PICTURE GALLERY: Proms at St Jude’s festival gets off to a flyer with literary bonanza

14:28 23 June 2014

Financial writers Nick Kochan (left) and Hugh Pym. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Financial writers Nick Kochan (left) and Hugh Pym. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email

This year’s Proms at St Jude’s festival kicked off with an exciting line-up of talks featuring famous faces from across the literary world.

The LitFest Weekend, now in its third year on the festival schedule, took place over Saturday and Sunday at Henrietta Barnett School, in Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Actress and author Phyllida Law was the first writer to take to the stage on Saturday, speaking to broadcaster Piers Plowright about her new book Three Mothers (and a camel) exploring her mother’s battle with dementia.

Ms Law was followed by BBC News health editor Hugh Pym who spoke about his new book Inside the Banking Crisis with fellow financial writer Nick Kochan.

Rev Alan Walker, festival president and vicar of St Jude-on-the-Hill, then spoke to historian Richard van Emden about his extensive work examining the First World War.

Little Wolf Gang perform
 Peter and The Wolf. Picture: Nigel Sutton.Little Wolf Gang perform Peter and The Wolf. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Sunday Times journalist Lynn Barber concluded Saturday’s programme with a fascinating insight into her career as a celebrity interviewer, stretching back almost half a century.

On Sunday, there were further talks from a host of high-profile figures, including journalist Brigid Keenan and writer Edna O’Brien, who was in conversation with broadcaster Sue MacGregor.

There were also a handful of concerts taking place over the weekend, with musicians Little Wolf Gang drawing a large crowd of young and old into St Jude-on-the-Hill church, in Central Square, for a free lunchtime performance of classic children’s symphony Peter and the Wolf on Saturday.

The festival’s opening evening concert on Saturday, a performance of Puccini’s La Bohème by Nevill Holt Opera, also proved very popular.

Festival trustee Ron Finlay said: “It’s got off to a very good start. The festival was very well-attended and enjoyed by all - the literary festival was excellent.”

Proms at St Jude’s performances will continue throughout the week, concluding on Sunday with the sold-out Last Night of the Proms concert, featuring the London International Orchestra and soprano Lesley Garrett.

For more information about the festival programme, visit

See above for our gallery of pictures from the festival.

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