Balham a hit say organisers

News - Festivals Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Last weekend's Balham Literary Festival’s, organised by Dulwich Books, hailed as a 'triumphant success' with Thomasina Miers, Henry Marsh, Palfest and Sir Jeremy Greenstock among top draws

The four-day Festival, returning for its second year, ran under the theme 'Happy, Healthy, Home?', kicked off with a home cooking masterclass with Thomasina Miers on election night, and ended on Sunday with a sell-out event featuring neighbourhood neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, who discussed his distinguished career at nearby St George’s Hospital.

Other events included a discussion between The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador to the United Nations in the run-up to the Iraq War, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro exploring the cultural and ethnic histories of borders and contested islands with Kapka Kassabova and Jan Rüger, and The Palestinian Festival of Literature (Palfest) which brought together three of the writers (Jeremy Harding, Rachel Holmes, and Ahdaf Soueif) who have each contributed to a powerful new anthology, This Is Not a Border.

Susie Nicklin, owner of Dulwich Books, said: "The second Balham Literary Festival took place against a backdrop of political uncertainty, providing a forum for discussion including contributions from Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Patrick Wintour, Ahdaf Soueif, Jeremy Harding and Professor Sir Simon Wessely.

"It concluded with a passionate debate about the principles of the NHS led by Henry Marsh, in front of a full house. Despite the sunny weather and the election news the festival was busy all weekend; Thomasina Miers fed a huge hungry audience while debating the politics of food, Alexandra Heminsley inspired others to go swimming at Tooting Lido, and the local connections of most speakers, including Laura Barnett kicking off her tour for Greatest Hits, crime writer Anna Mazzola and memoirist Howard Cunnell, made it relevant and engaging. Others writers arrived from the Highlands, Wales and New York, as befits a diverse community which has welcomed newcomers for generations."

Pictured: Henry Marsh (credit Sarah Hickson)

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