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Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival kicks off in September

PUBLISHED: 17:41 07 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:55 08 August 2017

Ed Harcourt

Ed Harcourt

Steve Gullick

The Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival runs in September with a host of book talks, music, walks and workshops.

'Chaos' an Exhibition curated by Nicole Farhi at Hampstead School of Art
. Nicole Farhi pictured at the private view. Picture: Nigel Sutton'Chaos' an Exhibition curated by Nicole Farhi at Hampstead School of Art . Nicole Farhi pictured at the private view. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Taking place at JW3, the festival kicks off with Hallelujah: A Celebration of Leonard Cohen, who died in November. It will see singer songwriters, Kathryn Williams and Ed Harcourt joined by Michele and Romeo Stoddart from The Magic Numbers to celebrate the music of the late troubadour who wrote his first novel in a Hampstead boarding house in 1959. Run in partnership with Camden Town’s Green Note the evening includes discussion of Cohen’s poetry.

On the 50th anniversary of her death, a Twenties themed dinner in JW3’s restaurant Zest celebrates the life and times of poet and wit Dorothy Parker with jazz music, food and actors reading from her work.

Workshops on editing and writing poetry and a literary walking tour of Highgate take place on Sunday while at JW3, biographer Claire Tomalin’s discusses her memoir A Life of My Own, and Marcel Theroux talks about his latest novel The Secret Books set between 19th century Russia and Paris. Sibling relationships and father/son bonds feature in Stuart Heritage’s Don’t Be A Dick Pete which examines two approaches to masculinity through a biography of his younger brother.

Arch networker and Highgate resident Julia Hobsbawm talks to ITV’s Noreena Hertz about her new book Fully Connected and why in an age of “network overload” we need to disconnect from our machines and reconnect with each other to reclaim our ‘social health’. The evening ends with a celebration of London by writers and musicians exploring the capital’s melting pot of identities including Syrian musician Maya Youssef, folk singer Ana Silvera, and novelist Stella Duffy.

Michael Rosen at Discover Children's story centreMichael Rosen at Discover Children's story centre

On Monday, Adam LeBor discusses his acclaimed history of Arab and Jewish life, City of Oranges, while Michael Rosen best known for his children’s books talks to Viv Groskop about his memoir: So They Call You Pisher!

Throughout the festival, sculptures by Hampstead resident Nicole Farhi of her husband David Hare alongside writers Tom Stoppard, Ibsen and Chekhov are on display.

Festival programmer Claire Berliner said: “I’m really excited that we have talks from some great writers whose books range from the insightful to outright hilarious, audacious, searching, bold and charming. We are also celebrating London itself with an evening of music and readings from some of the most exciting writers and artists working in the city. It’s been a joy to put together what promises to be a long weekend of literary delight.’

September 14-18. Bookings at

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