The Way We Live Now… Dulwich Literary Festival programme announced

Margaret Hodge, Harriet Harman, Nick Clegg, Ken Clarke, Joanna Trollope, Kei Miller, Joe Dunthorne, Adam Rutherford, Ed Yong, Matt Haig, and Chris Mould to appear from 11 – 13 November

Leading names from the worlds of politics, fiction, science, poetry and history will gather this November (11-13) at the historic Dulwich College for the Dulwich Literary Festival. Early bird weekend tickets - which can be bought here - are on sale now, with all tickets on sale from 3 October onwards. The full programme for the festival offers a wide array of events for both adults and children.

Presented by award-winning independent bookshop Dulwich Books of West Dulwich, events will be spread across a number of venues within Dulwich College, including the Great Hall, the Old Library, and the new George Farha Auditorium.

“Our festival takes its theme from the Anthony Trollope novel The Way We Live Now. First published in book form in 1875, Trollope’s novel was inspired by the financial scandals of the early 1870s. The author had returned to England from Australia and sought to express his shock and disgust at the extent to which greed and corruption had become systemic in the spheres of politics, commerce, journalism and diplomacy. In 2016, as the world trains its gaze towards the centenary of the Russian Revolution of 1917, it seems fitting to re-examine Trollope’s exposé of British society, rich in satire and drama, and to compare and contrast it to how we live today.

“With some of UK’s best-known names in politics, fiction, poetry and history on the adult programme, we also have a series of children’s events to entertain and delight.”
— Susie Nicklin, owner of Dulwich Books

From the world of politics, Margaret Hodge and Harriet Harman will discuss how corporations and governments intersect in contemporary life; Nick Clegg and Ken Clarke, both with books out on their time in the coalition government, will meet to talk about the way we lived then.
Authors of fact and fiction will be addressing a range of contemporary issues and topics. Joanna Trollope will tackle the overall theme, ‘The Way We Live Now’, examining in particular the role of women and how they live now. Author of Submarine Joe Dunthorne will be discussing communal living with Forward Prize-winning poet Kei Miller, while Adam Rutherford sits down with Ed Yong to discuss their respective works on genetics and microbes.

Matt Haig, author of the chart-topping A Boy Called Christmas, will headline a series of fun children's events to suit children of all ages, returning to Dulwich to present his new festive title, The Girl Who Saved Christmas, alongside Chris Mould, the illustrator of both books.


Dulwich Literary Festival 2016 - programme in full

For the full 2016 programme, please visit

Friday 11 November

Called to Account
Margaret Hodge & Harriet Harman
Tickets £15
The George Farha Auditorium, Dulwich College (7pm)

Two women who have given exceptional public service to the UK discuss a crucial aspect of contemporary life, the way in which corporations and governments intersect.

Unacknowledged Legislators
Carcanet Poets including Kate Miller, Joey Connolly, and John Clegg
Tickets £5 (including a glass of wine)
Dulwich Books (8pm)

Three leading poets, Kate Miller who lives locally, Joey Connolly and John Clegg, all published in Carcanet’s volume New Poetries VI, will read from their latest work and discuss the place of poetry in contemporary Britain.


Saturday 12 November

A Celebration of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks with Kristina Stephenson
Tickets £5 for one child, £7.50 for two children and £10 for three children
The Old Library, Dulwich College (11am)

Join Kristina Stephenson for a musical storytelling journey: Sir Charlie Stinky Socks’ latest quest is to return a stolen bag to its rightful owner. Join our hero and his faithful friends as their adventure leads them through the desert to a one-horse town and into a race against a not-too-friendly fellow.
Age: 4+ - all children must be accompanied by an adult who will be responsible for them for the duration of the event.

Concerning multitudes, our predecessors and those within us
Adam Rutherford & Ed Yong
Tickets £10
The George Farha Auditorium, Dulwich College (12pm)

Ed Yong has written a fascinating book, I Contain Multitudes, about the billions of microbes to which we are hosts. Adam Rutherford’s new book, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, about the landscape of genetics is similarly ambitious in scope.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas
Matt Haig & Chris Mould
Tickets £7.50 per child, adult free if accompanied by a child
The Old Library, Dulwich College (3pm)

Last year Matt Haig’s delightful book for children, A Boy Called Christmas, topped the charts for weeks; he is returning with the wonderful illustrator of both books, Chris Mould, and he’ll be reading from his book and talking about both titles, as Chris animates the session.
Age: 5+ - all children under 16 to be accompanied by an adult.

Communal Living
Kei Miller & Joe Dunthorne
Tickets £7.50
The George Farha Auditorium, Dulwich College (5pm)

If you choose to live in a commune and to abide by its rules, does that make you bound and beholden? What if you realise you are committed to a project that is against your best interests? Can you affect the outcome in any case? Come and hear two of the UK’s best writers of fiction and poetry, Kei Miller and Joe Dunthorne.

The Way We Live Now: from Anthony to Joanna Trollope
Joanna Trollope
Tickets £15 (with a glass of wine)
Venue: The Great Hall, Dulwich College (7pm)

Who better to address the theme of our festival than a descendant of the writer Anthony Trollope, his namesake Joanna Trollope. In this exclusive address she will examine in particular the role of women and how they live now, taking in other themes from the original novel along the way.


Sunday 13 November

Writing Mysteries Workshop with Katherine Woodfine
Tickets £5
The Old Library, Dulwich College (10am)

Join Katherine Woodfine on an Edwardian adventure through London’s most prestigious department store, Sinclair’s. Katherine talks about her writing process and her inspirations, gets the children to help her solve a mystery or two and brings dastardly villains to justice.
Age range: 8+

Remembrance Sunday verses from the Home Front
Bloodaxe Poets - Bryony Doran and Isabel Palmer, introduced by Ruth Padel & Neil Astley
Free entry, collection for Care for Casualties charity
The Old Library, Dulwich College (10:15am)

Join us for discussions of, and readings from poetry by women on the theme of women left behind in war, not in 1914 or 1939 but now. Two poets, Bryony Doran and Isabel Palmer, both mothers of young British soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, will be take part and the event will culminate with a minute’s silence at 11:00 to commemorate lives lost in war.

Harry Potter: Celebrating the Magic
Tickets £10
The George Farha Auditorium, Dulwich College (3pm)

A highly interactive, hands on magic lesson in the wonderful new auditorium of the science block of Dulwich College, featuring potions, Quidditch, small gifts to take home and more.
Age: 9+

Revolutionary Times
Rachel Holmes & Hester Vaizey
Tickets £10
The Old Library, Dulwich College (3pm)

Rachel Holmes is the author of Eleanor Marx: A Life. Eleanor was the daughter of Karl Marx and a brilliant orator, campaigner and thinker in her own right. Following the spread of regimes inspired by Marx’s thought in the early 20th Century, Hester Vaizey shows us what happened in 1989 when the people of the GDR decided to rejoin the capitalist West.

What is in the National Interest?
Ian Cobain & Tim Marshall
Tickets £10
The George Farha Auditorium, Dulwich College (5pm)

Two of the UK’s most distinguished and internationally-experienced journalists debate the power and politics of the hidden hand of the nation state and its symbolic representation, the national flag.

A Coalition of the Willing
Ken Clarke & Nick Clegg in conversation with Arifa Akbar
Tickets £15
The Great Hall, Dulwich College (7pm)

Two of the most influential members of the Coalition Cabinet, Ken Clarke and Nick Clegg, have both this autumn published accounts of their time in government. Join them for an unmissable finale to the Festival weekend as they discuss the way we lived then, with Arifa Akbar, former literary editor of the Independent newspaper.