Why Chiswick? Why now?

Why hold a book festival in Chiswick?

We thought it was long overdue – and were delighted that last year so many top authors and publishers seemed to think so too! Which is why we're back for a second year.

In 1817, William Thackeray went to school here, by the river – the inspiration for Miss Pinkerton’s Academy in Vanity Fair, where Becky Sharp famously threw a dictionary out of her carriage. Yeats, Chesterton and Betjeman wrote eloquently about Bedford Park and other parts of Chiswick. So have current authors like Celia Brayfield, Mavis Cheek and Adele Parks.

Chiswick House was the favourite home of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, immortalised in Amanda Foreman’s prize-winning biography (Georgiana called it "my earthly Paradise"). And writers such as Edna O’Brien have graced the annual Bedford Park Festival, organised here by St Michael & All Angels Church.

These days , leafy Chiswick - London W4 - is home to many who work in publishing and the media, as well as those who love books, making it a natural place to celebrate the written word.

Festival venues include St Michael & All Angels Church & Parish Hall and the Tabard Theatre, all close to Turnham Green tube station. And there are lots of other places nearby to eat and drink!

Why now?

Plans for a Chiswick festival devoted to books were first drawn up more than three years ago - and others saw the potential too. In 2007, Ealing Council announced plans to hold its own Literary Festival here – in tents on the green opposite Turnham Green tube station. We thought two book festivals here, both in September, would have been too much of a good thing, so we joined forces.

The Ealing Literary Festival attracted writers such as Andrew Motion, Lynne Reid Banks, Nicholas Parsons, Richard Briers and Tom Holland and we supported it for two years, providing speakers and hosting a drinks party for writers and readers in St Michael's Parish Hall.

Last year, Ealing decided to move its event, and we offered to take over the slot, with their blessing.

The first Chiswick Book Festival was welcomed by both of Chiswick’s local councils, Ealing and Hounslow. It was supported by local bookshops, including Waterstone’s , the Oxfam Book Shop and Bookcase; Chiswick Library; chiswickW4.com; and local authors, publishers and businesses. Similar support has been pledged for the second Chiswick Book Festival, which will take place from September 17th to 19th 2010.

The Festival is non-profit-making and supports a selection of reading-related charities and the work of St Michael & All Angels. Find out more at their stalls in the church during the weekend and here.

We hope you enjoy the weekend, and if you’d like to be involved, please get in touch!