2024 Dates for your diary:

27th September – Literary Quiz

4th October – Ockenden Manor Supper

5th & 6th October – Cuckfield Book Festival

Welcome to your new monthly newsletter from the Cuckfield Book Festival team.

Spring does at last seem to be coming and we are very excited to reveal our first authors including Polly Toynbee with her colourful, entertaining examination of her family, Claire Mulley’s incredible story of the courageous resistance fighter known as Agent Zo and Chris Stokel-Walker with his topical book How AI Ate the World.

Read on to find out more!

Polly Toynbee Cuckfield Book Festival sussex

Polly Toynbee will talk about An Uneasy Inheritance – an enthralling examination of her own family – which in addition to her writer father Philip and her historian grandfather Arnold, contains everyone from the Glenconners to Jessica Mitford to Bertrand Russell and features her ancestral home Castle Howard as a backdrop.

Polly explores the myth of mobility, the guilt of privilege, and asks for a truly honest conversation about class in Britain.

Book by Chris Stokel Walker image How AI ate the world Author at Sussex Book Festival

Artificial intelligence is a subject on everyone’s mind and Chris Stokel-Walker will talk about his new book: How AI Ate the World.  A fast-paced, balanced narrative perfect for the general reader on how AI technology will shape, and increasingly run, our lives.

This indispensable book urgently sets out why that matters.

Claire Mulley Author

Agent Zo tells the story of the only woman to join the Polish elite Special Forces, known as the ‘Silent Unseen’.
After the war she was demobbed as one of the most highly decorated women in Polish history. Yet the post-war Communist regime not only imprisoned her, but also ensured that her remarkable story remained hidden for over forty years.

Clare Mulley brings this forgotten heroine back to life, and transforms how we see the history of women’s agency in the Second World War.


We have organised a workshop at every book festival and this year on the 5th October, we are delighted that Sue Gee is coming.  In this lively interactive event the theme will be discovering and developing character in fiction.

There will be an opportunity to read your work to the group and to ask lots of questions!

The workshop will be limited to 12 people – please register your interest below.  Sue has run the MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University and teaches at the Faber Academy. 

More details to follow.

Sue Gee Cuckfield book festival west sussex
Sophie Hardach at cuckfield book festival 2024


And what about the Big Book event?  This year the book selected is Confession with Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach.  Tobi and Ella’s childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery.  Both are now adults living in London and both remember their family’s daring and terrifying attempt to escape … but what happened next to their parents and their little brother?  And was there ever a painting of three blue horses?


There will be lots more announcements coming so keep an eye on the website or follow us on social media – but for now, keep the dates free!

Best wishes

Cuckfield Bookfest Team