The Blenheim Palace Literary Festival opens tomorrow, and while I'd love to attend many of the events taking place there over the next few days, I shall have to content myself with adding to my wish list on the basis of their programme, and here are a few things which caught my eye:
Kari Herbert, daughter of explorer Sir Wally Herbert, will be appearing at the Festival on Thursday to talk about her book Heart of the Hero: The Remarkable Women Who Inspired the Great Polar Explorers which looks at - among others - Kathleen Scott, Emily Shackleton, and Kari's mother Marie Herbert. Incidentally, turning the subject round to look at women inspired by polar explorers, if you don't already know it, do take a look at Susanna Jones's novel When Nights Were Cold.
Also on Thursday, Ruth Rendell will be in Woodstock to discuss the latest in her Inspector Wexford series, No Man's Nightingale. In this the 24th. book, Reg comes out of retirement to help his former colleague Mike Burden investigate the murder of an unpopular vicar.
One of my best books of the year so far is William Nicholson's Motherland, and one of the ones I'm most looking forward to reading is D.J. Taylor's The Windsor Faction, so Friday's event which sees those two authors in conversation on the art of writing fiction based around the events of World War II sounds like a real treat, and a must for me had I been able to go.
I've long been meaning to read something by Rachel Hore (D.J. Taylor's wife) and still haven't done so, but her latest book The Silent Tide, set in the world of publishing in both the present day and the late 1940s/early '50s looks good. Rachel's Sunday morning event is billed as "an intimate chat about books and writing over coffee" and sounds fun.
Virago have been republishing Rumer Godden's novels, and as the only one I've read so far has been Black Narcissus I have a lot to look forward to. At Blenheim on Sunday, Rumer Godden's daughter will be in conversation with her mother's biographer, Anne Chisholm, looking back at the author's life and writing, and Anne Chisholm's book, Rumer Godden: A Storytellers's Life, is one I'd like to read.
Incidentally, I've linked to this before but it bears repeating, and that is Jenny Brown's television interview with Rumer Godden, and another from the same series - and on this her 97th. birthday, too - that featuring the much-loved Mary Stewart; (and fans of Lady Stewart's will no doubt be flocking to take part in Anbolyn's Mary Stewart Reading Week!)