Carole Blake to be new patron of Chipping Norton Literary Festival

Photo credit: Jack Ladenburg

Photo credit: Jack Ladenburg

Carole Blake is one of five new patrons for Chipping Norton Literary Festival. Other patrons include publisher Susan Lamb, illustrator Korky Paul, novelist Fanny Blake and comedian Graeme Garden, who join current patrons restaurateur Pru Leith, children’s author John Dougherty, crime writer Mark Billingham and novelist Sue Cook.

Carole Blake says: "I've enjoyed ChipLitFest every time I've participated, either in the audience or as a speaker: the whole town seems to join in the celebration of the Festival. The profit-share scheme is innovative and admirable, and I'm really honoured to be a part of it."

The Chipping Norton Literary Festival runs from 23rd-26th April 2015. The programme was released on 16 January.

Christopher Nicholson’s WINTER out in paperback today

Christopher Nicholson’s ‘moving, gripping and illuminating’ novel WINTER is published in paperback, with a stunning new cover, by Fourth Estate today.

The novel tells the story of the celebrated writer Thomas Hardy in later life, his second wife Florence and young actress Gertie, who played Tess of the D’Urbevilles in the stage version of the novel.

The novel has received fantastic reviews, with The Times calling it ‘pitch perfect… it is brave to set yourself up for comparison with an author as great as Hardy but this poetic and unashamedly literary book is good enough not to be embarrassed by the company it seeks to keep.’

The Mail on Sunday wrote ‘it is Hardy’s reflections on love and his impending death that linger longest and give the book its poignancy… WINTER is a memorable portrait of a failed marriage – but there are flashes of humour, too’ and the Guardian described it as ‘Prose of such quality that one does not notice the quality – to describe it as craftsmanlike doesn't do it justice. It is a prose beyond accomplishment, yet which refuses to astonish, and which is utterly appropriate.’

French rights to the novel have recently sold to La Table Ronde, and the book is also due to be published in the US by Europa Editions later this year.

Praise for WINTER:

'A wonderful novel, moving, gripping and illuminating. Keeping closely to the known facts about the triangular relationship between the elderly Thomas Hardy, his second wife Florence, and the beautiful young butcher's wife and amateur actress, Gertrude, Nicholson has used the resources of fiction to represent their emotional lives with intensity and depth.' - David Lodge 

A superb novel... Beautifully written, very moving.’ – John Boyne, author of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS

Penny and De Courcy Shortlisted for Political Book Awards

Two Blake Friedmann authors are shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political Book Awards 2015. Anne de Courcy’s MARGOT AT WAR is shortlisted for the category Politcal Book of the Year, and Laurie Penny’s UNSPEAKABLE THINGS is shortlisted in the Polemic of the Year category.

The winner of the Political Book of the Year wins £10,000, and awards are also given out to other category winners. The winners will be announced on 24 January.

MARGOT AT WAR is a biography of Margot Asquith, published by Weidenfeld and Nicholson. Drawing on unpublished material from personal papers and diaries, Anne de Courcy vividly recreates this extraordinary time when the Prime Minister’s residence was run like an English country house. 

Laurie Penny’s UNSPEAKABLE THINGS was published by Bloomsbury. Smart, clear-eyed and irreverent, it is a fresh look at gender and power in the twenty-first century which asks difficult questions about dissent and desire, money and masculinity, sexual violence, menial work, mental health, queer politics and the Internet.