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kid glovesOnly two weeks to go until Cuckfield Bookest begins – and there are some tickets left, although some events have been sold out for quite a while.

But there’s still the opportunity for some really excellent sessions.. Try Adam Mars-Jones on Saturday morning at 12.30pm.  When his book KID GLOVES was published one reviewer wrote:

Adam Mars-Jones is one of my favourite gay writers and remains so. He is compassionate, humane, funny and by turns serious and moving. This memoir is a joy. It talks about gay experience, but about the human condition too.

Adam is talking about his relationship with his father, a High Court judge who found it difficult to accept his son’s homosexuality but was eventually reconciled to it.  He will be in conversation with Alan Judd, also an award-winning novelist and biographer.  

robyn youngsd sykesIf historical fiction is something you enjoy, 5.00 pm on Saturday should be marked in your diary because there are two top writers of the genre talking. The question they ask is what do you ignore and what do you use when writing historical fiction and how do you adapt fact to fiction. Robyn Young and Sarah Sykes will be telling all. 

Saturday night and we’re calling fans of fantastic rock music who remember those days of the big six rock stars – Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, David Bowie. Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger and Pete Townsend. Michael Odell interviewed them all and then had a melt down while chaperoning Oasis.  He tells all in a very funny book called ‘a masterclass in high farce’ by one reviewer.  Sharing this session is D J Taylor whose novel is the story of a rock band in the 60s and 70s – a worm’s eye view of British pop’s music golden age.  An extraordinary evening which will delight music fans of all ages – come along to the last event at Saturday Bookfest and enjoy a glass of wine and some great music conversation. 

anna mazzolarichard masonSunday has some crime-based sessions but not necessarily crime fiction.  At 12.30pm Anna Mazzola will be talking about her book, The Story Keeper.  It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left Skye devastated.  The disappearance of two young girls is thought to be linked to the spirits of the dead.  Atmospheric, haunting and beautifully written, this is a wonderful evocation of the island and its people.  Richard Mason, whose story about Piet Barol recalls South Africa during the First World War and is part magic realism and part history, will join Anna and Sue Cook, so well remembered for Crimewatch UK. What more could you want for a Sunday afternoon?

Mark Billingham is one of Britian’s best-known crime writers and each new book is eagerly waited. This latest is a twisting, unbearably gripping DI Tom Thorne and Nicola Tanner thriller inspired by a dramatic real-life case. On Sunday afternoon, October 7, Cuckfest is thrilled to be hosting Mark talking to another  well-known crime writer, Martyn Waites.  whose new thriller has  dark secrets hiding amongst the beautiful Cornish countryside.
Crime is the most borrowed genre from libraries and these two are at the top of their game so quite a coup for Cuckfest to have them both.  Not to be missed!

leo-benedictusHow many book groups are there in your area?  They seem to be widespread and one of the reasons that borrowing or buying books remains as popular as ever despite the use of kindle.  The book selected for this session  – CONSENT by Leo Benedictus – is controversial and thought-provoking  – and beautifully written.  There’s absolutely no need to have read it to come along to the Big Book Group. Expertly chaired by Julian Worricker, often to be heard on R4, the last event of Cuckfest 2018 will be challenging and absorbing – and  memorable.  Do come!

children's programmeFor young people (from very little ones to teenagers) there’s a packed day on Saturday 6th October at the Baptist Church. Doors open at 10am. Find out about bees and why planet Earth needs to save them, join in prehistoric fun with two dinosaur experts, design a story with polka dots and learn about animals in WW2. (By the way, there is a poignant memorial to creatures from WW1 in Burgess Hill Memorial  Garden which we’ve photographed  below. ) In this year of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, pupils have been learning about WW1 and there is a fascinating WW1 storytelling and writing workshop.  A local author of fast-moving stories is running a workshop giving participants the chance to create their own gripping narrative.

The day ends with a session for book buyers and prospective writers and will answer lots of questions about how to write for children and young people and what to look for when buying books for them

Cuckfield Bookfest for children and young people rounds off with a lively celebration where there will be music and refreshments – tickets not required and it’s free!

Tickets are available for all events online at or via the link at  We will also be at the Queen’s Hall on 22nd and 29th September between 10am and 12 noon with tickets to sell (cash or cheque) and at the door on 6th and 7th October.

This is the last Newsletter before Cuckfield Bookfest and we all hope to see lots of people at the festival. We can promise you a weekend of stimulating, informative, thought-provoking events – and lots of fun as well.