Stroud Book Festival – Saturday

tony ross michael foreman

First World War Stories

Tony Ross and Michael Foreman

11.30 – 12.30 : Saturday 10th November

Tickets £5: Available from Stroud Subscription Rooms

We are thrilled to welcome two giants of children’s book illustration, Tony Ross and Michael Foreman, for this very special family event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

In conversation with journalist and children’s writer, Damian Kelleher, Tony & Michael will discuss their powerful new picture books both of which explore alternative perspectives on the Great War.

Tony’s “An Anty-War Story” tells the story of Douglas the soldier ant, to give us a powerful allegory about the optimism and vulnerability of ordinary people faced with the prospect of world war. Michael’s “Stubby: A True Story of Friendship” is inspired by the true story of Sergeant Stubby, a real dog who served during the First World War.

Suitable for ages 9+



Susan Fletcher and Kate Riordan

Houses of Intrigue

Susan Fletcher and Kate Riordan

Saturday 10th November, 13:30 – 14:30 

Tickets £8: Available from Stroud Subscription Rooms

From Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters to Daphne du Maurier, English country houses are the setting for works of fiction full of mystery and intrigue. The latest novels by contemporary authors, Susan Fletcher & Kate Riordan also feature period houses haunted by past events and long-concealed secrets.

Susan Fletcher won the 2004 Whitbread First Novel award for “Eve Green”. Her new novel, “House of Glass” is set in 1914 and tells of a young woman summoned to Shadowbrook, a large stone house in Gloucestershire in order to fill its greenhouse with exotic plants from Kew Gardens. But she soon finds herself drawn deep into its dark interior.

Set in Cornwall in 1940, Chalford author Kate Riordan’s novel “The Stranger” centres on Penhallow Hall, a house which has remained frozen in time, sheltering the secrets of its inhabitants. But with the outbreak of war, Penhallow must finally open its door to strangers. With their arrival, tensions mount, and dangerous secrets are forced out into the open.

Join Susan and Kate to hear more about the inspirations for the settings of their deeply absorbing novels.

Chaired by Jane Bailey.



bernardine patrick book

Refugee Tales

Bernardine Evaristo and Patrick Gale

Saturday 10th November, 15.30 – 17.00

Tickets £8: Available from Stroud Subscription Rooms

The refugees who arrive on our shores have extraordinary stories to tell of separation, of tragedy, of hardship, and of survival. Two remarkable anthologies called “Refugee Tales” record some of these true stories, in faithful retellings by acclaimed writers. Their publication is rooted in the work of the charity, Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (GDWG) which through a network of befrienders, supports people in immigration detention at Gatwick Airport.

We are honoured and delighted to bring two of the contributors to “Refugee Tales” – award-winning poet, novelist and dramatist, Bernardine Evaristo, and acclaimed novelist Patrick Gale – to Stroud Book Festival to share their retellings of individual refugee experiences. We also welcome Anna Pincus of GDWG and co-editor of “Refugee Tales” to introduce this amazing project.

Don’t miss this opportunity to bear witness to some of the most powerful and moving human stories you’ll ever hear, brilliantly read by our guest authors.



alice jolly sally baileyReading and Healing

Sally Bayley and Alice Jolly

Saturday 10th November, 18.00 – 19.00

Tickets £8: Available from Stroud Subscription Rooms

Can reading, narrative, and immersing ourselves in the stories of others help us to navigate difficult times? We hear from two acclaimed writers, both also tutors at Oxford University who believe that it can.

In her memoir, “Girl With Dove”, Sally Bayley, who put herself into care aged 14, gives us a memorable portrait of herself as a young girl as she uses the characters in the books she loves to understand and survive her childhood world of confusion, fear, and neglect.

“Mary Anne Sate, Imbecile” is the latest novel from Stroud writer Alice Jolly, in which she recreates the voice of a young female mill worker in the Stroud Valleys of the 1830s, whose patient application to learning her letters transforms her view of the world.

In conversation with Stroud Book Festival Artistic Director, Caroline Sanderson, Sally and Alice will discuss how we can all gain insight, resilience and healing through patient attention to the written word.



patrick gale jane bailey

The Family in Fiction

Patrick Gale and Jane Bailey

Saturday 10th November, 20:00 – 21:15

Tickets £10: Available from Stroud Subscription Rooms

Acclaimed novelists, Patrick Gale and Jane Bailey tell us how they go about portraying all the agonies, ecstasies and monotonies of family life with great truth and resonance in their fiction.

Patrick Gale is the bestselling author of nineteen novels, the latest of which, “Take Nothing With You” tells the story of fifty-something Eustace who is receiving treatment for thyroid cancer. In hospital he looks back in a rondo of memories from his life as a gay man; from his self-sufficient only childhood in the Weston-Super-Mare old people’s home run by his parents, and his devotion to playing the cello, to his love affairs and friendships, and what falling in love for the third time might mean for his future.

Cheltenham writer, Jane Bailey is the author of six novels. The latest, “Lark Song” begins with the chance meeting of divorcé Duncan, and Freya, a widowed mother of three children, all at tender stages of childhood and adolescence. New love, and a second chance of happiness begin to seem possible for both of them. But secrets which afflict Freya’s family, some more sinister than others threaten to destroy their relationship before it has a chance to flourish.

Chaired by novelist, Rachel Joyce (no mean chronicler of family life herself!).

(Ticket holders will receive £3 off any purchase of “Take Nothing With You” at the event)