Durham Book Festival

Fifties Fiction with Clare Chambers and Louise Hare

10th October 11-11.30am FREE

This event brings together authors Clare Chambers and Louise Hare to introduce their new, widely acclaimed novels. Both books are set in 1950s London and skilfully intertwine poignant love stories with compelling mysteries.  

In Clare Chambers’ Small Pleasures we are transported to a South-East London suburb in 1957. Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and – on the brink of forty – living a limited existence with her truculent mother. When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. But the more Jean investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilbury’s. 

This Lovely City by Louise Hare is a poignant exploration of Brixton’s Windrush community. Jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.  Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home –and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery. As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed, in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. 

Chaired by Rebecca Wilkie, New Writing North