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Returning September

Lincoln Book Festival 2017 Programme

Lincoln Book Festival 2017 took place from 25th – 3oth September at venues across the city of Lincoln. 2017’s Festival encouraged visitors to “Go Gothic” by celebrating the Gothic in all its glory.

Details for 2018s Festival are to be confirmed.

Monday 25th September, 6:15pm - Festival Launch Party

  • Presentation for WINNERS of the 2017 FLASH FICTION COMPETITION – just 50 words in the Gothic genre!
  • FIRST STORYchanging lives through writing’ launched in Lincolnshire at last year’s Book Festival. The charity runs creative writing programmes in schools in low-income areas to help young people improve literacy and grow in awareness, self-esteem and confidence – students from a Lincoln school will read some of their work.
  • PLUS guest speaker KERRY DREWERY, author of three YA novels, most recently ROOM 7. She has been an author in residence for First Story, been short-listed for the Leeds Book Award, nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, been translated into 12+ languages and lives in Lincolnshire!

Proceeds from the evening will go to First Story.

Tuesday 26th September, 6:15pm - Painted Ladies, Iconic Faces - chaired by Dr Claire Brainerd, University of Oxford


MARTIN KEMP on the Mona Lisa

Martin Kemp is one of the world’s leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci and has published extensively on his life and work. In his new book, MONA LISA: THE PEOPLE AND THE PAINTING, co-authored with Giuseppe Pallanti, he cuts through layers of accumulated myth to reveal a wealth of information about the people and events behind the portrait.

The true story of the Mona Lisa is even more astonishing and transcendent than the legends. It will forever change the way you look at the world’s most famous painting!


KIRSTY STONELL WALKER on Pre-Raphaelite Models, Muses & Mistresses: from bathtubs to asylums – Today any woman with red hair is regarded as pre-Raphaelite but who were the original Pre-Raphaelite muses? Kirsty has spent the last 20 years researching their lives and loves, who they were and what became of them – incarceration or front page news. From mid 19th century to 1920s, they were icons whose lives were as scandalous as the roles they played in paintings.

Kirsty is the author of STUNNER: THE FALL AND RISE OF FANNY CORNFORTH and two novels exploring the Victorian art scene, its murders, lust and secrets; she also writes the intriguingly titled blog The Kissed Mouth.

Wednesday 27th September - Gothic Literature Workshop

In association with Lincoln Book Festival, the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University are holding a free Gothic Fiction Masterclass for students of English Literature at GCSE and A-Level.

This event will aim to offer insights into classic and contemporary texts and explore some of the themes that connect this broad and fascinating genre.

To register for places at the Lincoln Book Festival 2017 Gothic Fiction Masterclass, please contact the University of Lincoln Schools & Colleges Liaison team on telephone 01522 886644 or email with details of the number of places required and the year group. Places are limited so early registration is advised. Coach parking is available on campus but please note that lunches will not be provided.

Wednesday 27th September, 6:15pm, at Lincoln Drill Hall - Arms and the Mind

David Starkey

DAVID STARKEY on the Victory of Bosworth and the Invention of a Dynasty

As a TV and radio personality and author, David Starkey needs no introduction. Nor perhaps does the Battle of Bosworth Field which ended the Wars of the Roses and the centuries-long reign of the Plantagenets.

Like the Battle of Lincoln two centuries earlier, it is considered one of the most significant moments in English history but Starkey describes how Bosworth marked not just a military success for Henry VII but a “notable victory in a propaganda war” for the Tudor dynasty he established, arguing that “the Tudor myth had been devised before the Tudors were even on the throne”.

Thursday 28th September, 6:15pm - Victorian Truths & Gothic Mysteries – chaired by Dr Claudia Capancioni (Bishop Grosseteste University), and Dr Scott Brewster (University of Lincoln)


KATHRYN HUGHES’ Tales of Flesh in the Age of Decorum

Biographies will give you all the facts of their subjects’ lives but they can’t explain what it was like to be them – to fight for breath against the constriction of a whalebone corset or attempt to eat elegantly while sporting a particularly bushy beard. Nowhere is this more evident than Britain in the 19th century. For while we think of the Victorians as prudishly detached from their unruly bodies, the fact is that they were just as subject to the tyrannies of their flesh as we are today.

In her new book, VICTORIANS UNDONE, award-winning historian and biographer Kathryn Hughes reveals what it was like to be a 19th century man or woman, through a close examination of five famous, controversial or curious Victorian body parts.


DIANE SETTERFIELD on Fiction of a Gothic Disposition

Combining gothic invention with contemporary realism, Diane’s stunning debut novel THE THIRTEENTH TALE was an international bestseller: it was published in 38 countries and televised for BBC2, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman.

Her second novel BELLMAN & BLACK is a genre-defying blend of rooks, death and Victorian retail – multi-layered, mesmerising and a totally original take on the gothic novel! Diane has delivered an Arvon course on writing Gothic fiction and when she is not writing or talking she reads – or thinks about reading.

She is, she says, ‘a reader first, a writer second.’

Friday 29th September, 2pm, free event - Writing Romance - Mills & Boon Style

Jenni Fletcher

JENNI FLETCHER is one of HMB Historicals newest authors writing Medieval and Victorian romances. Her first book, MARRIED TO HER ENEMY was published in January and her third BESIEGED AND BETROTHED will be out in December.

Janice Preston

JANICE PRESTON writes emotional, sensual and satisfying Regency romances. Her seventh book SCANDAL AND MISS MARKHAM will be published on 1st October.

Friday 29th September, 6:15pm, at Lincoln Drill Hall - Sacred and Profane



Alison and Sarah discuss the theme of queenship and the exercise of power by female rulers. They will be focusing on Norman queens of England, the subject of Alison’s new book, QUEENS OF THE CONQUEST, and Anne Boleyn, about whom she has just published a novel, and comparing them to queens in the intervening centuries. Sarah’s latest book is GAME OF QUEENS.

Dr Nina Ramirez (2) copyright Juliana Johnston Low Res

JANINA RAMIREZ on Skullduggery, Power Struggles – and Saints!

Janina is well known as an art historian and for her BBC4 series (Saints & Sinners, Illuminations and Chivalry & Betrayal). In her latest book THE PRIVATE LIVES OF THE SAINTS: POWER, PASSION AND POLITICS IN ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND she explores the real lives of over a dozen notable saints, the importance of veneration and taking them from their heavenly status to the human level.

“Ramirez blasts a powerful spotlight into the so-called Dark Ages and reveals a vibrant world, awash with colour and character.” (Dan Snow)

Saturday 30th September, 10:30am - 12:30pm, free event, Lincoln Central Library - Haunted House Scary Storytime

Loads of fun, scary stories for all ages, crafts and scary sensory boxes – children can put their hands into the boxes and see what is lurking in the dark!

Come dressed as your favourite nasty, scary book character.

Saturday 30th September, 10:30am - 1pm, free event - A Morning of Local History - chaired by Gary Phillips

  • Boston, 1086-1225: A Medieval Boom Town – STEPHEN RIGBY’s new study examines its lay-out, religious houses, its trade, the rise of its fair, the role of lordship in its success and the structure of its administration.
  • Treading the Boards – Actors and Theatres in Georgian LincolnshireBetween 1730 and 1850, theatre flourished and actors made a good living. NEIL WRIGHT describes their successes and failures, pleasures and hardships.
  • A Parson in Wartime: The Boston Diary of The Rev Arthur Hopkins, 1942-1945 provides a vivid picture of war-time Boston and an engaging account of the life of a busy parish priest – introduced by NICHOLAS BENNETT.
  • The Ironstone Mines of the Lincolnshire Wolds – STEWART SQUIRES tells the story of Claxby Mine, Nettleton Top and Bottom Mines, and the explorations for a mine at Walesby.

Saturday 30th September, 2:30pm, Robert Hardy Building, Bishop Grosseteste University - An Afternoon of Architecture, Revived & Inspiring - chaired by Dr Jim Cheshire (University of Lincoln)


GEOFF BRANDWOOD guides us through the revival of Gothic architecture Victorian style and discusses the churches of Sir Gilbert Scott – including many Lincolnshire examples. Representing the Victorian Society, he will also introduce Gavin Stamp’s sumptuous book GOTHIC FOR THE STEAM AGE.

Pamela Holmes

PAMELA HOLMES was inspired by the true story of Mildred Holland and a Suffolk country church. After years spent abroad, the world of a Victorian country parson’s wife is stifling until a chance encounter fires her creative imagination and she embarks on the massive project of painting the church ceiling. THE HUNTINGFIELD PAINTRESS is Pamela’s first book.

Following the talks there will be a tour of Scott’s St Nicholas Church, Newport, and tea!