Over 1,300 Attend First Ever Ealing Book Festival

Four day event exceeds organisers' expectations

Clare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery in conversation with Will GompertzClare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery in conversation with Will Gompertz

April 23, 2024

The organisers of the inaugural Ealing Book Festival are describing the event as an ‘unequivocal success’ after 1,300 visitors attended over four days.

They came to see talks with internationally-renowned authors including Sathnam Sanghera and John Boyne; Booker Prize-winner Eleanor Catton; and former children’s laureates Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Lauren Child. The Festival programme also included writing and poetry workshops; poetry recitals; walking tours; a local authors showcase; and a competition for young poets at the Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery in central Ealing. The only significant disappointment was the late withdrawal of Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones who was to talk about hi new book about his childhood.

The programme kicked off on Thursday 11 April with a look at how great artists see the world in a conversation between Clare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, and former BBC journalist and director of the Soane Museum Will Gompertz. The four-day literary celebration concluded on Sunday 14 April when Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music fame played out the Festival on his electric guitar.

In addition, the programme of 20 events - many of which sold out in advance - encompassed discussions with authors including Kathryn Hughes, Roger Moorhouse, Charlotte Philly, Alex Gerlis, Marina Cantacuzino and poet Seni Seneviratne; a creative poetry workshop with local artist Narvir Singh; a local authors showcase attended by 18 published authors and led by literature champion and Capital Xtra DJ Jojo Silva; readings by local poets James Pendle and Lisa Kelly; a workshop on how to get published with Anne Marie Ryan from Hachette and Amelia Fairney from Penguin; and the awards ceremony for the Festival’s Young Poets Competition attended by the 24 shortlisted poets and the Mayor of Ealing.

2024 Ealing Book Festival poetry competition prize winners and judges outside Pitzhanger Manor
2024 Ealing Book Festival poetry competition prize winners and judges outside Pitzhanger Manor

John Boyne, whose most recent novel is Earth, said, “I had a great time and was delighted by the turnout. I’m looking forward to next time.”

Jacqueline Wilson, who participated in the Festival to talk about her new book The Girl Who Wasn’t There, commented, “Lovely event, lovely audience, lovely venue.”

Catherine Jaquiss, Chair, Ealing Book Festival, shared her thoughts, saying, “The response to the very first Ealing Book Festival from the local community exceeded all of our expectations. Pulling it together has been a huge team effort, be it from our dedicated organising team and local volunteers who helped us over the Festival weekend; the team at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, which provided such a beautiful venue for our events; and our other partners and sponsors whose support has been so invaluable. We are proud to have brought together such a wide range of authors, readers, and cultural enthusiasts from West London and beyond to celebrate the written word in all its forms. Now we’ve established Ealing on the literary map we look forward to building on this year’s success when the Festival returns in 2025.”

Local Authors Showcase participants at the 2024 Ealing Book Festival
Local Authors Showcase participants at the 2024 Ealing Book Festival

Clare Gough, Director, Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, added, “ All of us at Pitzhanger were delighted to play our part in making the 2024 Festival an unequivocal success. Witnessing the convergence of literature enthusiasts, authors and our staff and volunteers during this extraordinary event was a true testament to the power of storytelling and community. Our mission at Pitzhanger is to make it a hub of inspiration, dialogue, and imagination - building on the legacy of architect Sir John Soane - and it was a joy to see West London’s book-loving community come together over the four days of the Festival to forge new connections and share their passion for books, literature and debate. We look forward to continuing this energy over Pitzhanger's full programme of talks and events across the summer and we're already excited for what next year’s book festival will bring!”

For more information and updates about the Ealing Book Festival, visit www.ealingbookfestival.com.

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