The Book Grocer

By Julie PH Last edited 184 months ago
The Book Grocer

A duchess, a PM’s wife and a queen of the bestsellers all make an appearance in this week’s events around town. And you thought literary London would just go quietly into hibernation until after the holidays...

Wednesday: Medical London historian Richard Barnett and editor Mike Jay are in conversation over at Daunt Books this evening (7pm). And although we’ve already had our own conversation with these two Londonophiles, perhaps you may want to make haste to put a few more hard-hitting questions to the pair – have they ever been sick on the Tube, for example?

Also on: Bernardine Evaristo reads from her novel, Blonde Roots, a story that imagines the slave trade in reverse, at the Women’s Library (7pm, £6). Meanwhile, Cherie Blair returns tonight to her alma mater, LSE, to discuss her autobiography, Speaking for Myself (6.45pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building), and although tickets for the event are long gone, the doggedly determined may be rewarded with last-minute entry by having a go at the returns queue.

Thursday: On 21 July 2007, the final instalment of the Harry Potter series was brought forth into the world. And lo, a thick darkness descended upon all of Hogwarts, and the myriad of Rowling acolytes beat their breasts and rend their hair. But fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all Potterians (Potteriacs? Potterites?): The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the collection of fairytales given by Dumbledore to Hermione in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is published today. And bookstores across London will try to recapture some of that Potter magic with midnight release parties and early openings on the day.

Also on, for those who live their days happily in a Potter-free parallel universe:

Poet in the City curates Poetry and Maths, featuring Paul Fournel on Oulipo, Ross Sutherland on computer-generated poetry and Book of Matthew poet Matthew Welton, at Imperial College (6.30pm, Lecture Theatre 220, Mechanical Engineering).

Also also on: Meet Magma Poetry at Borders Charing Cross (6.30pm, free), featuring the editors and contributors to the poetry mag’s 42nd issue.

Friday: Down the Lawson Track at the Southbank Centre (7.45pm, £12.50) pays tribute to Henry Lawson, often lauded as Australia’s greatest short story writer. Lawson’s work will be showcased via both musical performance and readings this evening.

Saturday & Sunday: Fans of our Littlest Londonist series may be interested in popping into Harrods for the chance to meet Fergie and get a signed copy of the Duchess of York’s latest children’s book, Tea for Ruby, between noon and 1pm (free).

With slim pickings for the rest of us, now may be the weekend to start checking off the bibliophiles on your holiday shopping list. Need ideas? Best books lists for 2008 are in abundance.

Monday: Today’s pick is most certainly the Royal Society of Literature–sponsored Where Joy For Ever Dwells at Somerset House (7pm, £8), in which the anti-Potter, Philip Pullman, and Claire Tomalin discuss, with AN Wilson, their admiration for the poetry of Milton.

Also on: The institut français hosts the launch of Gilles Kepel’s Beyond Terror and Martyrdom with a debate between the author and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, chair of British Muslims for Secular Democracy (7.30pm, £3); and Clive James appears at King’s Place as part of the Words on Monday series (7pm, £11.50).

Tuesday: Happy 400th birthday, John Milton! Celebrate with a Milton Guided Walk (11am). Led by Lance Pierson, the walk meanders around the City, from the poet’s birthplace in Bread Street to his place of burial in St Giles Cripplegate, with stop-offs at his school and various residences and with readings of his poetry along the way.

Also on: Utter! Ajar Mic Grand Final at Camden’s Green Note Club (7.30pm, £3 before the start, £5 after) is chock full of local poetry talent and features hip hop spoken word artist Polar Bear. And for the Westminster-based aspiring playwrights among us, Soho Theatre hosts the

Westminster Prize workshop (free, 7pm) to offer guidance to potential entrants. More details on the competition here.

Know of an event that belongs in the Book Grocer listings? Please e-mail us at londonist-at-gmail-dot-com.

Image courtesy of interrobang under the Creative Commons Attribution license

Last Updated 03 December 2008