Rolling Stone to Return to Ealing for Book Festival

Bill Wyman features on programme for this year's inaugural event

Bill Wyman with the cover of his book on his childhood wartime experiences

February 21, 2024

The first Ealing Book Festival will see a return to Ealing for Bill Wyman.

In the formative months of the Rolling Stones, they were regular visitors to the Ealing Club, located opposite Ealing Broadway station with bass guitarist Wyman joining in December 1962. The band members, having initially come to hear other musicians, eventually had a regular Saturday night slot at the basement venue playing their second ever live gig there.

Wyman will be giving a talk at the festival on 13 April in which he will discuss the early days of the band as well as his book in which he recounts his experiences growing up in London during World War II.

Other big names already signed up for the inaugural festival include John Boyne, renowned for his critically acclaimed novels, including the international bestseller The Heart’s Invisible Furies, who will be talking about his new book Earth and former children’s laureate Lauren Child introduces her latest story in the Clarice Bean series. The Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton will discuss her new book Birnam Wood and Sathnam Sanghera, author and journalist whose award-winning works include Empireland and The Boy with the Topknot will talk about his latest book. Another former children’s laureate, Dame Jacqueline Wilson will tell you about her new book The Girl Who Wasn’t There and award-winning historian Kathryn Hughes who, in Catland, unravels the history of how Victorian and Edwardian Britain fell in love with cats is also appearing.

In See What You’re Missing and ‘Out of Sri Lanka’, poet Seni Seneviratne brings to life the long neglected national literature of the island’s turbulent history and ‘Why Spies?’ combines leading writers Charlotte Philby (granddaughter of Kim Philby), Charles Cumming and Alex Gerlis on a panel to discuss why espionage fiction remains so popular and compelling.

There are also plenty of non-fiction authors including political commentator Daniel Finkelstein who shares the experiences of his parents during the Second World War with leading historian Roger Moorhouse who tells the story of The Forgers. Broadcaster and Director of the Soane Museum, Will Gompertz journeys into the minds of great artists for his new book .

The festival programme will also include a new Ealing walking tour which will offer insights into the history of Ealing as a source of literary and cultural inspiration, taking in icons such as Agatha Christie and the author of the Billy Bunter series, as well as highlights from the world of film, rock music and opera plus a children’s poetry competition on the theme of ‘Where do I Live?’ which invites young writers to get creative and offers an opportunity to win prizes and have work shown at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery. Details to enter here.

Catherine Jaquiss, Chair, Ealing Book Festival, said, “We are delighted to be able to offer such an exciting programme for the inaugural Ealing Book Festival. The response from everyone has been remarkable and we are working hard to ensure an inspiring and diverse experience for book enthusiasts and cultural lovers alike which reflects our vibrant and diverse borough. On behalf of all those involved we would like to thank Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, our founder sponsor Savills, Ealing Council Small Grants, the Freshwater Foundation, St Benedict’s School, the University of West London, and our other event partners, advisers and volunteers.”

The festival which hopes to celebrate and promote the joy of reading and art of writing, will take place between Thursday 11 and Sunday 14 April 2024 at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on the Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery web site.

For more information and further updates about Ealing Book Festival, to volunteer or to get in touch about sponsorship opportunities, visit:

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