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Fishbourne Literary Festival


The third Fishbourne Literary Festival was sold out, with authors addressing a packed church and St. Peter's Place full of book lovers buying new books from Waterstone's and poring over the huge selection of second hand books. About £3,000 was raised for the Apuldram Centre and the church boiler fund. Congratulations and thanks to the team of organisers led by Gillian Ellis.


A panel of authors answered questions on how to get published.

Margaret Drabble

Margaret Drabble

Margaret Drabble, D.B.E., novelist and critic was born in Sheffield in 1939 and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge.


After a brief and inglorious career as an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she published her first novel, A Summer Bird-Cage, in 1963. This was followed by eighteen others, including The Millstone (1965), The Pure Gold Baby (2013) and The Dark Flood Rises (2016). Margaret's short stories A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, were published in 2011. She edited the Oxford Companion to English Literature (1985) and wrote biographies of Arnold Bennett (1974) and Angus Wilson (1995).


Margaret is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd.


Margaret's talk at The Fishbourne Literary Festival focussed on writing in later life. She reviewed her own long career in fiction, and what relationship fiction holds with biography and fact. Some older writers turn to autobiography but Margaret highlighted the problems that this approach can cause.

Isabel Ashdown

Isabel Ashdown

Isabel Ashdown was born in London and grew up on the Sussex coast. Her award winning debut Glasshopper (2009) was released to critical acclaim, after being named as winner of The Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. Her recent move into the genre of psychological thriller with Little Sister led to several weeks in the Amazon bestseller chart, and a clutch of 'Best Books' listings in 2017.


Alongside her writing, Isabel is Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Chichester and together with Leonard the dachsund, a volunteer for the charity Pets as Therapy.


At the Fishbourne Literary Festival Isabel spoke with Chris Partridge about the theme of 'escape' in her novels and about her move into psychological thriller writing. Isabel gave readings from her novels Little Sister and Beautiful Liars and followed this with a question and answer session.

Béatrice Crawford

Béatrice Crawford

Béatrice Crawford was born in France, lived in California for seventeen years, but has lived in Oxford since 1998. She read German at The Sorbonne and pursued graduate studies at Stanford University. A monologue, written by Béatrice was performed at the 1994 Birmingham Readers and Writers Festival. A play, Entente Cordiale, was long-listed in the Vodaphone Play Writing Competition at the 2003 Oxford Literary Festival.


The audience at the Fishbourne Literary Festival heard Béatrice give a talk about her life-changing trek on the Great Wall of China.

Adam Mars-Jones

Adam Mars-Jones

Adam Mars-Jones is Research Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. Apart from the memoir Kid Gloves, his books include the semi-infinite novel series Pilcrow and Noriko Smiling, his book-length study of a classic Japanese film.


Adam entertained his audience at the Fishbourne Literary Festival with his talk about the ethics of writing about your family history, particularly when your subjects are dead and can't answer back.