On Thursday 9th February Frances Gibb, award-winning journalist, former legal editor of The Times and Aldeburgh resident, will talk about her book A Time and a Place: George Crabbe, Aldeburgh and Suffolk (2022). Her book considers eighteenth-century surgeon-apothecary and poet George Crabbe. She writes about his religious faith, romantic love, opium addiction and frequent creative struggles. Crabbe is well known for The Borough, a collection of poems arranged as letters and including ‘Peter Grimes’ (Letter XXII), the tale of a sadistic fisherman which inspired Benjamin Britten’s opera of the same name. Frances Gibb retired from her position at The Times in 2019 after nearly 40 years to focus on her own writing. She still contributes occasional freelance articles for The Times and for other publications including the Spectator and The Sunday Times. There’s more about Frances here
On Wednesday 8th March we’ll welcome Natasha Brown. After studying Maths at Cambridge University, Natasha spent a decade working in financial services. She then had a radical career change, developing her 2021 debut novel Assembly after receiving a London Writers Award in the literary fiction category. Assembly appeared on many ‘Best of 2021’ lists. It was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, shortlisted for the Folio Prize, the Betty Trask Award, the Goldsmiths Prize (for work that ‘breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form’) as well as the Orwell Prize (for ‘political fiction’). Read more here
On Wednesday 19th April Sophie Green, author of the popular Potkin and Stubbs spooky detective series, will visit Suffolk Book League. Originally trained as a zoologist, Sophie is interested in urban legends and folklore. In 2020 Potkin and Stubbs was shortlisted for the Crime Fest Best Crime Novel for Children and the Concorde Book Award. Sophie’s other career is as librarian for Suffolk Libraries and she works to promote children’s literature and Reading for Pleasure in her home county, Suffolk. More about Sophie here
On Thursday 11th May we will be hosting Hannah Lowe, author of The Kids (2021) which won the Costa Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her collection of poems was inspired by her time working with sixth formers in London. She drew on her father’s Chinese-Jamaican heritage in her collections Chick (2013), Chan (2016) and in her memoir Long Time No See (2015). Hannah has a Masters in Refugee Studies, researching into the historicising of the Empire Windrush and post-war Caribbean migration to Britain. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and lectures at Brunel University. The Society of Authors gave her the Cholmondeley Award and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. More about Hannah’s work and life here
On Wednesday 5th July we will meet Matt Howard. His first collection, Gall, was published by The Rialto in 2018 and won the poetry category in the 2018 East Anglian Book Awards, was shortlisted in the 2019 Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Prize and won Best First Collection in the inaugural Laurel Prize in 2020. He has been poet in residence at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and The Wordsworth Trust and after 11 years working for the RSPB, is now the Douglas Caster Poetry Fellow at the University of Leeds. He is still fully involved in conservation and conservation and the arts as a volunteer, not least by helping RSPB frame its cultural engagement strategy. Currently he is developing Lines of Migration, an innovative international poetry translation project. Read about it here
On Wednesday 13th September Sophie Haydock will talk about The Flames. (2022). Her debut novel won the Impress Prize for New Writers. It is about the four ‘muses’ who posed for the controversial artist Egon Schiele in Vienna more than a century ago. Sophie curates an Instagram page to celebrate the women who were painted by Schiele. She writes that they are ‘His fiery little sister Gertrude, his sensual and independent muse and lover Vally Neuzil, and the well-to-do sisters ... Adele and Edith Harms’. Sophie trained as a journalist and has worked for the Sunday Times, Tatler, the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Arts Council, Royal Academy and Sotheby’s. She is associate director of the Word Factory literary organisation. More about her here
On Thursday 5th October Diana Souhami will discuss No Modernism without Lesbians (2020), winner of the 2021 Polari Prize and a Sunday Times Book of the Year. Her book is a group biography about Sylvia Beach, Bryher, Natalie Barney and Gertrude Stein, four important and, sometimes, shocking women who significantly influenced the Modernist movement and the cultural life of pre-war Paris. Diana is a prizewinning and prolific biographer, playwright and fiction writer. Her books include Gluck, Gertrude and Alice, Greta and Cecil, Mrs Keppel and her Daughter, The Trials of Radclyffe Hall, Selkirk’s Island, Wild Girls, Coconut Chaos, Edith Cavell, Murder at Wrotham Hill and Gwendolen. More details here
On Wednesday 1st November, as close as we could get to Halloween, Simon Loxley will introduce us to his book, A Geography of Horror: the Ghost Stories of M. R. James and the Suffolk Landscape. M. R. James’s classic, spine-tingling tales took the genre of supernatural horror out of its traditional gothic settings into the everyday to make the mundane terrifying. Some of his best stories use the landscape of Suffolk, a county he knew and loved, particularly its coastline. The book examines James’ work and its relationship to the genre, focusing in particular on the Suffolk stories and their geography. Simon is also a graphic designer, educator, lecturer and writes on design history and typography. Read more here
On Wednesday 6th December we’ll welcome Jessie Greengrass. Her recent novel The High House (2021), about the fragilities and strengths of family in the face of the climate crisis, is set in the near-future in a flooded England (possibly Suffolk). It was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award, the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and the Royal Society for Literature Encore Award. Her degree in philosophy influenced her genre-defying first novel Sight (2018), which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Wellcome Prize. An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, Jessie’s short story collection and first published work, won the Edge Hill Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award. Read more about The High House here
We are also planning a special event next year to celebrate Suffolk writers – more about this to follow.
Links for booking tickets to our events for next year are up on our website from today. We look forward to meeting all these wonderful writers.