Arts & Culture Events

Bookfest: 200 years of Jane Austen – and science fiction futures

By Mary Wells

As the long winter nights fall your thoughts may turn towards curling up with a good book, or even writing one.

This year’s Wirral Bookfest will see local libraries throw open their doors to welcome authors, readers and aspiring writers in search of literary entertainment and inspiration.

Jane Austen fans are in for a treat because the 200th anniversary of her death, on July 18 1817, has inspired three events at Birkenhead Library.

  • Celebrate the art of letter writing by penning your own at the Jane Austen writing bureau between October 9 and 12.
  • Jane Austen 200 and not out is the title of an hour long talk by David Richardson of the Jane Austen Society starting at 1:30 on October 11. (200 not out? England should take her to Australia for The Ashes series.)
  • Thrills and quills: Jane Austen’s life in letters, at 2:30pm on October 25, features LipService theatre wondering, amongst other things, what Jane might have tweeted if Regency England had been social media mad. 

Beyond Jane Austen Bookfest features 12 diverse author events, covering genres from horror to humour and science fiction to romance.

Writers supporting the event this year include:

  • Maureen Lee, the popular author whose books are set in her home city of Liverpool.
  • Crime-writer Kate Ellis, who was recently short-listed for The Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library 2017 award.
  • Wirral’s very own prince of darkness, horror writer, Ramsey Campbell.

Other writers involved include science fiction expert, Andy Sawyer; historical fiction writer, Elizabeth Gates; and Diane Hinds, who has written a book called ‘How to Promote your Book’…which presumably includes the good advice: appear at events like Bookfest.

Ramsey Campbell

This is the complete line-up:

October 3, 2pm:  Elizabeth Gates: Taming the Wolf within: from idea to publication Heswall Library

October 4, 2.30pm:  Stephen May: Stronger than skin Seacombe Library

October 5, 6pm:  Ramsey Campbell: Fifty years of fear Birkenhead Central Library

October 9, 2pm:  Maureen Lee in conversation Bebington Library

October 11, 2pm:  Diane Hinds: How to promote your book Moreton Library

October 16, 2.30pm:  David Hewitt: Joseph, 1917 Rock Ferry Library

October 16, 6pm:  Andy Sawyer: Something in the Water? Liverpool science fiction Wallasey Central Library

October 19, 6pm:  Angela Brabin: The trial of Dr Tomanzie Wallasey Central Library

October 23, 2pm:  Kate Ellis: Writing crime, past and present West Kirby Library

October 26, 2pm:  Shirley Jones: Jane Austen A Life in Letters Bromborough Library

October 27, 2pm:  Dean Johnson: Tessimond’s Cats and Fiddles Wallasey Village Library

October 30, 6pm:  Howard White and Ian Sloan: Being Morose West Kirby Library

All events are free, with refreshments kindly provided by the Friends of Wirral Libraries. To book email elainewilson@wirral.gov.uk, or call Elaine on 0151 639 2334 or 07785 502 018.