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Books on the Beach – 2 Events

June 11, 2024

Scarborough’s ‘Books on the Beach’ is one of my favourite book festivals. One reason is because it’s not that far from where we live but mainly it’s because it’s so well organised by some of our favourite people. Chief amongst these is former Chief Librarian, Heather French, who’s now retired but thankfully retains the festival as her special project.

 

 

I did two events this year, one as interviewer on Saturday evening and the second as interviewee on Sunday morning.

The first photo shows me on stage with Polly Toynbee whose book, ‘An Uneasy Inheritance’ was one of my Books of 2023. It’s a fascinating read – part memoir, part social history, part biography of all the distinguished Toynbee’s that have made the name synonymous with Liberal values in a Britain that often treated middle-class progressives with scorn.

Polly has attracted her fair share of that but, as the packed audience demonstrated, her journalism has been a beacon of hope to many, particularly through the madness of the last fourteen years.
On Sunday morning I was interviewed by Helen Boaden, who spent 34 years doing great things at the BBC. She’s a cracking interviewer and had me talking about aspects of ‘Death on the Thames’ that I hardly realised were there. The photo is of me chatting to a former probation officer about the traumatic time her profession has had to endure from a government that under Chris Grayling set out to privatise the probation service before realising how catastrophic the policy was and throwing everything into reverse.

The weather could have been better but even Heather couldn’t control that.

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