Entertaining the audience is a walk in the park for Balding

Reviewer Patrick McGuckin catches up with Clare Balding at Ilkley Literature Festival  

“Completely at ease.”

This is how most would describe Clare Balding as she talked to a packed King’s Hall on the final day of the Ilkley Literature Festival.

Of course, Balding presents live television and radio all the time. She commentates on horse racing, rugby ,tennis, golf, the Olympics, and Crufts amongst other things. So talking to a friendly Ilkley audience about a book you have written is probably a walk in the park, or a ramble in the countryside in this case.

Balding read English at Cambridge. She admitted to feeling trepidation at writing a book as she knows what great writing looks like. “Let’s not see the negative, let’s not be like my mother” Balding said to herself. She went on to explain that her mother says things like “What if no one buys the book? What if no one turns up to your event?’ Clare Balding must take after her father who seems to be a real go-getter who doesn’t waste time on any reflective thought. [Read More...]

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Walking side by side with Clare Balding

Reviewer Sue Hunter, bookpix.wordpress.com, on Clare Balding

 The King’s Hall was filled to capacity for Clare Balding’s talk at the Ilkley Literature Festival. 

Her new book Walking Home includes snippets from her fifteen years of Rambling on radio, as well as some attempts at a long distance walk with her family.  She has rambled with diverse groups, purposefully striding out across beautiful and sometimes quite demanding landscapes. [Read More...]

My Father and other Superheroes: A Memorable Performance

 Reviewer Audrey Edwards on Nick Makoha at Ilkley Literature Festival

 There was an atmosphere of anticipation as we waited in the Wharfeside auditorium at Ilkley Playhouse, watching the darkened stage with curiosity.

More and more things appeared; rising smoke and light beams pointing upwards in a tepee pole formation. On entering we had been handed a graphic novel.

A figure in white shirt and school tie emerged from the shadows at the back of the stage and Nick Makoha made his appearance.

For the next hour we were taken on a journey through time and global space. Sometimes he was a young child, sometimes a teenager and sometimes a man looking back. He grew and shrank into each persona and we always knew which one he was. [Read More...]

Stories from the heart of the ‘world’s largest prison’

Reviewer Sue Hunter, bookpix.wordpress.com, on The Book of Gaza 

The publishers of this book of short stories had the idea to ‘depoliticise the conversation’ on Gaza.  We all know the tragedies of war torn Gaza, but these short stories are about the experiences of normal people, ordinary citizens – not about politics, not about war.

Gaza is often referred to as ‘the world’s largest prison’ but some of the difficulties which these people face mean that they actually enjoy less rights than prisoners.  Water quality is poor, and getting worse, electricity is rationed to around eight hours electricity per day, with constant rolling power cuts.

Travel is difficult and two authors who were to travel to Ilkley were unable to obtain visas, so the back-up plan was to contact them via Skype.  [Read More...]

Ian Mortimer examines ‘Centuries of Change’

Reviewer Sally Harrop, www.MoonAntlers.co.uk, takes a look at Ian Mortimer’s event at Ilkley Literature Festival

At the end of 1999,  when someone (who might have been Fiona Bruce) said the new millennium marked the end of the century of greatest change, Ian Mortimer pricked up his ears.

Was it the century of greatest change? How were they quantifying that statement?  Mortimer - academic, novelist and historian, author of the bestseller The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England, wanted to know.

Ask the average person which century they think is that of most change, says Mortimer, and they will also say the twentieth, unless they know he’s a historian, then they think it’s a trick question. [Read More...]

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