Balham Literary Festival announces 2019 line-up

Balham Literary Festival announces 2019 line-up

Rachel Ama, AC Grayling, Bernadine Evaristo, Mick Herron, Max Porter, Christie Watson

The Balham Literary Festival returns 13-25th June with a spectacular line-up featuring vegan cooking star Rachel Ama, novelist Max Porter, crime writer Mick Herron and esteemed philosopher AC Grayling. A staple of the London literary calendar, this year’s festival will host a dazzling array of events with discussions ranging from climate change to crime fiction, whilst celebrating some of best talent south London has to offer.

Highlights of the festival are set to include an event with AC Grayling who will preview his new book The History of Philosophy, delving into some of the greatest minds in the world from antiquity to present; former Crystal Palace resident Max Porter will discuss his audacious, strange and wonderful new work Lanny, the follow-up to his hugely successful Grief is the Thing with Feathers; and YouTube sensation Rachel Ama will share quick and easy recipes from her new book Vegan Eats.

Addressing pressing social concerns, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Adam Weymouth will discuss his prize-winning book Kings of the Yukon and reflect on the environmental issues we all face; bestselling author Christie Watson will be in discussion with spoken word artist Molly Case to reflect on  the nursing profession and share powerful accounts from their  own  experiences; whilst  Lewisham-born MP Rachel Reeves will mark the inspirational achievements of women in parliament in conversation with renowned broadcaster Cathy Newman.

Hotly-tipped debut writer Sara Collins will be in discussion with celebrated novelist Bernadine Evaristo to chat about their brilliant new work and writing black women into the story of Britain; local author. Yara Rodrigues Fowler will discuss her much acclaimed novel Stubborn Archivist, a lyrical reflection of growing up between cultures; and a special event  with Alex  Wheatle will see  the  Brixton Bard  discuss his life as a writer alongside his latest book Home Girl. The most recent title in his multi-award winning Crongton series follows the story of Naomi, a teenage girl growing up in the care system and is the author’s most moving and personal novel to date.

The festival will offer two fantastic events for fans of crime fiction. Mick Herron will discuss Joe Country, the latest in his witty and thrilling Jackson Lamb spy series. Parker Bilal (The Divinities) & Bev Thomas (A  Good Enough Mother) will be  in  conversation with bestselling thriller writer Sabine Durrant,  a chance to hear from two gripping chroniclers of London whose characters inhabit settings including Balham and Battersea.

Rounding off this local affair, Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison will delight audiences with a talk about their book, Today South London, Tomorrow South London, a part guide, part travelogue to the south of the city described by comic Jenny Eclair as “the ultimate reprobates handbook to God’s own side of the river.”

For more information and tickets, please go to:

Rathbones Folio Prize 2019 Shortlist Shows Extraordinary Range, Risk and Imagination - and Confirms Quality of International Writing Today


Four novels, a novella, one collection of poetry and two works of non-fiction from the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and North America are in contention for the £30,000 Rathbones Folio Prize, which rewards the best work of literature of the year, regardless of form.

2018 Man Booker Prize Winner Anna Burns, powerful new voice in Native American fiction Tommy Orange, London-born poet Raymond Antrobus and genre-defying memoirist Guy Stagg were among the eight writers found to be writing at the top of their game by the jury, which is drawn exclusively from the Folio Academy of writers.

Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young (Bloomsbury)

The Crossway by Guy Stagg (Picador)

Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile by Alice Jolly (Unbound)

Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber)

Ordinary People by Diana Evans (Chatto and Windus)

The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus (Penned in the Margins)

There There by Tommy Orange (Harvill Secker)

West by Carys Davies (Granta)

Announcing the shortlist, the 2019 chair of judges Kate Clanchy said: “Judges of literary prizes are supposed to engage in dark arguments, but the words my fellow judges kept saying to each other were ‘joy’ and ‘luck’: a joy to read the fantastically wide ranging list, across geography and literary genres, nominated by the Folio Academy; lucky to be reading at a time when the genres are recreating themselves so rapidly. We chose passionate, singular books, books which we felt took risks and pushed words and often the writer to new limits.

“Among novels, we chose Alice Jolly’s strange and visionary verse narrative Mary Anne Sate, Imbecile, written originally with a dipping ink pen; Carys Davies’ audacious novella about a quixotic early American father, West; There, There, by Tommy Orange, a tender but confronting ‘polyphonic’ novel about the Native American experience. Diana Evans’ Ordinary People, which delicately realises and recognises difference and pain in contemporary Black Londoners, sits next to Anna Burns’ funny, absorbing, terrifying The Milkman.

“In non-fiction, we matched Guy Stagg’s exquisitely written memoir of his modern pilgrimage across Europe, The Crossway with New Zealander Ashleigh Young’s fresh, challenging book of essays, Can You Tolerate This? The Perseverance by Jamaican British poet Raymond Antrobus gave us an D/deaf experience in verse of power, craft and piercing emotional clarity.

Choosing a shortlist may have been a joy but picking a winner will surely be hard work.”

Co-founder of the Rathbones Folio Prize, Andrew Kidd, went on to say:

“The 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize judges, themselves all writers of great renown, have tackled their brief – to identify the single best work of literature published in the English language last year – with amazing energy and flair. The eight, brilliant books now in the running for that distinction cut across all borders and genre, and are a testament to how writers are also the most astute and generous of readers.”

Independent publishing is well represented with five of the shortlisted books coming from smaller houses, including Unbound with their first nomination for the crowd-funded novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile by Alice Jolly; while prestigious literary imprints Chatto & Windus, Harvill Secker and Picador have one book each.

The eight shortlisted books are now in the running for the overall prize, increased this year to £30,000, and will be awarded at a ceremony at the British Library in London on 20 May 2019. They were chosen from a list of 80 works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, which the Folio Academy deemed to be the best published in the UK in 2018.

The Folio Prize was established in 2013 as the first major English language book prize open to writers from around the world. It is the only prize in which all the books considered for the prize are selected and judged by an academy of peers. When new sponsors, Rathbone Investment Management, came on board the prize was expanded to include all works of literature, regardless of form.

The Rathbones Folio Prize is the flagship of the Rathbones Folio Programme, which also includes the Rathbones Folio Mentorships for aspiring young writers and Rathbones Folio Prize Sessions at literary festivals across the UK. On the eve of the prize ceremony, May 19th, the shortlisted authors with the judges and chaired by A L Kennedy will take part in a Rathbones Folio Sessions day at the British Library on ‘How To Write a Book in a Day’, alongside a session with this year’s Rathbones Folio mentees.

Academy members Kate Clanchy, Chloe Aridjis and Owen Sheers make up the judging panel for the 2019 award.

Join the conversation via | @RathbonesFolio


Call Me By Your Name, Killing Eve and La Belle Sauvage announced among 2019 CAMEO Award winners

Four remarkable winners have been announced tonight at the third annual Creativity Across Media: Entertainment and Originality Awards (CAMEOs). Kicking off London Book and Screen Week (LBSW, 11 - 17 March 2019), the awards celebrate books at the heart of the creative industries, recognising the best adaptations across TV, film, stage and audio. The 2019 winners are:


Call Me By Your Name

Book original by André Aciman (Atlantic Books)

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino Screenplay: James Ivory


Killing Eve

Book original by Luke Jennings (As Codename Villanelle, John Murray)

Adapted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge



Book original by Nigel Slater (Harper Perennial)

Adapted by Henry Filloux-Bennett


La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust)

Book original by Phillip Pullman (Penguin)

Adapted by Random House Audiobooks

 Hosted at White City House, the ceremony included words from LBSW 2019 Ambassador James Runcie, author of The Grantchester Mysteries and Commissioning Editor of Arts at BBC Radio 4; comedy writer and performer Barry Cryer OBE, best known for his work on It’s Tommy Cooper, The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, and Doctor in the House; and BAFTA nominated director Delyth Thomas whose credits include Victoria and Hetty Feather.

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair and London Book & Screen Week, says: Now in its third year, the CAMEOs showcase the value of books as source material for other visual and audio mediums, and this year’s winners and shortlistees are no exception. The celebration of these talented individuals and exceptional collaborations is always a fantastic way to begin London Book & Screen Week, as we continue to explore the different ways in which we consume stories today.’

Call Me By Your Name was adapted from André Aciman’s novel by James Ivory, who won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. It starred Armie Hammer (The Social Network, The Man from U.N.C.L.E), Timothée Chalamet (Lady Bird, Interstellar) and Michael Stuhlbarg (The Shape of Water) and was directed by Luca Guadagnino. The judges commended this production as being a truly international collaboration, commenting on the passion of the producers’ vision for this story which was shown beautifully on film, taking an important story and elevating it into a really stunning film.

Nigel Slater’s award-winning autobiography Toast was adapted for stage by Henry Filloux-Bennett. Following a phenomenal sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it made its West End debut to critical acclaim. The judges felt that this incredible stage production really delivered the warmth and essence of the original book, finding a true home on the stage.

Killing Eve was brought to life as an 8-part TV series by writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who worked closely alongside Luke Jennings, author of the original novel Codename Villanelle. The TV adaption starred Jodie Comer (Doctor Foster, Thirteen) and Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy, Sideways) and was nominated for the Best Television Series (Drama) at this year’s Golden Globes. The judges were blown away by this wonderful example of collaboration between author, screen writer and production company. Extraordinary production values were bought together with brilliant storytelling to create a TV adaptation that experienced incredible success in both the UK and the US.

La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust) was adapted by Random House Audiobooks, with actor Michael Sheen narrating Phillip Pullman’s award-winning book. The Bookseller deemed the audio recording ‘the best piece of narration [they’d] ever heard’. This year’s judges overwhelming felt this was the perfect package: “Truly the X Factor!” They praised Michael Sheen's brilliant performance and the production team for creating a truly evergreen recording.

 Expert judges from all sectors of the entertainment industry deliberated across each of the categories. 2019 judges, chaired by Helen MacAleer, are: Philippa Donovan (Smart Quill), Katrien Roos (Harbottle & Lewis), Douglas Schatz (Samuel French), Rina Gill (RGM Productions), Terri Paddock (What’s On Stage), John Lomas-Bullivant (Kickback Media), Tamsin Collison, Anna Rafferty (BBC), Ravina Bajwa (Pottermore).

 The CAMEO Awards mark the start of this year’s London Book & Screen Week festival (11 - 17 March 2019), a seven day series of events across the creative capital, celebrating books and the films, TV programmes they inspire.

 For further information, please visit

 Notes to Editors

 Full shortlists:


 WINNER: Call Me By Your Name

Book original by André Aciman (Atlantic Books)

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino

Screenplay: James Ivory


The Little Stranger – Book original by Sarah Waters (Virago); directed by: Lenny Abrahamson; screenplay: Lucinda Coxon

Disobedience - Book original by Naomi Alderman (Viking); directed by: Sebastián Lelio; screenplay: Sebastián Lelio /Rebecca Lenkiewicz



Book original by Nigel Slater (Harper Perennial)

Adapted by Henry Filloux-Bennett


A Monster Calls – Book original by Patrick Ness (Walker Books); adapted by Sally Cookson for Bristol Old Vic & The Old Vic

My Name is Lucy Barton – Book original by Elizabeth Strout (Viking); adapted by Rona Munro


 WINNER: Killing Eve

Book original by Luke Jennings (As Codename Villanelle, John Murray)

Adapted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge


A Very English Scandal – Book original by John Preston (Penguin); adapted by Russell T Davies

Patrick Melrose – Book original by Edward St Aubyn (Picador); adapted by David Nicholls


 WINNER: La Belle Sauvage  (Book of Dust)

Book original by Phillip Pullman (Penguin)

Adapted by Random House Audiobooks


This Is Going To Hurt – Book original by Adam Kay (Picador); adapted by Macmillan Digital Audio

The Holy Vible – Book original by Elis James and John Robins (Trapeze); adapted by Orion Publishing Group Limited

Announcing Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira on International Women’s Day

Announcing Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira on International Women’s Day

Through the inspirational stories of 50 famous and under-celebrated women from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, South Asian girls will have a chance to dream about lives for themselves that radically differ from the limited narratives and stereotypes written for them by their culture, wider society and the mainstream media.