What inspired you to get involved with the Dulwich Literary Festival?
I am getting addicted to festivals as I tour ‘Losing it’ and have gone around the country – it will be very special to experience it on my doorstep and with such great names as well! I can see Dulwich in action without getting a train ticket.
How long have you lived in the area?
About 12 years I think. Hopped over from Brixton – a wonderful little cottage where you could leave your door open.
What made you decide to base the protagonist in your book ‘Losing it’ in Dulwich?
Ah well, I was sitting in The House of Tippler and thought it might be a great setting for ‘women who have drinks’.
The moment when Millie loses her Spanx had us howling at Around Dulwich HQ! What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
Being caught on CCTV in Covent Garden having a much-needed nifty pee pee – well I don’t have proof I was caught but I was always embarrassed every time I collected by car after that (sorry).
The book is hilarious; do people you meet on the street always expect you to be funny?
They think I’m their dentist or someone else.
Millie has a love/hate relationship with her neighbour, Harry. How well do you know your neighbours?
We live next to a lovely lady called Jeanne who was there before we were – and we have seen her grandchildren become teens, omogsh so old now.
Millie regularly frequents a bar called the Bolt Whole – is it based on any of our local watering holes?
Yes see above – House of Tippler. I knew it when it was called liquorice – different from the chains and it has good music.
Where are your favourite places to go for a tipple in the area?
Above and Franklins cos I like the scrubbed wooden tables.
Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I felt I actually HAD gone to Papaya New Guinea but have to remind myself I haven’t. It’s all totally made up regarding the characters and all, but Adrienne the trainer reminded me of a mix of a few kind trainers who have tried (and failed) with me in the past.
Who is the most famous person in your mobile phone?
Her majesty, Dawn French.
Losing It with Helen Lederer – Sunday 18th October 8.30pm
Helen Lederer is a well-known British comedian, actress and writer. Helen’s debut novel, Losing It, is written with the same wit, observational humour and bittersweet characterizations as her stand-up material. Hilariously funny, it focuses on a middle-aged woman who is divorced, in debt, over weight and so desperate to change her life that she agrees to be the front-woman for a new diet pill. Peter who has read Losing It says it’s desperately funny, desperately engaging, desperately readable and desperately adorable.’
Tickets are £12 (plus booking fee) and include a signed paperback copy of Losing It and wine!
Helen will open up the evening with a short stand up performance, talk about her book and then we’ll open up to questions and generally have a good old chat as friends.