From being transported by the sound of 'True Love' by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly on the radio, as a small child living in condemned housing in ungentrified West London in the late 1950s, to going out to work as a postman humming 'Watching the Detectives' by Elvis Costello in 1977, Alan Johnson's life has always had a musical soundtrack. In fact music hasn't just accompanied his life, it's been an integral part of it.
In the bestselling and award-winning tradition of This Boy, In My Life vividly transports us to a world that is no longer with us - a world of Dansettes and jukeboxes, of heartfelt love songs and heart-broken ballads, of smoky coffee shops and dingy dance halls. From Bob Dylan to David Bowie, from Lonnie Donnegan to Bruce Springsteen, all of Alan's favourites are here. As are, of course, his beloved Beatles, whom he has worshipped with undying admiration since 1963.
But this isn't just a book about music. In My Life adds a fourth dimension to the story of Alan Johnson the man.
We are delighted to bring Alan to Dissenter of Sidmouth, the chapel with a rich history of over three centuries of discussion, dissent and democracy.
Standard tickets £5
Ticket with signed book £16.99
Sidmouth Science Festival 2018
Do you want to be happy? Well, of course you do. But why? What does happiness actually mean? Where does it come from? And can you buy it?
In The Happy Brain, neuroscientist and stand up comedian Dean Burnett delves deep into the inner workings of our minds to answer these fundamental questions - and many more besides. From whether happiness really begins at home [spoiler alert: yes - sort of] to what love, sex, money and success actually do to our brains, Burnett offers a uniquely entertaining insight into what it means to be human.
Tickets £3 (redeemable against a book purchase) from
An evening with author, historian and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown.
In his latest book NEIN!: Standing up to Hitler 1935-1944 Paddy Ashdown tells, for the first time, the story of those at the very top of Hitler’s Germany who tried to prevent the Second World War and deny Hitler victory. Based on newly released files, the repeated attempts of the plotters to warn the Allies about Hitler’s plans are revealed.
Paddy Ashdown served as a Royal Marine and intelligence officer for the UK security services before becoming leader of the Liberal Democrats for over ten years.
We expect demand for this event to be high, so booking in advance is recommended. Tickets are £5 (redeemable against purchase of the book) and can be obtained from Hunting Raven Books or reserved by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org / 01373 473111
Sidmouth Science Festival 2018
As a connoisseur of comedy, Robin Ince has spent decades mining our eccentricities to create gags - and watching other strange individuals do the same. And for years on The Infinite Monkey Cage with Brian Cox he has sought - sometimes in vain - to understand the world around us. In this book, he unites these pursuits to tackle some of the biggest questions that intrigue us all.
Why do we make the choices we do in life? Where does anxiety come from? Why are we like we are? Do our parents f*&k us up? Informed by interviews with a bevy of A-list comedians from Jo Brand and Tim Minchin to Ricky Gervais - as well as with neuroscientists, psychologists and doctors - this is a hilarious and often profound primer to the mind.
Tickets £3 (redeemable agains a book purchase) from:
Join us as Costa Prize-winning novelist Andrew Miller launches his latest novel Now We Shall Be Entirely Free. The event, which takes place at the Archangel Hotel & Restaurant, will conclude with a book signing by the author.
Tickets are £18.99 which covers entry and a copy of the book or £3 entry only (redeemable against purchases of the book on the night).
Tickets can be purchased directly online through our Eventbrite page, in person at Winstone's Hunting Raven Books, 9 Cheap Street, Frome, or by phone (01373 473111) or email (email@example.com).
We are proud to be hosting Crysse for a lively and informal evening, as she talks to us about her new book Frome Unzipped. The book lays out - with true quirk and charm - the history of our ubiquitous town characters. From 'Prehistory' right through to 'Post Punk' Frome Unzipped is a brilliant distillation of what it is to be Frome and how we got here.
After her talk, Crysse will happy to sign books (both those purchased on the night or prior to the event).
Entry is free, but you can reserve your place on the guest list by calling 01373 473111, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or popping into the shop.
Jeremy has been presenting a BBC Radio 2 show since 2003 that attracts more than seven million listeners. In that time he calculates he has taken more than 25,000 calls on topical subjects - big issues and small ones: on life, love, lollipop ladies and poisonous plants. But what have the callers told him?
In a book punctuated by vivid anecdotes and laugh-out-loud moments, Jeremy explains what it's like to hit a button and hear - totally unvarnished and unspun - the voices of so-called ordinary people. And why they are not so ordinary after all.
Tickets £13 (to include a glass of wine). From Kennaway House 01395 515551.
The Life of Stuff : A memoir about the mess we leave behind
Susannah will be with us talking about her new book which explores loss, grief and hoarding, through the story of her own relationship with her mother, and her experiences clearing up her mother's crammed and dilapidated house after she died.
A deeply personal memoir about mourning and the shoring up of possessions against the losses and griefs of life, which also raises universal questions about what makes us the people we are. What do our possessions say about us? Why do we project such meaning onto them? And what painful circumstances turn someone who loves their home and the stuff it contains into an incurable hoarder who ends their days in squalor?
This is a free event but space is limited so please book in shop, on the phone, or via email:
House of Gold
Natasha Solomons will be with us at Hunting Raven talking about her new book House of Gold
A Novel in Five Objects: From Cartier’s Belle Epoque Diamond Butterfly to the telegram that brought America into the First World War, New York Times bestselling author Natasha Solomons will give an illustrated talk on how she spins historical research into immersive fiction.
House of Gold, began with the discovery of a portrait of her family in the Frankfurt ghetto. Find out how that inspired a story of money, power and a desperate marriage.
Thise is a free event but space is limited so please book in shop, on the phone, or via email:
High on a Cornish cliff sits a vast uninhabited mansion. Uninhabited except for Blake, a young woman of dubious background, secretive and alone, currently acting as housesitter.
The house has a panic room. Cunningly concealed, steel lined, impregnable – and apparently closed from within. Even Blake doesn’t know it’s there. She’s too busy being on the run from life, from a story she thinks she’s escaped.
This contemporary suspense novel is Robert Goddard at his nerve-shredding best.
A sliver of a mystery kicks off a juggernaut of a thriller. Layers of secrets, half truths and lies.
Tickets £13 (including glass of wine) from Kennaway House 01395 515511
'The world's greatest storyteller' Guardian
‘Is this his best yet?...Full of sinister menace and propulsive pace with twisty plotting’ Lee Child
Music in the West Country with Stephen Banfield
How does the machinery of government respond when a King steps out of line?
In this fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the royal abdication crisis of 1936, Adrian Phillips reveals the previously untold story of the hidden political machinations and insidious battles in Westminster and Whitehall that settled the fate of the King and Mrs Simpson.
Tickets £13 (including glass of wine) from Kennaway House 03195 515511
Tyler Keevil, author of No Good Brother will be at Hunting Raven Books presenting dramatised readings with musical accompaniment from his brother!
This is a free event, call in or phone us on 01373 473111 to book your place!
No Good Brother:
Tim Harding has spent the fishing season in Canada working as a deckhand, making an honest living. When his hot-headed younger brother tracks him down at the shipyards in Vancouver, Tim senses trouble.
Quick-witted and beautifully observed, No Good Brother is an exquisite portrait of brotherly love and loyalty, examining the loss of innocence and the ties that bind us.
Join award-winning author and illustrator Rob Biddulph for a roarsome Dinosaur Juniors event. Hear Rob talk about how he became a children’s author and illustrator, listen to him read from his latest book ‘Dinosaur Juniors: Happy Hatchday’ and take part in creating some dinosaurs of your own! After the event you will have the chance to purchase a copy of Dinosaur Juniors: Happy Hatchday and get it signed by Rob. For ages 3+.
Come and meet the authors of The Awful Killing of Sarah Watts Mick Davis and David Lassman on Tuesday the 3rd of April at Hunting Raven Books
A true-life Victorian murder whodunnit based in Frome with more twists than a crime thriller and a cast of characters fiction writers would be pressed to equal...
Doors open 6.30pm for a 7pm start. There will be refreshments. Please call 01373 473111 to book a place for this free event.
The Bob Symes Memorial Lecture- Arranged by the Sid Vale Association and National Trust Sidmouth Centre.
Eminent paleontologist, natural historian writer and broadcasterr Richard Fortey presents a lecture from his recent bestseller The Wood For The Trees.
'Wonderfully readable' BBC Wildlife Magazine
£3 - On the door, all welcome.
Venue Cheap St Church, Ticketed Event
Join broadcaster and science communicator Dallas Campbell for a talk and Q&A about his new book AD ASTRA: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet.
Dallas will be well known to audiences as presenter of Bang Goes The Theory, The Sky at Night, Stargazing live and many more.
Copies of Dallas's book, will be available for purchase and signing after the talk.
‘The next best thing to actually heading off into space.’ – Jim Al-Khalili
‘A must have volume for astronauts and armchair astronauts alike.’ – Helen Sharman OBE
This event is part of FUNDAY at the Norman Lockyer Observatory. Adults £8 Children free. Cash on the day or book on www.normanlockyer.com.
Can we resurrect dinosaurs, Jurassic Park-style? Are we living in The Matrix‘s digital simulation? Do aliens with acid blood exist somewhere in the universe? Will we ever go back and visit 1955? And just why were the original Planet of the Ape movies so terrible?
In Science(ish), Rick Edwards and Dr Michael Brooks confront all the questions that your favourite movies provoke. Inspired by their award-winning podcast, this popular (hopefully) science (definitely) book dedicates each chapter to a different sci-fi classic, and wittily explores the fascinating issues that arise.
Covering movies from 28 Days Later to Ex Machina, this is a joyous ride through astrophysics, neuroscience, psychology, botany, artificial intelligence, evolution, and plenty more subjects you’ve always wanted to grasp. Now’s your chance: stylishly designed and illustrated throughout, Science(ish) is the perfect gift for every curious mind.Tickets £3 on the door (redeemable off of a book purchase)
Venue: Kennaway House
We're delighted to be welcoming bestselling author Victoria Hislop to Sidmouth for a special Autumn Sun, Sea and Books Sidmouth Literary Festival Event.
VICTORIA HISLOP wrote The Island in 2005, after being inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony. It became an international bestseller and a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean took her to Spain, which inspired her second bestseller, The Return, and she returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki in The Thread, which was then shortlisted for a British Book Award. This confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller. The Sunrise, published in 2014 and Cartes Postales from Greece, published in 2016, were both Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers. The paperback of Cartes Postales from Greece is published on August 10 this year.
Venue and tickets TBC
Come and meet author and grief psychotherapist, Julia Samuel. She will be giving a talk and signing copies of her bestselling book Grief Works. Doors will be open at 6.30 pm for a 7pm start. This is a free event. Please contact the shop on 01373 473111 for a place.