Welcome to Cuckfield Book Festival 6th-8th October 2017

What’s On

stalin's englishman

Andrew Lownie

with Alan Judd
Saturday 7th October 4.30pm

hooray for knickers

Jill Lewis

Sunday 8th October 12 noon

fourth education revolution

Anthony Seldon

with Julian Worricker
Sunday 8th October 1.30pm

what's so special megalosaurus

Nicky Dee

with Rebecca Skiming
Saturday 7th October
11.00-11.45am, 12.15-1.00pm


Gavin Mortimer

with Howard Leader
Sunday 8th October 10.30am

Sophie Franklin and Helena Kelly

with Martine McDonagh
Saturday 7th October 1.30pm

the long weekend

Adrian Tinniswood

Saturday 7th October
12 noon

summer madness harry mount

Harry Mount

with Anthony Seldon
Sunday 8th October noon

Anne Sebba and Catherine Hewitt

with Julian Worricker
Sunday 8th October 3pm

andrew lownie workshop

Workshop: How to get Published

Andrew Lownie
Saturday 7th October 1.30pm


Tamsin Treverton Jones

with Sue Cook
Saturday 7th October 6.00pm

damian barr

Workshop: How to Write a Memoir

Damian Barr
Saturday 7th October 3.00pm

the chalk pit

Elly Griffiths

with Sue Cook
Saturday 7th October 3.00pm

confessions of a ghostwriter

Andrew Crofts

with Howard Leader
4.30pm Sunday 8th October

celia imrie

Celia Imrie

with Sue Stapely
Saturday 7th October 7.30pm

maggie and me

Damian Barr

with June Miles-Kingston
Saturday 7th October 10.30am

yawn sally symes

Sally Symes

Sunday 8th October 3.00pm 


Cuckfield’s very first book festival was born out of a discussion over a glass of wine one Friday evening in the summer of 2016. The four organisers felt that Cuckfield would be the perfect venue for, at least to start with, a small festival to celebrate books and reading. Since then we’ve met regularly to brainstorm the project, read the book pages in many journals and newspapers and become book festival groupies. We hope you will agree that the resulting programme is enticingly varied and that everyone will find at least one event that will intrigue and excite them. And we haven’t forgotten the children who have several special sessions.

Where to begin?

The range of topics is diverse, topical and entertaining. Be absorbed by the extraordinary life of Guy Burgess, hear about the lives of the French women who lived through the war years in Paris, marvel at the unbelievable courage of the Long Range Desert Group, the precursors of the SAS, and uncover the truth of real life in the English country house in the 1920s and 1930s.
Share the story of growing up gay near Glasgow during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher and how in spite of everything around him, the author remembered the Iron Lady saying that hard work could succeed – and he did.
Charlotte Brontë continues to fascinate readers and we have an unusual and original take on the author and her works. Jane Austen is not forgotten and a new and intriguing study introduces us to a woman living and writing in an age of revolution. For crime fiction lovers, there will be a riveting session when the Sussex author talks about her renowned forensic archaeologist.

The past 18 months have been a roller coaster ride on the political front in many countries and we have the author of the ultimate guide to the biggest political coup of the century. Many people will recall the Great Storm of 1987 and a new book just published will explore its effect in terms of legacy and loss.
A theatrical Dame will provide a remarkable account of an acting career unconstrained by tradition and expectations. Will the impact of Artificial Intelligence be beneficial or otherwise? A well-known educationalist will discuss this forthcoming revolution.
The bohemian and sometimes outrageous life of a French woman in the world of Impressionist painters is full of surprises and the essential secrets of the little known art of ghostwriting will be revealed.
Most of the sessions will be facilitated by a moderator which means the discussions will be lively and give plenty of opportunities for audience participation.
For the children, there will be two sessions with dinosaur experts, run in conjunction with Cuckfield Museum which has a marvellous collection of fossils and replicas. The under-fives will have fun at two entertaining events on the Sunday.
So, it’s decision time! Seize your pen, make a list of the events you want to attend and start booking!

Stop Press!

celia imrie

There’s  a change in the programme for the session on Saturday 7th October at 7.30 – Harriet Walter has had to withdraw because of altered film commitments but we are delighted to announce that Celia Imrie has agreed to come in her stead and talk about her recent books with Sue Stapely.

Celia Imrie, is an award-winning and Screen Actors Guild- nominated actress, known for her work in film, theatre and television.  Highlights of her screen career include The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the Bridget Jones’s Diary series, Nanny McPhee, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Calendar Girls, Imagine Me & You, Acorn Antiques, FX’s Better Things, and more recently, Gore Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness.

The Queen’s Hall, Cuckfield

The Queen’s Hall in the village will provide the perfect location for Bookfest. The authors and the moderators will present their sessions from the stage, and there is plenty of room in an adjoining hall for Waterstones to display the books of the authors who will be happy to sign them after purchase.

Not only will you be beguiled by our authors, you will be enticed by the hospitality as well. A delicious array of light refreshments will tempt you to indulge in a selection of cakes and biscuits, sundry types of tea and coffees plus a selection of wines and cool beers.

We are delighted to announce that Waterstones, Haywards Heath are to be the Cuckfield Bookfest booksellers.


maurice saatchi

Supper at Ockenden Manor Hotel – SOLD OUT

The festival will open on Friday 6th October with a literature-themed supper at Ockenden Manor. The guest of honour is Lord Saatchi, the co-founder of Saatchi and Saatchi.