Bookfest is coming to Cuckfield (2017)

By Sheila Mortimer

The speakers are booked, the programme is printed and tickets will shortly be available for the first Cuckfield Book Festival. It opens on Friday 6th October 2017 with supper at Ockenden Manor, and then over the next two days there is a packed programme of talks, discussions and workshops, plus sessions for children upstairs in the Queen’s Hall. The range of authors who have agreed to come is remarkably wide: Adrian Tinniswood talking about The Long Weekend and recounting the tumultuous and scandalous history of English country houses during the years between the two World Wars; Andrew Lownie’s biography of Guy Burgess which the Daily Mail called ‘a more compelling page-turner than any spy thriller’ and Damian Barr who wrote a memoir of his childhood, Maggie and Me, about which JoJo Moyes said: ‘it should be required reading’.

Download the Cuckfield Bookfest 2017 programme here

Download the Cuckfield Bookfest 2017 programme here

We all remember the Great Storm of 1987, and Tamsin Treverton Jones has written a compelling portrait of this extraordinary event which she will be discussing with Sue Cook, the well-known broadcaster. Elly Griffiths, famous for her crime fiction, will be talking about The Chalk Garden, the latest in her bestselling series about Dr Ruth Galloway. 

Other writers include Gavin Mortimer, Harry Mount, Anthony Seldon and Anne Sebba. Two young authors will be discussing Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, both of them as popular as ever.

The last event on Saturday features the renowned actress Harriet Walter, who will be talking about her book Brutus and Other Heroines, which explains why Dame Harriet has decided to tackle Shakespeare’s mature male roles.

Add to the mix, a book about the Impressionist world by Catherine Hewitt, an explanation of the art of ghostwriting from Andrew Crofts, moderators such as Julian Worricker, Sue Stapely, Alan Judd and Howard Leader, and we hope you agree that the programme is full of interest.

Two local children’s authors, Sally Symes and Jill Lewis, will run events especially for children upstairs in the Queen’s Hall and there will be fascinating sessions for all young dinosaur fans, held in conjunction with Cuckfield Museum.

As with all events in Cuckfield, the success of Bookfest will rely on volunteers, so if you are interested in getting involved, please contact Sheila Chasser at

We look forward to welcoming you to lots of events. 

PS – Waitrose in Haywards Heath has agreed to make Cuckfield Bookfest part of its Community Matters in August, so do please support Bookfest in that way too.