Reviving the book festival scene at Beckenham Place Park

Hoping to revive the book festival scene with a diverse line-up and brand new setting, Lewisham’s literature festival is coming to Beckenham Place Park this April.

Books In The Park, on April 13, promises a programme of author talks for adults and children, scavenger hunts, guided walks and writing workshops for everyone to enjoy.

Set in the boroughs largest green space, Beckenham Place Park is the ideal spot for Lewisham’s festival, home to ancient woodland, a community garden and wild swimming lake. 

Taking nature as its theme, the festival will feature books inspired by nature’s ability to heal and bring communities together.

Adult events will take place in the Mansion, an Grade II listed building at the heart of the park, and children’s events will be held in the Homestead Education Centre, part of the park’s restored Homestead stables and courtyard.

Authors appearing at the festival include Guardian gardening columnist Claire Ratinon who will discuss her memoir, Unearthed, Ben Jacob, Wainwright Prize-long-listed author of The Orchid Outlaw, who will share his story of saving Britain’s rarest flowers.

Debut novelists Emilia Hart and Jill Johnson who will explore the magic and mystery of nature in their novels Weyward and Devil’s Breath and author and comedian Isabel Losada who will share advice on saving the planet – without preaching – from her book The Joyful Environmentalist.

For children, Marv and the Killer Plants author Alex Falase-Koya will lead an interactive session for superheroes aged between five and nine, Alexandra Sheppard will share her love of nature and her new book Alyssa and the Spell Garden, and Natasha Farrant will introduce The Rescue of Ravenwood and The Girl Who Talked to Trees.

Lewisham Libraries will also run a morning story time for young children and a scavenger hunt throughout the day. For aspiring writers, the festival offers poetry and fiction writing workshops, led by poet Gill O’Halloran and novelist Annie Lyons. 

Festival director Frances Fuller said: “Beckenham Place Park is much-loved by residents across Lewisham and Bromley and already hosts lots of great events, so we’re thrilled to be launching its first ever book festival.

“What started as a chat among the park’s gardening volunteers has blossomed into an event that we hope will inspire local people to enjoy the park in a new way.

“We’ve pulled together a programme that we think has something for everyone – from big topics, courageous memoir and debut fiction, to an exciting children’s programme for all ages.”

Tickets are on sale now at: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/books-in-the-park

Pictured top: Beckenham Place Park (Picture: Clogslik /Flickr)

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