and secured her reputation for being able to raise laughter and tears in a single paragraph. She will be in conversation with novelist and memoirist Cathy Rentzenbrink and has promised to give us a sneak preview of the third instalment of her Harold novels, in which she finally gives the side of his misunderstood wife, Maureen.

This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. Cornwall Council has been chosen by Government as a Lead Authority for the fund and is responsible for monitoring the progress of projects funded through the UK Community Renewal Fund in Cornwall

Author Tour 2: Seán Hewitt on All Down Darkness Wide

14th August at 7:30 pm

The second Author Tour will be with poet, literary critic and lecturer Seán Hewitt. He currently lectures in English literature at Trinity College Dublin and is a Book Critic for The Irish Times. He won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016, the Resurgence Prize in 2017, and an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. Tongues of Fire is his truly astonishing debut collection of poetry. In a formal departure for him, however thematically linked to the themes in his poems, All Down Darkness Wide is a prose memoir. When Seán meets Elias, the two fall headlong into a love story, but as Elias struggles with severe depression, the couple comes face-to-face with crisis. Wrestling with this, Seán Hewitt delves deep into his own history, enlisting the ghosts of queer figures and poets before him.

From a nineteenth-century cemetery in Liverpool to the pine forests of Gothenburg, he plumbs the darkness in search of solace and hope. All Down Darkness Wide is an unflinching meditation on the burden of living in a world that too often sets happiness and queer life at odds, and a tender portrayal of what it’s like to be caught in the undertow of a loved one’s suffering. By turns devastating and soaring, it is a mesmerising story of heartache and renewal, and a work of rare and transcendent beauty. Seán will be in conversation with the author Sophie Pierce.

Author Tour 3: Clare Chambers on Small Pleasures

11th September at 7:30 pm

Clare Chambers’ haunting yet funny novel Small Pleasures was a word of mouth fiction hit in 2020 before making the Woman’s Prize longlist. Set in a manicured 1950s south London suburb, not far from where Clare and her husband raised their family, it’s the tale of a woman who claims to have had a virgin birth, and of Jean Swinney, the local journalist who becomes obsessed by her story. Described by the Evening Standard as “gripping, tender and perfectly formed” it saw Clare likened to Austen, Pym and Larkin and was unsurprisingly raced through multiple reprints in hardback.

Jean, the protagonist, is “living quite a limited life. She’s a working woman, but it’s a job rather than a career, and she’s a bit of a dogsbody,” Clare says. In between filing women’s interest stories (housekeeping tips, mainly), she’s trapped caring for her belligerent, ageing mother. Every evening she has half an hour to herself to luxuriate in her favourite small pleasure: smoking two cigarettes by herself in the living room. The novel’s real theme, Clare says, is confinement. “It’s about that clash between duty and individual freedom – how much self-denial is an acceptable load for any person to bear?”

Clare will be in conversation with novelist Sophie Pierce.

Author Tour 4: Joanna Kavenna, Duncan Minshull and Irenosen Okojie on Where My Feet Fall

13th November at 7:30 pm

In Where My Feet Fall, editor and erstwhile radio story specialist, Duncan Minshull has commissioned a series of essays in which writers explore the part walking plays in their working lives and the rhythm of their days, whether in pursuit of health, inspiration or for research. Sadly we couldn’t bring the full incredible array of talent he has brought together to Cornwall but we have secured both Duncan and two wonderfully contrasting contributors. Recently awarded an MBE for services to literature, Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian-born short story and novel writer working in London. Her stories incorporate magic realism and also make use of her West African heritage.

Her first novel, Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask Award in 2016, and her story ‘Grace Jones’ won the 2020 Caine Prize for African Writing. Joanna Kavenna grew up in Britain, of Welsh heritage, and has also lived in the US, France, Germany, China, Sri Lanka, Scandinavia, Italy and the Baltic states. She is the author of several critically acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Ice Museum, Inglorious, Come to the Edge, A Field Guide to Reality and – most recently – Zed. Her novel Inglorious won the Orange Award for New Writing, and her novel The Birth of Love was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Irenosen and Joanna will be in conversation with Duncan Minshull.

We are very much looking forward to these events in Launceston! See the NCBF website for more information about Author Tours taking place at other locations in Cornwall.

In other exciting news, the North Cornwall Book Festival 2022 will run from 22nd to 25th September! Tickets for the festival will go on sale in July, but be sure to follow @NCornBookFest for updates.