Monday 17th June at 7.30pm. The Gluck Studio.
Author Lucy Foley will discuss her latest novel The Hunting Party, a fiendishly twisty murder mystery set in a remote Scottish hunting lodge. Bringing all of the appeal of an Agatha Christie-style house-party whodunit to a thoroughly modern thriller, it is a riveting read which will keep you turning the pages long after lights out!
A group of thirty-something friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands – the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves. They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world. Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead…..
Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination. Lucy is also the author of three historical novels; The Book of Lost and Found, The Invitation, and Last Letter from Istanbul. Her journalism has appeared in ES Magazine, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and more.
‘Chilling. You won’t sleep.’ – Adele Parks
`Foley builds the tension cleverly and creepily, underlining the point that old friends aren’t always the best’ – The Observer
Tickets available at The Steyning Bookshop or online via Ticketsource.
Nick Sharratt’s Big Draw-Along.
Sunday 16th June. Doors open at 10.30 for bacon butties and coffee. Big Draw-along starts at 11am.
After the fabulous fun we had at last year’s Steyning Festival event, our favourite illustrator / writer, Nick Sharratt, is back for a Fantastic Father’s Day Family-Friendly-Fun-Filled hour of drawing.
Bring your favourite pens. Paper will be provided.
Free coffee and bacon butties for dads!
Adults £7 Children £5.
Tickets are available from the Steyning Bookshop or online this link to Ticketsource
THE GRUFFALO & FRIENDS with JULIA DONALDSON & COMPANY. Saturday 15th June at 2.30pm
Come and celebrate the Gruffalo’s 20th birthday with Julia Donaldson and friends – including the Gruffalo himself! Join them for a fun-packed show of dramatised stories, songs and audience participation!
The show will be followed by the opportunity to purchase Julia’s books and get them personally signed and dedicated.
AGE GUIDE: The show is ideally suited for ages 4+. All children will need to have a ticket.
Tickets available from the Steyning Booksshop or via this link to Ticketsource
‘Mapping Imaginary Worlds’ SATURDAY 15th JUNE 10.30am
A creative writing workshop for budding writers aged 7-12, with children’s writer Vashti Hardy.
Vashti is the author of two novels for children, Brightstorm and Wildspark, both published by Scholastic. The lovely Vashti will guide children to create and map their imaginary worlds.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Vashti was a primary school teacher, and she has an MA in creative writing from Chichester University.
All equipment and free refreshments are provided.
Tickets can be purchased at the bookshop or online via this Ticketsource link
Make sure you’re free on Monday 27th May for the Steyning Country Fair, when the High St will be a bustle with street entertainers, music, craft stalls, rare breed farm animals, and delicious produce.
True to time-honoured tradition, we will have free activities for children in our garden marquee, led by picture book writer / illustrator Bryony Thomson. Bryony’s delightful book ‘The Wardrobe Monster’, published by local press Old Barn Books, is a beautifully illustrated, humorous and reassuring story for any child who has ever though there might be monsters lurking in the dark.
Bryony will be leading a fun ‘MONSTER MASH’ drawing session, helping children to create their own ‘wardrobe monsters’. There’ll also be stories, crafts and free refreshments for children, and grown-ups can take the weight off their feet and relax in our lovely bookshop garden marquee.
There will be 2 sessions: From 11am till noon, then again from 2pm until 3pm. Just come along, it’s free, no need to book! Suitable for ages 3-9.
Bryony Thomson is a writer and illustrator based in Surrey. She graduated with a distinction from the MA Children’s Book Illustration Course at Cambridge School of Art, and also received a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Macmillan Prize. ‘The Wardrobe Monster’ is her first published book. Do check out her website, she has some gorgeous screen-printed tea towels and framed prints for sale there!
Michelle Paver’s new novel is an outstanding feat of story-telling, firmly rooted in the Gothic tradition, which pays homage to the late, great master of the ghost story, M.R James.
A preamble, set in the 60’s, introduces us to elderly spinster Maud, who has lived alone in a decaying manor house deep in the Suffolk Fens ever since the tragic day in 1913 when her father committed murder in a fit of insanity. He has since become infamous for a trilogy of Richard Dadd-style paintings featuring medieval demons, but upon his death, Maud finds herself the subject of prying journalists.
The rest of the book follows the story of Maud’s lonely childhood, back in the early 1900’s. We learn how Maud’s father had dominated and sexually exploited his vulnerable young Belgian wife, and see his belittling attitude towards Maud and his scorn for her attempts to win his approval by taking on the housekeeping duties after the death of her mother. Maud, a clever, scholarly girl, dreams of becoming her father’s amanuensis and begins helping him with his research into a medieval mystic, but he is unimpressed by her efforts. After her father discovers a medieval ‘Doom’ painting in the local graveyard – based on the real-life Wenhaston Doom, found under whitewash in the 1890s – he is beset by strange dreams and becomes convinced that unhallowed demonic forces have been unleashed by the painting.
Maud seeks solace from her father’s tyranny in the dank beauty of the Fens, her friendship with Clem, a kindly gardener’s boy, and her pet magpie, Chatterpie, but after her father forbids her liason and has the magpie killed she begins to turn against him. Struggling to understand his behaviour, which has become increasingly deranged, she turns to reading his diaries. As the demons of her father’s past are revealed to Maud, and us, by the diaries and he unravels still further, Maud must stand strong to save her beloved Fen and discover the truth about her father.
‘Wakenhyrst’ is a truly compelling story – the brooding, stifling air of menace in Maud’s home, and the sinister superstitions of the Fen dwellers are vividly evoked and provide an air of impending doom which gathers pace deliciously. Maud is a wonderful heroine, full of nascent Suffragist spirit. Best of all, the book skilfully balances the supernatural with the possibility that the horrors are psychological in origin, keeping the reader on a tightrope of uncertainty throughout. Spell-binding stuff!
We are very excited to be hosting a launch party for local writer Jonathan Scott’s new book ‘The Vinyl Frontier’, which tells the fascinating story of the Golden Record – an inter-stellar mix-tape sent into space with the Voyager Missions in 1977. Curated by Carl Sagan, the 90 minute disc contained music by JS Bach and Chuck Berry, ethnographic field recordings, and a message of peace by President Jimmy Carter – a field guide to Earthlings for the Cosmos. ‘The Vinyl Frontier’ follows the project from first phone call to final launch, and it is a truly fascinating story of an optimistic project with a cosmic vision of peace and unity.
Jonathan Scott has been fascinated by the Voyager Golden Record project ever since he first heard of it, and the book grew out of a magazine article on the subject that he penned for Record Collector Magazine. Formerly a contributing editor to Record Collector magazine, Jonathan has edited books about Prince, Cher and the San Francisco psych explosion, and written about Nirvana, the Pogues, the Venga Boys, Sir Patrick Moore and Sir Isaac Newton in a variety of magazines. He is a self-confessed astronomy geek who received his first telescope at the age of eight!
The launch party will start at 7.30pm with wine kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing, there will be delicious home-made canapes to nibble, and Jonathan will share a few stories from his research before signing copies of his book.
We are very excited to unveil our April author event! Celebrated novelist Michelle Paver will be at the Gluck Studio on Wednesday 24th April, discussing her latest novel, ‘Wakenhyrst‘, a spell-binding masterpiece of Gothic fiction which enthralls and chills in equal measure.
The book is set deep in the Suffolk Fens, and follows the story of Maud, a lonely, motherless child who takes solace in the dank beauty of the Fen against the religious, repressive will of her historian father. When her father finds a medieval ‘Doom’ painting in a graveyard, unhallowed forces and a murderous obsession are awakened. Maud must hold strong in the face of the age-old legends of her beloved fen – and the even more nightmarish demons of her father’s past, as he becomes increasingly unravelled. Imbued with dark menace, the story maintains a tense ambiguity between the supernatural and the psychological. I cannot wait to hear Michelle tell us more about her research in the Suffolk Fens and the real-life ‘Doom’ which sparked the idea for the novel!
Michelle Paver is also the author of ‘Dark Matter’, a terrifying ghost story set in the haunting wilderness of the far north in the 1930’s, and ‘Thin Air’, the chilling story of a mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas which ends in disaster, but is perhaps best known for the compelling ‘Wolf Brother’ series of historical fantasy novels for children, which have achieved ‘classic’ status on school bookshelves across the world.
Tickets are £15 which includes a hot-off-the-press signed hardback copy of ‘Wakenhyrst’ and complimentary wine and canapes!
Tickets are available via Ticketsource or by calling / coming into the shop. tel 01903 812062.
We are thrilled to present a double whammy author event for March, a real treat for thriller and crime fans!
On Tuesday March 26th, 7.30pm at the lovely Gluck Studio, best-selling writers William Shaw and Nuala Ellwood will discuss their latest novels.
William Shaw is a firm favourite with local readers now, having interviewed Peter May at our author supper last year, and appeared at our crime-writers night during the Steyning Festival.
Hailed by fellow writer Val McDermid as “Taut, terrifying and timely”, William’s latest novel Salt Lane is the first in a new series, introducing DS Alexandra Cupidi, reluctantly booted out of the London Met to the bleak salt marsh landscapes of Southern Kent. Faced with the murder of a migrant labourer, she must gain the suspicious locals’ trust if she is to uncover the dark conspiracy behind the murder. Shaw’s trademark flair for lively characterisation and sharp, sensitive, social commentary makes this a gripping and intelligent read, and its atmospheric setting takes a central role. See here for William’s YouTube video filmed in Dungeness (with kind words about us!)
William Shaw will be in conversation with up-and-coming thriller writer Nuala Ellwood about her second novel, Day of the Accident , a dark, twisty and multi-layered psychological thriller which is already gathering ecstatic reviews. Nuala’s first novel My Sister’s Bones, also published by Penguin, saw her being featured as one of The Observer’s ‘New Faces of Fiction 2017’. Day of the Accident follows wife and mother Maggie, who awakes from a coma after her car plunges into a river to be informed that her daughter is dead, drowned during the accident, and her husband, Sean, has disappeared. But she can’t shake the feeling that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is alive and that there is more to the accident than meets the eye.
We can’t wait to hear more!
The event price of £10 includes a paperback book by one of the writers – how will you choose? Plus wine and nibbles.
Advance booking is advised.
Half term dragging on? Raining? Want some off-screen time? Bring your little people along to our February half term kids event!
We don’t have an author this time, but will have entertaining stories, crafts, and things to nibble with an Under-the-Sea theme.
If you come dressed for the theme you’ll get a special prize!
£4 per child.
Age Guide – your little one needs to be able to use scissors and sit still, and not too old for picture books, so .. 4-8 years?
Book in advance by calling the bookshop on 01903 812062. Let us know of any dietary requirements eg dairy / gluten free as we will be serving biscuits/ cakes.
2.30pm on Thursday 21st February.
What better way to celebrate World Book Day than with the nation’s favourite children’s author, Julia Donaldson?
Julia’s new book ‘The Go Away Bird’ is released on …Thursday March 7th, which just happens to be World Book Day.
Julia will be at the shop for an after-school book signing, with 3 signing sessions starting at 4pm. There is no charge, but you MUST book a place in advance by paying for at least 1 book, and stating your timing of choice: 4pm, 4.30pm, or 5pm. You can book by calling the bookshop on 01903 812062.
‘The Go Away Bird’ is a funny and charming story about the power of friendship, inspired by the birds Julia encountered during her safari trip to Kenya. It marks an exciting new creative partnership for Julia, as the stunning illustrations are provided by the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Catherine Rayner (already an acclaimed name in illustration for her wonderful books ‘Augustus and his Smile’, ‘Solomon Crocodile’, ‘Ernest’, ‘Smelly Louie’)
‘The Go Away Bird’ will be available in hardback for £11.99, and we will have all Julia’s other books on sale and available for signing, too.
Twelve-year-old Pet lives with her parents and older sister Mags, in a lighthouse on the South-East coast of England. It is autumn 1939 and when war breaks out, Pet’s happy family life begins to shiver and fracture. There are acts of sabotage in the local village and Pet’s German mother is accused of spying and interned as a dangerous enemy alien. An act of heroism leaves the girls alone and threatened with evacuation, protected only by the Sisters of Stone, an ancient stone circle with its own legends…This is a pacy, exciting and atmospheric story for 9-13 year olds which has an unusual take on the Second World War.
Join us on Tuesday 5th February for our first event of 2019, when we welcome Sussex based writer Matt Whyman, who’ll be sharing insights from his wonderful book ‘The Unexpected Genius of Pigs’.
Blending research from an expert in pig psychology, and first-hand observations from vets and farmers with his own recollections from his days as an amateur pig-keeper, Matt’s book is an absolutely charming and illuminating study of our unfairly-maligned porcine friends. We look forward to hearing more ‘behind the scenes’ stories from Matt in person!
Perfect for fans of ‘The Secret Lives of Cows’.
A copy of “The Unexpected Genius of Pigs” is included in the ticket price of £10 for the event.
Venue: TBC – Either The Gluck Studio or The Steyning Bookshop.
Matt Whyman has written widely for all ages across a range of subjects in fiction and non-fiction. Notable books amongst the 18 books published to his name are ‘Walking with Sausage Dogs’, his best-selling comic memoir, and ‘The Savages’, a very unusual YA novel featuring a family of cannibals! Matt also lectures in creative writing, was 19 Magazine‘s first ever male ‘Agony Uncle’, and is an established ghostwriter and collaborative author.
We are very excited to welcome the acclaimed novelist and short story master Tessa Hadley to Steyning for the first time.
Tessa will be discussing her latest novel, ‘Late in the Day‘, the story of two close-knit couples, and how their lives are irrevocably altered by an untimely death. The novel explores the complex webs at the centre of our most intimate relationships, to expose how, beneath the seemingly dependable arrangements we make for our lives, lie infinite alternate configurations.
Tessa’s six previous novels include ‘Clever Girl’, ‘The Past’ and ‘Married Love’. Her novels have twice reached the longlists of the Orange Prize and the Wales Book of the Year, and in 2016, she won one of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prizes for fiction.
Tessa also teaches creative writing at Bath Spa University.
Tickets are £10, to include a voucher towards a copy of ‘Late in the Day’ which is released in hardback on 14th February. Wine, soft drinks and nibbles will be served.
Tickets are available by calling the bookshop on 01903 812062.
Critical praise for Late in the Day
“Tessa Hadley crystallizes the atmosphere of ordinary life in prose somehow miraculous and natural…. Extraordinary” (Washington Post)
“Tessa Hadley has become one of this country’s great contemporary novelists. She is equipped with an armoury of techniques and skills that may yet secure her a position as the greatest of them.” (Anthony Quinn in the Guardian)
Our lovely Steyning Bookshop employees Sarah Burns and Alice Garner don’t just know about books….they are now giving a lucky few of you a chance to take part in a tea-towel making workshop!
Fresh from their very popular sessions at Ditchling Museum and Much Ado Books in Alfriston, textile designer and block-printer Sarah Burns and her artistic assistant Alice will help participants experiment with screen-printing, lino-cut, stencil and other techniques to produce their own unique tea towel by the end of the day!
No experience is necessary, although those with some print-making experience are also welcome to come and experiment with new techniques. All materials will be provided, as well as plenty of tea and yummy home-made cake to keep the creative juices flowing!
The workshop will take place on from 2 -5 pm on Sunday 9th December, in the bookshop back kitchen.
ONLY 8 SPACES AVAILABLE! Cost £40 per person.
Book now via The Steyning Bookshop on 01903 812062.
On Wednesday 5th December from 6pm – 9pm, Steyning High Street will once again be transformed into a magical winter wonderland, with a candlelit lantern procession, live bands, carol singers, a nativity scene, donkeys, and a plethora of fantastic stalls with crafts, hand-made goodies, and delicious hot food & drink, plus of course, all your favourite high street shops will open their doors and welcome you!
In time-honoured tradition, at the bookshop we will be a-bustle with revellers seeking Rob’s mulled wine (made to a top-secret recipe handed down through generations) and Sara’s home-made mince pies. Our author guest of honour this year will be acclaimed children’s author and illustrator, Emily Gravett, who’ll be at the shop from 6 pm until about 8.30 pm to sign and dedicate copies of her books. Emily has won numerous awards for her clever, inventive picture books, and her latest picture book in hardback is the delightful ‘Cyril and Pat’, a heart-warming story about a friendship between a squirrel and a rat! We will have a large selection of Emily’s books ready for signing, from her pre-schooler classics such ‘Apple Pear Orange Bear’ (which no toddler should be without), her quirky picture books perfect for ages 4-7 such as ‘Tidy’, with its amusing environmental message, and the darkly funny ‘Wolves’ and ‘Meerkat Mail’, to her books for older children, ‘The Imaginary’ and ‘The Afterwards’, written by A F Harrold, which Emily has brought to life with her astonishingly beautiful, haunting, pencil illustrations.
Do come along and meet Emily, or, if you are not able to come on the night, give us a ring to reserve a signed, dedicated book!
News from our October Newsletter
A grand time was had by all who came on Saturday afternoon to the signing by Julia Donaldson which
celebrated the publication of Julia’s two latest books – the delightful The Girl, The Bear and the Magic
Shoes, beautifully illustrated by Lydia Monks, and Animalphabet, an alphabet book with a difference which
has exquisite pictures by new artist Sharon King-Chai.
The families who came also had a great opportunity to browse amongst all Julia’s other books including the recently re-issued illustrated edition of Julia’s play set during the Second World War, Bombs and Blackberries, and the paperback edition of The GiantJumperee, Julia’s jolly story illustrated by the wonderful Helen Oxenbury.
Alphabet biscuits, glittery magic shoe decoration, a sunny garden animal picture hunt plus the chance to meet and chat with the most famous children’s author in the land on a glorious autumn day – what a very special event it was! We are
most grateful to Julia for signing solidly for 3 hours, to her publishers who came to help, to the bookshop
team and also most grateful this time to two lovely members of our book group, Barbara Anderson and
Julia Sherlock who dealt magnificently with endless glitter, glue and non-stop activity.
Willa Knox is a woman trying to hold things together. Her house, which has been left to her is crumbling about her family’s ears; she and her husband, having worked as university professors, are now unemployed, her son’s girlfriend commits suicide leaving a small, inconsolable baby. Raging against a world that can let these things happen, Willa nonetheless comes to find consolation in her blossoming relationship with her daughter, Tig and her baby grandson, and her obsession with the first occupants of her unstable house.
Interleaved with Willa’s story is the tale of Thatcher Greenwood, who lived in her house in 1871. A science teacher who wishes to educate his small town about the work of Darwin, he runs foul of the town’s Christian founder, who is more than happy with the status quo. He finds inspiration in his friendship with his neighbour, the enigmatic Mary Treat, a scientist and breaker of the mould of Victorian womanhood.
An interesting novel about reason and faith, the failures of capitalism, family and loss, from one of our favourite authors.
Giuseppi Levi is always shouting at his children and forcing them to march up mountains, his wife Lidia is always trying to slope off for a sit down. Their various children comply with their wishes, or not, all of them contributing to the routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable that make up a large Jewish-Italian family.
Written while Natalia Ginsburg was away from her family, and homesick for them, this lovely autobiographical novel, mainly composed of dialogue, builds layer by layer through repetition and pattern, a portrait of that family, their repeated phrases, the ties of affection and exasperation that bind them together. It is set against the rise of fascism in Italy through the 1920s and 30s, and the Levis, both Jewish and anti-fascist will have to ensure that their own family lexicon survives.
Chris Riddell, political cartoonist for the Observer, and prolific illustrator and writer of marvellous children’s books, has made a selection of his favourite classic and modern poems about ‘life, death and everything in between’. Exquisitely illustrated, this an absolutely beautiful book and the forty-six poems in this anthology have clearly been selected with great love.
Yeats and Christina Rossetti accompany poems from Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Carol Ann Duffy, Neil Gaiman and Roger McGough to create a very special collection.
Lucia Berlin’s collection of short stories, A Manual for Cleaning Women was published posthumously to great acclaim, and Evening in Paradise is a follow-up selection from Berlin’s remaining stories.
The stories are loosely autobiographical, arranged chronologically to follow the arc of Berlin’s life, and take us from a pair of seven year olds running a scam in El Paso, through the beauty and disillusionment of a young girl’s first romantic liaison, to young wives coping with kids, their husband’s addiction, abandonment, to a furious old woman on the roof of her own house while her family try to celebrate Christmas. Savage, funny, shocking and beautiful, they present some unforgettable images – the iridescent, sulphurous smoke of the smelter in a mining town, the yellow aromo blossom sticking to a couple’s skin – in concise writing that brings the reader up short with its power. The dark thread of alcoholism runs through many of the stories as well as the brighter threads of love, romantic and maternal, and of beauty found in the most unlikely places. Outstanding.
When Rosie and Robert Stewart’s mother died, they had to sort through the contents of her packed house. The last box in the attic, hastily emptied into plastic bags before the house clearance men came, proved to be a treasure trove, and a forgotten history. Hamish Mann had been their great uncle, unknown to them except as a single faded photo from their childhoods. The box was stuffed the brim with papers which contained Hamish’s brief life as an aspiring writer and soldier, before he died in the Battle of Arras in 1917.
The Stewarts enlisted the help of Steyning author Jacquie Buttriss to bring Hamish’s story to the wider public, and she has painstakingly pieced together his life, and with his own vivid accounts and poignant poems, has created a fascinating insight into life in the trenches and Hamish’s journey from teenage patriotic fervour, to the sadder, more fearful, wiser young man he became in two short years. A timely reminder of the horrors of war.
This a an absolutely gorgeous poetry anthology for children. There is a nature poem for every day of the year, laid out on each double page spread with a linking theme and beautiful illustrations. The poems range from simple nursery rhymes to longer ones, from poets such as WB Yeats, Carol Ann Duffy and Benjamin Zephaniah. A book that will be treasured for many years
Snow in the Garden
by Shirley Hughes
Collected here is a charming collection of stories, poems, crafts and recipes, all with a Christmas theme, from one of our best children’s authors, Shirley Hughes. With her trademark illustrations and gentle wit and empathetic understanding of a small child’s viewpoint, this is the perfect way for 3-6 year olds to get excited about Christmas.