NORTH CORNWALL BOOK FESTIVAL AT HOME

This would normally be our What’s On page, however the pandemic has obliged us to postpone our 2020 festival to the autumn of 2021. In its place we wanted to offer you something you wouldn’t get in any festival marquee. Therefore we proudly present North Cornwall Book Festival At Home, a series of short films in which we’re granted glimpses of authors in their natural habitat, lockdown hair and all, talking about what they’re writing, how the pandemic has affected them and sometimes reading from their latest books. We’ll be adding films each Friday at 5pm as the summer and autumn progress. Most of the authors featured will be appearing at our 2021 festival, when we can meet again and pretend the intervening year never happened.

We want these to be enjoyed as widely as possible, so if there’s one that especially delights you please feel free to share it on social media.

NCBF AT SCHOOL

To browse NCBF At School, our array of films specifically for children, families and schools,  please click here.

Ella Berthoud

Ella Berthoud is a fixture of the English literary scene not quite like anyone else. First and foremost she is a hugely well read bibliotherapist renowned for humanely and wittily helping readers who have perhaps lost their way in their reading or who need a “prescription” in the shape of the perfect book to help with a problem in their life. Her practice has led to several books, most recently The Art of Mindful Reading but also the bibliotherapy manuals she has co-authored with her friend Susan Elderkin, The Novel Cure, The Short Story Cure and (for parents and children) The Story Cure. But Ella is also an artist currently engaged on painting a sequence of portraits of authors whose work she admires, and these we’ll be exhibiting at the next North Cornwall Book Festival on September 23-26 2021. To find out more about Ella and her work, which this films beguiling glimpse of her is sure to make you want to do, just visit http://ellaberthoud-paintings.squarespace.com/.

Credits: Editing by Dan Hall (https://www.pupmc.co.uk). Music: Miner Jolly by The Rowan Tree (http://therowantreemusic.com)

Mary J Oliver

Newlyn-based artist and poet Mary J Oliver’s memoir of her father’s curious, stormy life is a hybrid of prose, poetry, fiction and history, photography and found documents. In this short film she reads from that book, Jim Neat – The Case of a Young Man Down on his Luck but also gives us a glimpse of her life as an inventive and collaborative artist in the country’s wild far west. You can find out more about Mary on her website https://www.jimneat.com.

Credits: Editing – Giselle Hyam, Music – Aran Boat/Ker Syllan by The Rowan Tree (www.therowantreemusic.com)

Anna Pavord

Legendary garden writer, Anna Pavord, who ensured nobody would take tulips for granted ever again, has produced a fascinating, witty and luminous book in Landskipping. This maps the history of the English relationship with landscapes against the development of their portrayal in art and literature. Repeatedly the text homes back in on the numerous signs of man’s interference in the landscape surrounding her own house and garden in Dorset, and its her reading of one such passage that forms this short, and deeply restful film.

Robert Crowther

Have you ever wondered how pop-up books are made and who designs them? The answer is an illustrator who is also a paper engineer. North Cornwall Book Festival caught up with a distinguished example of this rare breed, the delightfully eccentric Robert Crowther, fresh from his creation of a beautiful pop-up book for adults and children alike: Pop-up Cornwall. Robert’s children have really benefited from the overspill of his creativity during their lockdown on the edge of Bodmin Moor. You can find out more about his career and fascinating process by clicking here.

Credits: Editing – Dan Hall www.mcpup.co.uk Music – The Fanfare by Tom Hickox www.tomhickoxmusic.com.

Louise Doughty

Louise Doughty’s particular brand of thoughtful, feminist-inflected psychological thriller had already won her many fans in the literary fiction market, as had her hugely popular column on how to write a novel in a year, by the time the televisation of her Apple Tree Yard saw her work reach millions. When we made this film with her earlier this year to talk about her latest, Platform Seven, which spookily blends ghost story with a terrifying fable of coercive control, she had put herself back to school to learn the very different craft of screenwriting. You can find out more about Louise and her work on her website: https://www.louisedoughty.com.

Credits: Editor – Dan Hall https://pupmc.co.uk. Music: Picture a Place by Helen Porter https://www.helenportermusic.co.uk

Lisa Woollett

Cornwall based photographer, Lisa Woollett is an inveterate beachcomber and mudlarker. Her entrancing memoir, Rag and Bone, shows how this sets her firmly in a family tradition of scavenging and recycling and will ensure that you will never again cross a beach or expanse of estuary mud without constantly looking down! You can find out more about Lisa’s work on her website www.photographsofthesea.com.

Credits: Editing by Giselle Hyam. Music – Aran Boat by The Rowan Tree www.therowantreemusic.com

Philip Marsden

Polymath, traveller and sailor Philip Marsden sails from his Cornish home on the upper Fal to the far distant Summer Isles in his latest book, mapping out not only his voyage but those of his intrepid predecessors and the extraordinary edge-of-the-known-world mythology that has grown up around these often tiny outposts of humanity. The journey depicted is not only a physical one with its multiple physical and practical challenges but an emotional one in search of a beloved influence from the Scottish holidays of his boyhood. In his film for us he not only reads from The Summer Isles but depicts his lockdown (much tree planting) and tries to pinpoint just what makes Cornwall so special.

Find out more about Philip and his books on www.philipmarsden.co.uk.
Editing: Giselle Hyam. Music: Smoking Chimneys by The Rowan Tree www.therowantreemusic.com.

Sophie Ward

Actor Sophie Ward has delivered a truly mind-bending first novel, Love and Other Thought Experiments, which has been justly longlisted for this year’s Booker Prize. Rooted in the touching story of a female couple embarking on motherhood but also facing the challenge of brain cancer, it playfully uses long established philosophical fables to stretch her human material this way and that, to explore different interpretations of reality and, indeed, the limits of love, memory and endeavour. In her film Sophie gives us glimpses of her home life, relates writing fiction to a long career of having to imagine alternative realities as a performer, and talks about this extraordinary novel’s genesis and her lifelong love of Cornwall.

Credits: Edited Dan Hall. Music: Aran Boat/Ker Syllan by The Rowan Tree. www.therowantreemusic.com.

Paul Mendez

Debut novelist Paul Mendez has scored an instant hit with Rainbow Milk. It tells two wildly contrasting stories which seem to have no connection at first: how a young Jamaican couple come to sail to the UK on the Windrush to make a new home in the Black Country and, in the present day, how a young gay man of Jamaican heritage is “disfellowshipped” by his Jehovah’s Witness congregation and family and loses then finds himself in London. Paul talks engagingly about the book, about how its publishing coincided with the great wave of Black Lives Matter marches and of his hopes for a bright new future for black voices in UK writing. He also talks about an early passion for Cornwall! (We just knew he was a good choice for the festival.)

Credits: Edited Dan Hall. Music: Love Birds on a Train by Helen Porter www.helenportermusic.com

Petroc Trelawny

When the BBC Radio 3 presenter chaired two memorable events for the North Cornwall Book Festival in 2019 it was a delightful surprise to learn he was writing a memoir about trains and his Cornish boyhood. Here he takes us on his bike ride to the studio, talks about lockdown and gives us a sneak preview of that memoir.

Editor: Giselle Hyam
Music: Chance to Cheat by Barb Jungr & Michael Parker (www.barbjungr.co.uk).

Jillian Edelstein

Photographer Jillian Edelstein must be one of the most distinguished of her tribe ever to work at a book festival. Highly sought after by magazines for her glossily revealing portraits, several of which are now in the National Portrait Gallery collection, she has also always pursued a parallel career of more gritty work, notably recording the Truth and Reconciliation process in her native South Africa, which became her book Truth and Lies, and documenting the lives of the poor and the disenfranchised. She has an ongoing project Affinities, in which she celebrates soulmates in the arts and current affairs, and she is writing a memoir about tracking down the story of her fascinating Great Aunt Millie, from which she gives a reading in this film. Jillian took spontaneous portraits of the authors at the 2019 North Cornwall Book Festival and will be exhibiting her work at the 2021 one. You can find out more about her at www.jillianedelstein.co.uk.

Credits: Editing is by Dan Hall (www.pupmc.co.uk) and music is an instrumental version of Picture a Place by Helen Porter (www.helenportermusic.co.uk).

Joff Winterhart

Joff Winterhart’s funny-sad graphic novel, Days of the Bagnold Summer, was shortlisted (against Hilary Mantel!) for the 2012 Costa Novel of the Year prize and has gone on to win him countless extra fans since being faithfully adapted for the cinema by Lisa Owens and director Simon Bird. His follow-up novel, Driving Short Distances, is a devastating portrayal of a particularly hopeless brand of masculinity and delivers a similar mixture of laughter and embarrassed recognition. This short film for North Cornwall Book Festival is glimpse of him and his working life mid-lockdown as he works on a third novel. You can watch the trailer for the film of Days of the Bagnold Summer here.

Credits – Editing by Dan Hall (www.pupmc.co.uk), Drumming by Joff Winterhart.

Emma Bache

Emma Bache (rhymes with aitch) has made a fascinating, thirty year career from the study and teaching of graphology but also become a sought-after after dinner speaker on the subject because it has thrown up so many good stories. She reveals much of her hard-won knowledge, and much sound good advice, in her book Reading Between The Lines. Her film for North Cornwall Book Festival sees her give us a peek at her life during lockdown and a tantalising glimpse of what she can learn from a snatch of handwriting. In fact we set her loose on a page from our artistic director, Patrick Gale’s novel-in-progress. (Spoiler alert: not a psychopath, unless he’s one who has studied Emma’s book!) To find out more about Emma and her work visit www.emmabache.com.

Credits: Editing – Dan Hall (www.pupmc.co.uk) Music – Dark Star by Helen Porter (www.helenportermusic.com)

Rosanne Hodin

North Cornwall Book Festival has always had a commitment to supporting local writers as well as inviting in big names from further afield, and you can’t get more local, or charming, than Rosanne Hodin. Just as lockdown hit back in the spring, Rosanne published Raising Goats and Girls, a sweet and funny memoir of how, after “an orderly childhood and misspent youth” she took the madcap decision to relocate her then young family to a Cornish smallholding. Despite the frustration of seeing a book tour cancelled, the book is fast winning admirers across the country and has been described as a very English cross between The Good Life and My Family and Other Animals…

Credits: Editor – Giselle Hyam. Music – Miner Jolly by The Rowan Tree (https://www.therowantreemusic.com)

Eleanor Anstruther

Eleanor Anstruther, descendant of the Dukes of Argyll, gave a new meaning to airing dirty linen with her debut novel, A Perfect Explanation. It’s a fictionalised account of how her father came to be sold to her great aunt Joan for £500. This grim, sometimes funny tale of motherhood and inheritance in a faintly terrifying clan where “heritage dictates and heritage always wins” has been flying off the shelves ever since and, unsurprisingly, was shortlisted for the 2019 Desmond Elliott Prize for best first novel. In her film Eleanor talks about life in lockdown, about the challenge of turning loved ones into fiction while retaining their love and about what comes next. You can find out more about her and her work at eleanoranstruther.com.

Credits: Edited by Giselle Hyam. Music: Aran Boat by The Rowan Tree rowantreemusic.com.

Edward Parnell

It was no surprise to see Edward Parnell’s Ghostland shortlisted for this year’s PEN Acklerley Award for best memoir but, like H Is for Hawk or The Last Act of Love, it is so much more than a memoir! Revisiting the scenes of a fenland boyhood overshadowed by tragedy but also quickened by a love of nature, Edward also explores the haunted landscapes associated with a succession of peculiarly uncanny English novels. In his film for us he talks about the genesis of Ghostland and reads a passage about Dark Water, his favourite of the sinister public information films of his youth. You can find out more about Edward’s work on his website: www.edwardparnell.com.

Credits: Editing by Dan Hall (https://pupmc.co.uk). Music: Neidges Awarra by The Rowan Tree (www.therowantreemusic.com)

Kate Werran

Historian Kate Werran lays bare a hushed-up ugly incident in Allied relations during WW2 when friction between black and white GIs stationed in the Cornish town of Launceston flared up into an armed uprising which led to a hasty court martial, lingering resentment and sharply divided loyalties. Here she talks about, and reads from, her book An American Uprising, and describes her lifelong attachment to Cornwall. You can find out more about Kate at www.katewerran.com.

Credits: Editing – Dan Hall of Pup Media https://pupmc.co.uk. Music – The Lisbon Maru (instrumental) by Tom Hickox www.tomhickoxmusic.com.

Amanda Craig

Amanda Craig’s funny-ouch fiction has drilled down into the tensions and ambiguities around second home ownership and incomerdom, and she knows whereof she writes. Soon after the triumphant publication of her latest, The Golden Rule, which begins as a Cornwall-based female retelling of Strangers on a Train, she speaks to us about lockdown in her North Devon hideaway, her deep love of Cornwall and her concern for its rural communities in the wake of Brexit. Find out more at www.amandacraig.com.

Editor: Giselle Hyam
Music: Miner Jolly by The Rowan Tree (www.therowantreemusic.com).

Rachel Joyce

This film focuses on novelist, actor and dramatist Rachel Joyce who talks from her shepherd’s hut in Gloucestershire about her latest novel, Miss Benson’s Beetle, what led her to write a proper adventure story about women and the strange experience of seeing a novel published during a global lockdown.

Credits:
Editor: Giselle Hyam
Music: Smoking Chimney by The Rowan Tree (https://www.therowantreemusic.com).

Patrick Gale

The festival’s artistic director introduces the series by walking us to the Richard and Judy shed to talk about his novel-in-progress: an evocation of Charles Causley and his mother. You can find out more about Patrick on his website www.galewarning.org.

Editor: Giselle Hyam
Music: Chance to Cheat by Barb Jungr & Michael Parker (www.barbjungr.co.uk)

Rosanne Hodin

North Cornwall Book Festival has always had a commitment to supporting local writers as well as inviting in big names from further afield, and you can’t get more local, or charming, than Rosanne Hodin. Just as lockdown hit back in the spring, Rosanne published Raising Goats and Girls, a sweet and funny memoir of how, after “an orderly childhood and misspent youth” she took the madcap decision to relocate her then young family to a Cornish smallholding. Despite the frustration of seeing a book tour cancelled, the book is fast winning admirers across the country and has been described as a very English cross between The Good Life and My Family and Other Animals…

Credits: Editor – Giselle Hyam. Music – Miner Jolly by The Rowan Tree (https://www.therowantreemusic.com)

Rosanne Hodin

North Cornwall Book Festival has always had a commitment to supporting local writers as well as inviting in big names from further afield, and you can’t get more local, or charming, than Rosanne Hodin. Just as lockdown hit back in the spring, Rosanne published Raising Goats and Girls, a sweet and funny memoir of how, after “an orderly childhood and misspent youth” she took the madcap decision to relocate her then young family to a Cornish smallholding. Despite the frustration of seeing a book tour cancelled, the book is fast winning admirers across the country and has been described as a very English cross between The Good Life and My Family and Other Animals…

Credits: Editor – Giselle Hyam. Music – Miner Jolly by The Rowan Tree (https://www.therowantreemusic.com)

Eleanor Anstruther

Eleanor Anstruther, descendant of the Dukes of Argyll, gave a new meaning to airing dirty linen with her debut novel, A Perfect Explanation. It’s a fictionalised account of how her father came to be sold to her great aunt Joan for £500. This grim, sometimes funny tale of motherhood and inheritance in a faintly terrifying clan where “heritage dictates and heritage always wins” has been flying off the shelves ever since and, unsurprisingly, was shortlisted for the 2019 Desmond Elliott Prize for best first novel. In her film Eleanor talks about life in lockdown, about the challenge of turning loved ones into fiction while retaining their love and about what comes next. You can find out more about her and her work at eleanoranstruther.com.

Credits: Edited by Giselle Hyam. Music: Aran Boat by The Rowan Tree rowantreemusic.com.

Edward Parnell

It was no surprise to see Edward Parnell’s Ghostland shortlisted for this year’s PEN Acklerley Award for best memoir but, like H Is for Hawk or The Last Act of Love, it is so much more than a memoir! Revisiting the scenes of a fenland boyhood overshadowed by tragedy but also quickened by a love of nature, Edward also explores the haunted landscapes associated with a succession of peculiarly uncanny English novels. In his film for us he talks about the genesis of Ghostland and reads a passage about Dark Water, his favourite of the sinister public information films of his youth. You can find out more about Edward’s work on his website: www.edwardparnell.com.

Credits: Editing by Dan Hall (https://pupmc.co.uk). Music: Neidges Awarra by The Rowan Tree (www.therowantreemusic.com)

Kate Werran

Historian Kate Werran lays bare a hushed-up ugly incident in Allied relations during WW2 when friction between black and white GIs stationed in the Cornish town of Launceston flared up into an armed uprising which led to a hasty court martial, lingering resentment and sharply divided loyalties. Here she talks about, and reads from, her book An American Uprising, and describes her lifelong attachment to Cornwall. You can find out more about Kate at www.katewerran.com.

Credits: Editing – Dan Hall of Pup Media https://pupmc.co.uk. Music – The Lisbon Maru (instrumental) by Tom Hickox www.tomhickoxmusic.com.

Amanda Craig

Amanda Craig’s funny-ouch fiction has drilled down into the tensions and ambiguities around second home ownership and incomerdom, and she knows whereof she writes. Soon after the triumphant publication of her latest, The Golden Rule, which begins as a Cornwall-based female retelling of Strangers on a Train, she speaks to us about lockdown in her North Devon hideaway, her deep love of Cornwall and her concern for its rural communities in the wake of Brexit. Find out more at www.amandacraig.com.

Editor: Giselle Hyam
Music: Miner Jolly by The Rowan Tree (www.therowantreemusic.com).

Rachel Joyce

This film focuses on novelist, actor and dramatist Rachel Joyce who talks from her shepherd’s hut in Gloucestershire about her latest novel, Miss Benson’s Beetle, what led her to write a proper adventure story about women and the strange experience of seeing a novel published during a global lockdown.

Credits:
Editor: Giselle Hyam
Music: Smoking Chimney by The Rowan Tree (https://www.therowantreemusic.com).

Patrick Gale

The festival’s artistic director introduces the series by walking us to the Richard and Judy shed to talk about his novel-in-progress: an evocation of Charles Causley and his mother. You can find out more about Patrick on his website www.galewarning.org.

Editor: Giselle Hyam
Music: Chance to Cheat by Barb Jungr & Michael Parker (www.barbjungr.co.uk)

This film series was made possible by grants from Arts Council England’s Emergency Fund and from FEAST. The editors are Giselle Hyam and Dan Hall and the credits were designed and animated by Matilda McMorrow. We’re also indebted to the following musicians associated with the festival for letting us use tracks of theirs on the films. Just click on their names to visit their websites and learn more: The Rowan Tree, Barb JungrTom HickoxHelen Porter.