Proms 2022 LitFest

 

Books will be on sale after each event from our book-selling partner West End Lane Books.

Tickets for the live in person events at The Henrietta Barnett School can be purchased below. 

  • Each live event ticket is £10, unreserved. Under 25s can attend for £7.50 per live event.

  • All events will be viewable online from  2 July. Individual recorded events are £5 each.  

 

Offers:

  • Online Pass - An online pass is available to view all recorded events for £25, saving up to £20 if events purchased individually. 

  • Free Tea or Coffee and Cake - Buy tickets for 3 or more live in person LitFest events on Saturday or Sunday and get a free tea or coffee and cake in the LitFest Cafe. 

Jon Sopel
Simon Lewis

UnPresidented – Politics, Pandemics and the Race that Trumped all Others

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Reynaldo Rivera

25 Jun 2022

10:30

The Henrietta Barnett School
£10
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Jon Sopel

This is a diary of an election like no other...

Jon, then BBC North America editor, follows Donald Trump on the extraordinary 2020 US presidential campaign trail.


As the election heats up and a global pandemic sweeps in, challenging the very institutions of American politics, Jon shows us what really went on behind the scenes at every key moment and follows in detail the alarming march on the Capitol building.


Goodreads called the book “an intelligent and probing reflection on 21st-century America” and “a biting, funny and unique look into a bizarre election”.


Jon, who is leaving the BBC to join colleague Emily Maitlis in a new LBC podcast and radio show, is in conversation with Simon Lewis, director of communications at 10 Downing Street during Gordon Brown's time as Prime Minister.

Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.

Victoria Glendinning
Julia Somerville

Family Business

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25 Jun 2022

12:30

The Henrietta Barnett School
£10
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Victoria Glendinning

A warm and colourful look at the family behind the iconic John Lewis brand. Victoria tells of bitter battles between generations, the passionate drive to involve workers as business partners and how the high street has evolved since the original John Lewis began work as a 14-year-old.


Orphaned at seven and raised by an aunt, he worked as an apprentice to a draper, saving furiously to open his first small shop.


It's an inspiring tale and, with the future of the high street looking increasingly uncertain, Victoria's book explores what new direction John Lewis must take if it is to survive.


The biographer and novelist's previous works include books on Anthony Trollope, Vita Sackville West, Leonard Woolf, Jonathan Swift, Rebecca West and Edith Sitwell.


She is in conversation with TV news reader and reporter Julia Somerville, a presenter of BBC consumer programme Rip Off Britain and a former head of the advisory committee on the Government Art Collection. 

Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.

Francis Spufford
Claire Berliner

Light Perpetual

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Eamonn McCabe/Popperfoto

25 Jun 2022

14:00

The Henrietta Barnett School
£10
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Francis Spufford

In this powerful novel, Francis imagines the possible futures of five children killed in a wartime rocket attack on London. He lets them experience the unimaginable changes of the 20th century and live out their triumphs and disasters.


Ingenious and profound, critics have called it “full of warmth and beauty, “a story of the everyday, the miraculous and the everlasting” and “a sweeping and intimate celebration of the gift of life”.


Francis began his writing career producing non-fiction and quickly attracted great reviews and won awards. His 2010 book Red Plenty, about the Soviet Union in the 1960s, blended history and fiction and was translated into nine languages.


As well as teaching creative writing, Francis edits and writes essays. His wife is a canon at Ely Cathedral and Francis was a member of the Church of England General Synod until last year.


He is in conversation with Claire Berliner, writer, editor and Head of Programmes at The London Library.


Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.

Jeremy Farrar
Richard Pohle/The Times
Anjana Ahuja

Spike: The Virus v the People – the Inside Story

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Wellcome Images

25 Jun 2022

15:30

The Henrietta Barnett School
£10
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Jeremy Farrar & Anjana Ahuja

This widely acclaimed inside story of the Covid pandemic questions government claims that it “followed the science”. It reflects not only Jeremy’s views but also those of other leading scientists and political figures involved in the crisis.


Hugh Pym

As head of health research foundation the Wellcome Trust and an expert on infectious diseases, he was one of the first to hear about a mysterious new illness in China and to learn it could readily spread from animals to humans. Later he became a key figure on the SAGE emergency committee.


Jeremy, who will give his book royalties to charity, was a key figure in both the UK and the World Health Organization and at the heart of desperate efforts to control the virus.


Anjana Ahuja is the Financial Times science columnist and a freelance writer who has covered the pandemic extensively since its beginnings in January 2020.


They are in conversation with BBC Health Editor Hugh Pym who has been reporting on politics, economics and NHS finance for more than two decades. 

Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.

Colm Tóibín
Tim Pilston
Hermione Lee

Winner of The David Cohen Prize for Literature 2021

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Brigitte Lacombe

25 Jun 2022

17:30

Online Event Only
£5
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Colm Tóibín

Online interview by Hermione Lee


The David Cohen Memorial Event


The David Cohen Prize for Literature was awarded to Colm in December 2021 for his whole body of work. He has written ten novels – his latest The Magician, re-imagining the life of Thomas Mann, won the Rathbones Folio Prize 2022. His novel Brooklyn was adapted into an award-winning film starring Saoirse Ronan. He has just released his first book of poetry, Vinegar Hill.


His interviewer, Hermione Lee, who chairs the David Cohen Prize panel, says: “He's a Renaissance man who can do almost everything with equal brilliance. He’s a novelist, short-story writer, playwright, essayist, travel writer, critic, teacher, journalist and gay-rights activist”.


Hermione is a biographer, literary critic and academic. Her most recent book is Tom Stoppard – a Life.

Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.

Charlotte Mendelson
Bridget Galton

The Exhibitionist

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26 Jun 2022

10:30

The Henrietta Barnett School
£10
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Charlotte Mendelson

A family meet to mark their egotistical father’s new art exhibition after a gap of several decades. The artist believes this will finally establish his reputation. The gathering, however, unexpectedly becomes a catalyst for family turmoil, revelations and decisions.


A dazzling, hilarious, sad and sexy exploration of toxic marital and family dynamics, Charlotte’s newest novel explores art and vanity, stifled ambition and queer desire, sacrifice and freedom.


Novelist Sarah Waters calls the book “a devastating treat of a novel – funny, furious, dark and delicious”.


Author Daisy Buchanan writes: “It is simultaneously elegant and propulsive - every single sentence is arrestingly powerful. This book is beautiful but also funny, furious and wild in its rage”.


Charlotte’s earlier work earned much success. When We Were Bad was named book of the year by the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, New Statesman and Spectator.


She is in conversation with Ham & High features editor Bridget Galton.

Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.

Claudia Roden
Dan Saladino

Med - A Cookbook

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Stuart Simpson/Penquin

26 Jun 2022

12:30

The Henrietta Barnett School
£10
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Claudia Roden

Claudia Roden's delightful and beautifully illustrated new book conjures up the spell cast by the Mediterranean and its influence on her life-long love of cooking.


The Cairo-born and French-educated writer says: “The smell of garlic sizzling with crushed coriander takes me back to Egypt and the aroma of saffron and orange zest mingled with aniseed and garlic triggers memories of the Riviera”.


Like her earlier classic works, The Food of Italy, The Food of Spain and The Book of Jewish Food - a 25th anniversary special edition of which is now on sale - this new offering seamlessly blends culinary tales with recipes from a master of her craft.


Acclaimed chef Yotam Ottolenghi says: “To read Claudia is to sit at her table with everything simply as it should be. Pull up a chair for the food and stay at the table for the stories”.


Claudia is in conversation with writer, journalist and BBC Food Programme presenter Dan Saladino. His new book Eating to Extinction laments the steady loss of the world's rarest foods as the planet races headlong into the pit of homogenised, globalised fast food.

Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.

Steve Richards

The Prime Ministers We Never Had

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26 Jun 2022

14:00

The Henrietta Barnett School
£10
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Steve Richards

Was Harold Wilson a bigger figure than Denis Healey?  Would David Miliband have become Prime Minister if it were not for brother Ed? How close did Jeremy Corbyn come to Number 10?


Journalist and commentator Steve Richards looks at 11 Prime Ministers we never had. He sheds new light on some of the most compelling characters in public life, examining what made each special and why they failed to achieve the final leap.


Besides regularly presenting Radio 4's The Week in Westminster and writing for The Guardian, The Independent and The Financial Times, Steve is best known for his now almost-legendary monthly political one-man show, Rock 'n' Roll Politics.


Former Downing Street Chief of Staff Nick Timothy says of Steve's latest book: “This is another insightful and entertaining work from one of the brightest and best British writers and broadcasters”.


Broadcaster Andrew Marr observes: “He is one of the shrewdest political commentators we have and is unusual in that he actually seems to like politicians”.

Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.

Howard Jacobson
Georgina Godwin

Mother's Boy

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Keke Keukelaar

26 Jun 2022

15:30

The Henrietta Barnett School
£10
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Howard Jacobson

In a book infused with trademark humour and bittersweet memories, the award- winning novelist, commentator and broadcaster explores the exquisite dichotomy of being both English and Jewish, of belonging and not belonging, of being simultaneously an insider and outsider.


He takes us from the growing pains of childhood to studying at Cambridge before landing in Australia as a maverick young professor via a spell selling handbags from his father's market stall. The Sunday Times called it “brilliantly funny” and an “outstanding example of his comic outsider angst that he makes his own”.


Howard has written 16 novels and five works of non-fiction. He won the 2010 Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question. In 2000 he received the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for The Mighty Walzer, repeating his triumph in 2013 with Zoo Time.


He is in conversation with Georgina Godwin, books editor and presenter for internet radio station Monocle 24. Georgina is a regular host at UK festivals and one of the founders of the Harare International Festival, now Africa's largest arts event.

Ticket Options:

 

In Person Event - £10 - Ticket to attend the LitFest event at The Henrietta Barnett School. Public Sales open on 25 April.

 

View Event Recording - £5 - Ticket to view a recording of a single event. Recordings will be posted online on 2 July.

 

LitFest Pass - All Recordings - £25 -Ticket to view all 9 LitFest recordings to be posted online on 2 July, saving up to £20.