Helen Lederer

by Helen Lederer

I’ve discovered there are consequences to publishing a book. No more is there a mad dash in and dash out of a book shop or even a lazy browse. Now I skulk about wondering if my book is stocked, and if it is, I debate whether I should yank it out of the shelf to make it look more prominent on a table – or wonder if I might bribe the book shop to allow me stand at the door and direct people to my signed copies before suggesting they might like to write me five star reviews on amazon. Actually I do none of these (no really, I don’t) but I have learned about the wonders of the world of the Literary Festival. All year I have been discovering more pleasures as I travel to different towns and meet amazing people who make these events happen. The best bit (for me) is actually meeting and talking to the readers who have actually read my book and share a glass of wine or two in these friendly and convivial settings. I call these Literary Festivals ‘stand-up comedy but with less jokes and more love’.

So imagine my extra delight to be invited to take part in such a festival in my very own postcode. The Dulwich Literary Festival has not only been brave enough to invite me to talk about ‘Losing It’, which is my first comedy novel about a woman who is in debt, divorced and desperate (moi?). But it will also allow me to experience some stunning authors who are also going to be in Dulwich this year.

I was lucky to attend Kate Mosse’s book launch at the Horniman Museum and became beguiled by furry people dressed as animals and experienced a real ‘happening’ around Kates new book ‘The Taxidermist’. What other postcode could host such a magical event? It’s exciting to note that the festival has attracted an amazing line-up including not only Kate Mosse, Vince Cable, Prue Leith and Huw Edwards, but also Melvyn Bragg! People will be cancelling their holidays no doubt to get a piece of this literary action – where debate, chat and general awe is guaranteed.

I’ve lived in Dulwich for 14 years and seen the bistro pubs come (and go) along the lane and often wonder what it would be like to live anywhere else. But this will be my first Dulwich Literary Festival along with my first book and er…my first nomination for the PG Wodehouse comedy literary prize (and no I didn’t get it) but hey – it’s not the winning it’s the taking people apart that counts….

Can’t wait to see you over a glass and a book.


Dulwich Literary Festival Events

After The Storm with Vince Cable: Friday 16 October in The Old Library Dulwich College at 7pm

Vince Cable’s bestselling book, The Storm, explored and explained the causes of the 2008 world economic crisis and how Britain should respond to the great challenges it brought.

Tickets are £18.99 for entry + signed hardback copy of After The Storm, or £8.00 entry only. (plus booking fee).

Phoenix Comic Workshops: Saturday 17 October 9.30 – Noon

Would you like to draw cartoons? or learn how to be a Phoenix Comic illustrator? Come along to a Phoenix Comic workshops on Saturday 17th October and find out how.

The workshops will take place in The Old Library in Dulwich College. Each workshop will have no more than 30 children sat at round tables. Pencils and paper are provided.

Tickets are £10 per workshop.

Workshop 1
9.30am – 10.30am – Garden Critters & Crazy Jitters cartoon workshop aimed at children 7 – 9 years of age with Gary Northfield.

Workshop 2
9.30am – 10.30am – Making Monster Mayhem cartoon workshop aimed at children 9 – 12 years of age with Jamie Littler.

Workshop 3
11am – Noon – Garden Critters & Crazy Jitters cartoon workshop aimed at children 9 – 12 years of age with Gary Northfield.

Workshop 4
11am – Noon – Making Monster Mayhem cartoon workshop aimed at children 7 – 9 years of age with Jamie Littler.

Shackleton: Endurance We Conquer talk by Michael Smith on Saturday 17 October 1.30pm

Michael Smith talk/reading is built around the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his biography, Shackleton – By Endurance We Conquer.

Tickets are £9.99 for entry & a paperback copy of Shackleton or £6.00 for entry. (+booking fee)

Afternoon Tea with Prue Leith: Saturday 17 October 4pm

Join us on Saturday 17 October for afternoon tea and hear Prue Leith talk about her novel, The Food Of Love.

Tickets are £15.00 for entry + signed hardback copy of The Food of Love & afternoon tea or £8.00 entry & afternoon tea only. (plus booking fee)

INTO THE WILD WOODS – A STORYTELLING ADVENTURE: Saturday 17 October 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Join Pushkin Children’s Books and storyteller Vanessa Woolf, as they invite us into the world of Tonke Dragt ‒ author of the international bestselling children’s classic The Letter for the King, and forthcoming sequel The Secrets of the Wild Wood.

Tickets are £5.00, (booking fee applies) bookable online: www.dulwichliteraryfestival.co.uk

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: David Adam on life and OCD

Have you ever had a strange urge to jump from a tall building, or steer your car into oncoming traffic? You are not alone. In this fusion of science, history and personal memoir, writer David Adam talks to Adam Rutherford about the peculiar thoughts that exist within every mind, and how they image drive millions of us towards obsessions and compulsions.

Bringing together the latest research, historical cases and his own journey through 20 years of living with OCD, David gives a refreshingly honest view of the power of interfering thoughts whilst challenging our preconceptions of ‘normality’ and ‘mental illness’.

David’s critically acclaimed book, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Royal Society Winton Book Prize. This event is being held in partnership with The Royal Society.

Tickets are £10 and include a paperback copy of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop

Religion, London & the BBC with Huw Edwards: Sunday 18 October 10.30 – noon

Join us on Sunday 18th October at 10.30am and hear Huw Edwards share with you his thoughts in a talk that combines themes including early Nonconformist congregations in London, some 18th century London history and also some stuff on the BBC and the way the media covers religion.

Tickets are £15 which includes a signed paperback copy of City Mission or £8.00 entry ticket. (plus booking fee)

Brexit: Should Britian Leave or Stay? with Denis MacShane in conversation: Sunday 18 October at 1pm

Join us on Sunday 18th October to hear Denis MacShane discuss the pros and cons of a Britain in Europe. Will Britain leave the EU? Following the Conservative victory in the 2015 General Election, the question of ‘Brexit’ – a British exit from the EU – is high on the political agenda. In this book, former Europe Minister Denis MacShane looks at the history of Britain’s fraught relationship with Europe and shows how the possibility of Brexit has become increasingly more likely. He looks at the key personalities who shaped Britain’s European policy – from Churchill to Heath and Wilson to Thatcher, Blair and Cameron – and the key issues of immigration and the economy which have heightened Eurosceptic feeling in the UK.

Tickets are £10.00 (booking fee applies) and includes a copy of Brexit.

Kate Mosse in Conversation with Emma Darwin: Sunday 18 October 3.30pm 

Kate Mosse is an international bestselling author with sales of more than five million copies in 42 languages. Her fiction includes the novels Labyrinth, Sepulchre, The Winter Book, Ghosts, and Citadel, as well as an acclaimed collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales.

Tickets are £12.00 (plus booking fee) for entry + a paperback copy of The Taxidermist’s Daughter.

Melvyn Bragg: Sunday 18 October 6pm in Old Library Dulwich College

Critically acclaimed author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg will discuss his latest novel Now is the Time, a rich and compelling tale set in the heart of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.

Tickets are £18.99 for entry + a signed hardback copy of Now Is The Time or entry only for £10.00. (plus booking fee).

Losing It with Helen Lederer: Sunday 18 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.

Tickets can be booked online at www.dulwichliteraryfestival.co.uk via email to dulwichbooks@yahoo.co.uk, via telephone on 020 8670 1920, or pop into Dulwich Books on Croxted Road SE21 8SW