Finchley Literary Festival 2014

Welcome! This year's festival has many new events taking place in Finchley throughout the week 24th-31st May. Alex Wheatle MBE, Caitlin Davies, Rosie Fiore, Maggie Butt and Miriam Halamy will be among the authors, poets and local writers appearing at the festival this year. This year's theme is: Men Writing Women and Women Writing Men - we'll be discussing such issues as whether writing in third person opposite sex is really writing in a different gender or is just observation. 

Most of the events are FREE and this is partly due to the generosity of our sponsors, Finchley Society, Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), Squires Estates and Waitrose.

There will be a Finchley Lit Fest Quiz, 3rd May 7.30pm, to be held at the Scout Hut, Grove Road, North Finchley, N12 9EA. We have an excellent quiz master, tickets are £5.00. You can either come along and join a table or organise your own table of six.

For further information about the quiz or events, contact:

Saturday 31st May 
10.30am-12.30pm - Develop Your Online Author Profile:
A Blogging & Twitter Workshop with Emily Benet
Stephens House & Gardens, Finchley N3 3QE

The workshop will explore ways of developing your online presence to build a readership and increase your chances of publication. It will focus on blogging and using Twitter to best effect. There will be plenty of tips and advice! To reserve a place at this workshop see link below or email: Tickets £15.00

Emily Benet is blogger turned author. Her books include Shop Girl Diaries Short Stories for Busy Adults and Blogging for Beginners. She has just signed a 2 book deal with Harper Collins' imprint Harper Impulse.
Eventbrite - Develop Your Online Author Profile - Blogging & Twitter Workshop

Saturday 31st May - Main Event
Tickets for this event are £5.00 and include a delicious tea or coffee & Danish pastry.
To buy your ticket see link below or send £5.00 cheque payable to:
Greenacre Project, 25 Chislehurst Ave, London N12 0HU include SAE.

Eventbrite - Finchley Literary Festival
2.00-4.45pm - Main Event
With Caitlin Davies, Alex Wheatle MBE and Rosie Fiore 
Stephens House & Gardens, Finchley N3 3QE
Alex Wheatle      Caitlin Davies        Rosie Fiore
Caitlin Davies is the author  of five novels, including The Ghost of Lily Painter (2011), which is is based in part on a true story - two Edwardian baby farmer who were hanged at Holloway Prison in 1903. Caitlin has also written five non-fiction books, and several short stories

Alex Wheatle (MBE) is the author of several novels. His first book, Brixton Rock (1999), tells the story of a 16-year old boy of mixed race, in 1980s Brixton. Its sequel, Brenton Brown, was published in 2011. In 2010, he wrote the one-man autobiographical performance, Uprising.Alex Wheatle was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2008.
Rosie Fiore is the author of two bestselling novels and a novella, all published by Quercus, and two novels published by Struik in South Africa. Her novels This Year’s Black and Babies in Waiting were both long-listed for the Times Literary Awards in South Africa. She also works as a blogger and copywriter. Rosie lives in Mill Hill with her husband and two sons.

Greenacre Writers Will be reading from their writing as well as Greenacre Guests: 
Emily Benet and Andrea Michael

4.45-6pm - Panel
When a Man Writes a Woman and When a Woman Writes a Man
Alex Wheatle, Caitlin Davies, Rosie Fiore, Miriam Halahmy.  
Chaired by Allen Ashley. 
There will be an opportunity for audience questions also.

More events are listed below in date order:

Saturday 24th May
3.00-5.00pm CliFi for Kids with Sarah Holding
East Finchley Library, N2 9BB

Sarah Holding, author of the children’s eco-adventure series The SeaBEAN Trilogy, will run a creative writing workshop for kids aged 8-14, in which she will also read an extract from SeaBEAN and answer questions about writing in the new genre of clifi (aka climate change fiction). 

Sarah has worked as a postman, an architect, a university professor and an urban development consultant, She is now a full-time children’s author, juggling writing with looking after a family of three children. They live in Surrey in a funny old house with a leaning tower. This workshop is FREE - Register below:

Saturday 24th May
7.00-9.00pm Poetry Palooza with Anna Meryt - Cafe Buzz, N12 8JY
Join Anna Meryt with Miriam Halahmy, Anne Marie Cooper, and Anne Ballard (coordinator of Highgate Poets) as well as musicians at the lovely Cafe Buzz in North Finchley to launch the Finchley Literary Festival week! An evening of performance poetry and music - by experienced North London poets, writers and musicians. Quarante-Deux play entertaining 1920s-30s swing jazz inspired by the music of the Quintette of the Hot Club of France and Miranda Mayston a solo female singer/guitar player, will help launch the Finchley Literary Festival week! Come for an evening of fun and entertainment!

Suggest donation on the door £3
Sunday 25th May
3.00-5.00pm GW Anthology Launch - Cafe Buzz, N12 8JY

Come to friendly Café Buzz to hear extracts from Greenacre Writers Anthology Vol 3 read by the authors while you sip a cappuccino or try a delicious Café Buzz cake with your Sunday afternoon tea.

The anthology contains the six winning stories from Greenacre Writers 2013 International Short Story competition, judged by Alex Wheatle, alongside short stories showcasing the work of Greenacre Writers members.

The anthology will be on sale at the reduced launch price of £5.00 (normal price: £6.99) Please note we can take cash or cheques only.

Tue 27th May 
2.00-4.00pm - Meet the authors: Miriam Halahmy, Gina Blaxill, and  Lil Chase - Waterstones, Finchley N12 8JY

Come to Finchley Waterstones, on Tuesday May 27th from 2.00pm onwards and meet three Young Adult authors. 

We will be at the bookshop all afternoon to talk about books, sign books, answer questions about books and chat about anything else that crosses your mind. Come and collect free bookmarks and postcards, buy books and generally hang out in your local high street bookshop. All welcome.

Tuesday 27th May
3.00-4.30pm - How to Kill your Darlings with Bettina Von Cossel
Church End Library, N3 1TR

An author should only write about the things he knows. This is an impossible task for the crime writer, unless he is a serial killer. So how can he step into the killer’s shoes without coming across as a fake on paper? Which murder weapon should he choose, and why? 

Bettina von Cossel’s talk will give you invaluable insights into the life of a crime writer and the Do’s and Don’ts if you want to kill on paper.
Tuesday 27th May
6.00-7.30pm- A Way Forward through Self-Publishing with Liz Goes and Linda Louisa Dell 
North Finchley Library,  N12 9HP

Liz and Linda will be discussing why and how they chose self publishing. Liz will be talking about her experiences as she searched for a ‘traditional’ publisher and why she finally decided to go ahead with ‘print on demand’ assisted self-publication. Linda will share her top tips for self-publishing.
This event is now FULL

Wednesday 28th May
10.30- 11.15am / 11.30-12.15pm Write Here, Write Now!
Creative Writing for Kids with A.L. Michael  
Friern Community Library, N11 3DS

Create some stories this half term with writer A.L.Michael! Come along and race against time to create a story with The Sixty Second Scribble. Create the scariest villain or most brilliant superhero with The Prop Detective! Then roll The Story Dice to find your setting and get ready to write!

Two 45 min sessions of writing games and activities to get young minds imagining!  Ages 6+ No need to book, just drop in!
(Limit of 20 kids per session)

A.L. Michael is an author and a creative workshop facilitator from Mill Hill. She runs classes in writing and wellbeing, as well as teen and kids creative classes. Her first book, Wine Dark, Sea Blue, was published by Stairwell Books in May 2013, her next one The Last Word, will be published by Carina UK in April 2014. She has a penchant for shiny things and drinks far too much tea.

Wednesday 28th May
2.00-3.30pm Charles Dickens: Walking and talking in the green lanes of Finchley, Hendon and Barnet with         Theresa Musgrove Church End Library, N3 1TR                                                                                                                               Theresa Musgrove alias Mrs Angry, of Broken Barnet, will be talking about her research into Charles Dickens' relationship with our leafy borough
Wednesday 28th May
6.30-8.00pm Finchley Literary Slide Show with Mr Greenacres
Church End Library , N3 1TR

Mr Greenacres is a founder member of the Greenacre Project and a regular contributor to The Greenacre Times. He writers the popular Mr Greenacres column. He has charted and photographed every green space in the area and regularly gives talks and slides shows as well as leading walks. For the festival he will be combining his knowledge of green spaces with literature and presenting a slide show with literary readings.

Thursday 29th May
1.00pm-4.00pm (2 sessions) The Reader Organisation with Ruth Cohen
North Finchley Library N12 9HP 

Try coming to a taster “Get into Reading” group, being developed across Barnet. This is an innovative shared reading model, bringing people together in weekly groups to listen to poems and stories read aloud. Thoughts and experiences are shared; personal and social connections are made.

There will be two sessions lasting one hour, max. 9 people each, and  starting promptly  at 1.00 pm and 2.30pm

First Session starting at 1pm:
Eventbrite - The Reader Organisation - Starting at 1pm

Second session starting at 2.30pm:
Eventbrite - The Reader Organisation - Starting at 2.30pm

Thursday 29th May
2.00-4.00pm - How to get your poetry published 
with Maggie Butt - East Finchley Library, N2 9BB

Maggie Butt takes you through the things she wishes she'd known when she started out in the curious world of poetry publishing, from magazines and competitions to pamphlet and book publication, readings and festivals. Using the story of her own experience, she takes you through the highs and lows, the mistakes and successes and reads a few poems from her books.

The workshop will be followed by an Open Mike. Poets welcome to read one poem of up to 40 lines.
Eventbrite - How to get your Poetry Published with Maggie Butt

Thursday 29th May
7.00-8.30pm Ally Pally Prison with Maggie Butt   
Friern Barnet Community Library, N11 3DS

A multi-voice, illustrated presentation from Maggie Butt’s surprising and moving first world war history, 'Ally Pally Prison Camp'. 

Maggie Butt’s book and presentation combines the prisoners’ own words from letters and memoirs, with evocative photographs, full colour paintings by internee George Kenner and her own poems.

“This haunting mélange of words and pictures movingly conveys a forgotten story of hurt and injustice.”  Juliet Gardiner, historian and writer.
Maggie grew up in North London, and still lives in Southgate, so has been aware of Ally Pally all her life. Alexandra Palace in North London was a ‘concentration camp’ for 3,000 civilian internees from 1915 to 1919.  Many of them had grown up in England and very few of
them spoke German. Many had English wives and children and others owned businesses in England. But they were locked up as ‘enemy aliens’ for four long years. This illustrated, multi-voice presentation combines their own words from letters and memoirs, with evocative
photographs, plus full colour paintings by internee George Kenner and poems by Maggie Butt.

Friday 30th May
10.30am Literary Finchley - Guided Walk with Paul Baker
Meet Finchley Central Station, N3 2RY

An ancient road links two villages, Church End and East End, better known today as Finchley Central and East Finchley. Along the way, you'll see lands once owned by the Knights Templar, and a former Manor House which is haunted by a suspected lover of Anne Boleyn. You'll also see Finchley's connections to famous writers -- Charles Dickens, Sir Edmund Gosse and Will Self, amongst others -- and painters -- William Hogarth, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Ford Madox Brown. We'll also hear about the writings of Inky Stephens, and the close connection between his father and one of the greatest and most dearly loved of the Romantic poets.
£5.00 - pay on the day. 

Friday 30th May
2.00-4.00pm Dragon's Pen with Gillian Stern, Cari Rosen and Mary Musker - Church End Library, N3 1TR

Come and pitch your ideas for a short story, novel or memoir to Finchley’s own literary Dragons. Read us a short extract or synopsis and we will ask you some questions and give you instant, constructive feedback.

Will you win one of our golden notebooks and a chance to be mentored? TWO PLACES LEFT!

The literary Dragons:
Gillian Stern is an Editor and Ghostwriter working mainly for Bloomsbury.
Cari Rosen writes for a number of publications and websites (including The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times, The Express) and the author of two novels: The Secret Diary of a New Mum (Aged 43 1/4) and The New Granny's Survival Guide.

Mary Musker is a graphic designer specialising in web applications, and in her spare time is Chair of the Garden Suburb Theatre.

Eventbrite - Dragon's Pen

Friday 30th May
4.00-6.00pm Getting Started with Allen Ashley - North Finchley Library, N12 9HP

A family friendly writing workshop with award-winning editor and experienced tutor 
Allen Ashley; suitable for all ages from 7 to 97. 

Find out how to generate ideas and explore some simple methods to get started on your writing in this practical workshop. No previous experience necessary. 
You will be writing within 5 minutes! FREE workshop, register below.

Allen Ashley is an award-winning writer and editor as well as a prize-winning poet. He has had ten books published as author or editor. A supporter of last year’s Greenacre Writers Festival, he is back doing even more this time around! 
This event is now FULL

Friday 30th May
7.00-10.00pm Spoken Word - Friern Barnet Community Library, N11 3DS

Donation of £3 requested for this event. “Spoken Word Showcase” hosted by Allen Ashley. Including readings from Amy Bird, Andrea Michael, Bill Todd, and Michelle Shine. Come along and hear a great range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction from Festival writers and local authors. Reading spots allocated on strictly first come, first served basis. 

Enquiries to Allen on


We have excellent news regarding the venue for Finchley Literary Festival's main event and workshop on Saturday 31st May 2014. 

We are delighted to be holding this at the beautiful Stephens House and Gardensin Finchley - former home of Henry Stephens, of Stephen's Ink fame. How many famous writers have used Stephens ink? 

Another literary link is Henry Stephens' friendship with John Keats when they were medical students. Sadly, we can't claim that Keats penned his poems with the famous ink, as he had died before its manufacture.

We are very pleased that Stephens House and Gardens* is sponsoring this event.

*Formerly Avenue House

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