Thursday, 28 June 2018

Bursting with Pride

June is officially Pride Month, which is the perfect excuse to celebrate and embrace our true selves. We’ve selected the very best literary events of the summer to help you discover stories that will entertain, excite and inspire you to revel in your own beautiful uniqueness. 

Championing local LGBT+ creative talent, Penguin Pride is set to be a fantastic opportunity to discover new favourites across the arts including literature, music and visual art. The evening will consist of talks, performances, exhibitions and there will even be a pop-up bookshop! Hosted by award-winning poet and playwright Toby Campion, Penguin Pride will also stop off in Brighton and Manchester this summer.

Get ready for a very special launch! Sci-fi author Becky Chambers is embarking on a UK tour to bring us Record of a Spaceborn Few, the third adventure of her diverse, loveable Wayfarer crew. Find out all about it at Waterstones on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. Discover where else she’ll be landing here!

Former Attitude editor Matt Cain’s brand new novel The Madonna of Bolton tells the heart-warming story of how one boy’s love of a certain pop star propels him to follow his dreams and stay true to himself. Matt will be discussing the book that was rejected by over 30 publishers but received overwhelming crowdfunded support. Join him at Manchester Deansgate.

It has been ten years since David Walliams published his first book The Boy in The Dress and many branches of Waterstones are celebrating with a week full of activities! At Waterstones Gateshead there will be quizzes, treasure hunts, a costume competition and a giant World’s Worst Children photo frame. 

Waterstones Islington are hosting a series of storytimes featuring picture books that celebrate self-love and acceptance. Join them on 14th July to listen to Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love and do some mermaid colouring! 

There is no better way to embrace individuality than by throwing a unicorn party. That’s exactly what Waterstones Chesham are doing! With magic, glitter and plenty of sparkly fun, this is an event that all ages will enjoy.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Springtime Round-Up

The sun is finally out and with it comes spring: a time for new life and fresh ideas. Whether you’re seeking some creative inspiration, looking for something to do with the kids during the holidays or simply craving some literary chat, we’ve rounded up a selection of the most exciting bookish events coming your way.

Fearless feminist Louise O’Neill introduces her unique reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. The Surface Breaks follows a young mermaid’s yearning to break free from her controlling father and finally find her voice. Louise will be speaking to Emma Gannon at Waterstones Piccadilly in London, where you’ll get the chance to grab a copy of The Surface Breaks before its publication.

Following the emotional rollercoaster that was her previous book Mad Girl, Bryony Gordon is back with another memoir. Eat Drink Run follows her inspirational journey from couch potato to marathon runner and how running helped her – and others – speak out about their mental health. Join Bryony at Waterstones Liverpool for what promises to be a fun and fascinating evening.

One of the most successful novelists in the UK, Anthony Horowitz brings us his new novel, an official prequel to Casino Royale. Including original material from Ian Fleming, Forever and a Day goes back to Bond’s roots and gives us a glimpse into how he became Britain’s most famous fictional spy. Anthony will be in conversation with Francesca Perryman at Waterstones Reading. To find more Anthony Horowitz events near you, see here.

Come along and listen to prolific children’s author Jacqueline Wilson as she discusses her latest Hetty Feather novel, Rose Rivers. She will also be talking about her incredibly extensive writing career and answering your questions. This promises to be a thoroughly entertaining and inspirational evening. To find more Jacqueline Wilson events near you, see here.

Inspired by the wonderful stories in both Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls and Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different, Waterstones Dundee are hosting a treasure hunt! How many characters can you finding hiding around the store? This event is suitable for children of all ages, so come along and join in the fun! 

This spring, there are numerous celebrations of everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant Elmer. At Waterstones York, there will be storytime, creative activities and even meet-and-greets with Elmer herself! To find more Elmer events near you, see here.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Literary Ladies: Events Celebrating Women in March

March is all about female empowerment and appreciation: it’s Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day on 8th and Mothering Sunday on 11th. To help you celebrate, we’ve compiled our pick of literary events to discover new stories of inspirational women, to discuss the importance of equality, and to enjoy the fantastic literature written by the female hand.

Artificial Intelligence has entered every corner of our lives and has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. But what happens when this new technology is advancing with an inbuilt sexist bias?... Find out from three brilliant speakers – leaders in their field – about how gender relates to this new wave of technology. A great #WomeninSTEM event!

In response to the global #MeToo movement, which gives a voice to women subject to sexual harassment, celebrate the launch of this specially curated poetry anthology. Poets Deborah Alma, Jill Abram, Michelle Penn and Jacqueline Saphra come to together for an evening of readings, responses and empowerment, at the launch of this important anthology, from which all proceeds will go to Women’s Aid UK.

Part of the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World festival, this event will explore today’s most
urgent and important cultural issues. Bestselling and iconic authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun and We Should All Be Feminists) and Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race) talk about the interplay between gender, feminism and race at what is sure to be an enlightening evening.

You can find the whole Women of the World (WOW) Festival catalogue here

In 1936 successful Vogue editor Marjorie Hillis published a radical self-help book for young single women, Live Alone and Like It. It took New York, and beyond, by storm, and encouraged a new wave of successful independent young women to proudly live independently. Revisit Hillis’ fascinating life story with Joanna Scutts, as she discusses her new book, The Extra Woman: How Marjorie Hillis Led a Generation of Women to Live Alone and Like It.

Can’t make this date? You can also see Joanna on 15th March at Waterstones Gower Street

Join leading human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti and author Rachel Holmes in conversation about gender equality, past and present. They will look at how far we have come since women won the vote in the UK 100 years ago, and how far we still need to go. Shami’s recent book, Of Women, is a powerful and timely polemic of why gender equality is still an urgent issue and how we can see it through.

Revel in the pleasure of eating, the joy of food, and banish the guilt! Join Great British Bake Off finalist and author, Ruby Tandoh, and writer and podcaster, Bethany Rutter, as they claim ownership and autonomy of the female body, free from the judgemental gaze of social media, and show that there is no shame in not fitting conventional beauty ideals. If that doesn’t convince you, tickets also include a complimentary glass of wine, just to prove that you can spoil yourself!

Rupi Kaur is the hottest new name on the poetry scene and her second collection, the sun and her flowers, has continued her bestselling status. Her verses on love, sex and race have attracted a wide audience and encouraged many young readers to explore poetry for the first time. In a rare UK tour, don’t miss a special evening of performance poetry with Rupi and hear her empowering lyrical voice for yourself.  

Rupi is holding numerous events across the UK, find them all here.

Books have magic powers beyond fantastical stories and the ability to keep you up all night… they can also heal – mind, body, and soul. Discover Laura Freeman’s inspirational story of how she overcame an eating disorder as she discusses her brave bibliomemoir, The Reading Cure. Book by book and meal by meal, Laura relearnt to explore and enjoy food by taking inspiration from the pages of her favourite authors – from Dickens’ plum puddings to Virginia Woolf’s blackberries and biscuits. 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Revitalised January

We’re almost halfway through January and are coming to the annual inevitability of cheating on our New Year’s Resolutions or falling off the Dry January wagon. It’s a tricky time of year to stay motivated and feel refreshed so we’ve put together our pick of events to brighten up your mind, body, and soul – after all, what could make you feel better than a shiny new book?

Lose yourself in Matt Haig’s captivating time-travelling novel, How to Stop Time. You can meet Matt at WHSmith Brighton where he will be signing copies to celebrate its release in paperback. Matt is a global bestselling author and vocal campaigner for mental health awareness, a theme which runs through his wonderful novel of love, loss, and hope. 

Think you can’t enjoy a full flavoured meal without a high calorie intake? Think again! Much-loved Michelin-starred TV chef Tom Kerridge’s latest cookbook will help you lose weight for good, without sacrificing the delicious meals you love. Hear from Tom himself at this special event in association with Chorleywood Bookshop and learn how to embrace a new, healthy approach to eating. Take home a (discounted) signed copy too! 

It may seem odd that we’ve included an event which inspires discussion about death in our ‘Revitalised January’ picks, but Kathryn Mannix’s new book is hopeful, tender, and beautifully written. Death is the biggest taboo in our society and palliative medicine pioneer Dr Mannix tackles this with touching, tragic, and sometimes funny stories of real people dying real deaths. With The End In Mind encourages talking and sharing, so why not come to this event in Newcastle to meet Dr Mannix and find out more about this fascinating book.

We are flooded by health crazes year after year, all promising to be the new and unusual way to lose weight and be healthier. Cut through the myths with authors Renee McGregor, Emma Woolf and Bee Wilson at this event questioning what it really means to ‘eat clean.’ This is a great topic for discussion and the speakers will host a Q&A after their talk, so bring all your health and diet queries.

Eat yourself happy with Melissa Hemsley’s new cookbook! Melissa is one half of the Hemsleys, bestselling authors of The Art of Eating Well and owners of the Hemsley + Hemsley cafĂ© in Selfridges. In her new solo book you’ll find delicious and healthy alternatives to takeaway favourites, which will still give you that feel-good factor. Her recipes focus on supermarket ingredients, simple dishes that everyone can cook, and bold flavours. Meet Melissa at Waterstones Edinburgh to hear all about the creation of her mouth-watering recipes.

Ruby Wax, a monk, and a neuroscientist walk into Ely Cathedral … This may sound like the set-up for a joke punchline, but it is in fact a fantastic event discussing How to Be Human, the new book from these three collaborators. Go back to basics and question what it means to be human, how our minds and brains connect, the importance of mindfulness, and whether we have started treating ourselves more like machines and less like the evolutionary wonders we are. The book is being hailed by critics as engaging, inspirational, and full of wit, and this evening in the grand setting of Ely Cathedral is sure to deliver the same!  


Rosa Park: A Balloon Away Launch | 23rd January 7:30pm

Adults and children alike will fall in love with Rosa Park's beautiful new children's book, A Balloon Away. Full of adventure, hope, and friendship, Rosa's book tells the tale of little Sona who travels to stunning new landscapes with her bear friend, Grey. Celebrate the launch of this special story at Toppings Bookshop in Bath. 

One for the kids – meet brilliant author Abi Elphinstone and find out about her dazzling new book, Sky Song, full of heart, adventure, and magic! Sky Song has been on a whirlwind journey: Abi was inspired by the story of a young girl and her eagle in Mongolia, then travelled to the Arctic tundra, and now the tale arrives at Blackwell’s Edinburgh for you to enjoy! 

Monday, 8 January 2018

Kimberley Chambers Interview

Some people are made for a life of crime...
Dragged up on a council estate, Jason Rampling was determined to change his lot. Jason's a chancer, shameless with his good looks and his gift for earning a few quid. Life is easy when the money rolls in. 

Some people are ruined by it...
Melissa thought she'd struck gold marrying Jason. Being on his arm meant she was finally a someone. But there's no glamour in waiting for your husband to come home, or waiting for a knock on the door. Melissa made her bed the day she made her vows - will she lie in it without a fight?

Some would kill for it...
After a stretch inside, Jason wants to pull off just one last job, the biggest of all, it could solve all of their problems. But this is a game that could cost them everything...

We can't wait to read Life of Crime, the gripping new title from the Queen of Gangland Crime, Kimberley Chambers. We caught up with Kimberley to find out about her new book and what you can look forward to on the book tour! 

You can find all of Kimberley's upcoming events here, including signings, talks, and chats with her favourite authors at venues across the country.

We can’t wait to read your new book Life Of Crime! Please tell us a little bit about your inspiration for writing it and what we can expect.

Having just come away from a gangland crime series I wanted to do something a little bit different.  The first scene of Life Of Crime is set in the Dagenham Sunday market, a place I used to work. Jason Rampling works on a shoe stall and is a bit of a chancer. He has a choice to make: love or money. The choice he makes changes his life forever, and is how he ends up in a life of crime…

What is a writing day like for you?

 I normally write of an evening. On a good day, I get up and go to the gym, have lunch and take the dogs out, then have a bit of a siesta. I usually start writing late afternoon and will write through the evening, often to the early hours. My previous jobs include DJ-ing and mini-cabbing, and I used to do the night shift – I’ve always been a night owl.

At BookGig we are passionate about bringing readers closer to the authors they love at events across the country. As both an author and reader, why do you think this is important?

Writing can be quite a solitary life and it’s amazing to get out and meet my readers, as well as the people I’ve connected with on social media.  It’s lovely to meet people face-to-face. I enjoy doing talks at libraries, as the people who come to my talks are passionate about my books. I recently did a talk at Styal Prison in Cheshire. My books are popular in the library there.
The inmates were so passionate about my characters and stories they could practically recite them word for word. One of my books was also featured in World Book Night, which aims to get people reading from all walks of life, and that’s really important to me. Finding a love of reading can help you through the tough times in life.

 Do you have a particular memory from a talk or signing event that sticks in your mind?

Early on in my career I did some events to a large group of very posh Jewish ladies – little did they know that my old boss on Roman Road market taught me some Yiddish slang which wasn’t to be repeated in good company! So, there was a few shocked faces in that crowd when I sprinkled it through my talk. Still makes me chuckle now.  I’m a little better behaved these days, mind.

     What’s the best thing about meeting your fans?
I don’t see my readers as fans – probably because I come from a council estate and am as down to earth as they come. I love meeting my readers face-to-face and we often pop to the pub after my talks or signings – so come and join us, the more the merrier!   

     Do you spend a lot of time in bookshops? What makes a bookshop special for you?

I don’t spend too much time in bookshops as I’m usually busy writing, but I love unique independents. My first event was Newham Bookshop so that remains special and close to my heart. I met Gilda O’Niell there, she was a lovely lady but unfortunately has since passed away.

We can see that your dog Fred often joins you at events and is a big hit with fans! If you could choose any author to do join you for a literary chat, who would it be?

Fred outshines me by a mile. Whenever I come back from events I come home with a case of treats and presents people have given me to bring back for Fred. Now he has a sister, Doll, I’m even further down in the pecking order! 

On my upcoming book tour I’m really looking forward to doing events with some author pals and legends – check out for all the dates and authors I’m on tour with.  If I had to choose an author I haven’t been on tour with it would have to be Jilly Cooper.  I’m a big fan of her books, I loved Riders, Rivals and Polo and recently had the great pleasure of meeting her at the WHSmith Anniversary Gala Ball.

Did you read any books over Christmas?

Yes, my favourite was The Woman in the Window, by AJ Finn – I was lucky to get an early copy sent by my publishers and I couldn’t put it down. It’s out a few weeks after Life of Crime is published and I’d highly recommend it.  

What sort of storylines of yours can we be looking forward to in the near future?

My next book is very different to anything I’ve written before, I’m currently a third of the way through it. It’s about a young lad who, in the first few chapters of the story, finds his life is turned upside when he loses everything. And one very cruel act means he’ll spend the rest of his life hell bent on revenge.  This book is set in the 70s and 80s, two of my favourite decades to write in. I love the music and fashion of those days and the world was a better place back then.

You can follow Kimberley on her Twitter and Facebook pages. 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Festive Events

December is here and we can't resist the festive season any longer... Christmas is officially around the corner. Take a break from buying, wrapping, ripping the paper, and rewrapping, and indulge in a literary event with some of your favourite authors. You may even come away with a bookish Christmas treat! 

If you’re more poetry than prose, why not get into the festive cheer at this evening of seasonal poetry with Toppings Books? Featuring a mixture of anthology favourites and unpublished works, there’ll be plenty of material to light up the Christmas spirit in even the most bah-humbug Grinch! 

Still looking for that perfect present for someone? Feel like you deserve a treat amidst the Christmas chaos? Whatever genre of books you’ve been enjoying this year, you’re bound to find one of your favourite authors at Waterstones Kings Road and Piccadilly Customer Evenings. With the likes of Stephen Fry, Michael Rosen, Victoria Hislop, Maggie O’Farrell, Giovanna Fletcher, and Adam Kay attending, this is the perfect opportunity to meet your literary heroes and maybe even have a chat over a mince pie!

You can never have too much Christmas trivia to share while pulling crackers and tucking into your turkey! Paul Kerensa’s Hark! The Biography of Christmas provides hours of entertaining festive facts and seasonal stories. Grab a signed copy at Waterstones Waverley – the perfect stocking filler for the ‘know-it-all’ in your life.

Make this Christmas truly magical from head to toe with Tanya Burr’s festive inspiration for gifts, decorations, recipes and much more in her new book, Tanya’s Christmas. The much-loved YouTuber, author, and actor will be at Jarrod’s signing copies of her yuletide bible – the perfect gift for a loved one, or even for yourself!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… be whisked away in a flurry of snow to Italy, Finland, Russia and beyond in Kenneth Steven’s timeless Winter Tales. Aptly taking place on the first official day of winter, and with only a few days to go until the 25th, take a break from last-minute wrapping and enjoy a reading of Kenneth’s short stories which provide laughter, tears, and wonder.

Get the kids into the Christmas spirit too...

Tis the season to be jolly! – BUT mystery still lurks in the air in Robin Steven’s latest ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ novel… Get your detective caps on for a Christmas crime in Mistletoe and Murder! Come along to Children’s at Heffers to meet Robin and get your copy signed. You might even be visiting the scene of the crime, because Heffers Bookshop features in the book…

Christmas is just around the corner – can you hear the sleigh bells twinkling, can you smell the chestnuts roasting? Join in with plenty of festive activities as children’s author Tracey Corderoy helps you get into the festive spirit.  Stories and crafts galore!