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Join Louis de Bernieres as he talks about his new Cornish-based novel, Light over Liskeard

It tells the story of Q, who works as a quantum cryptographer for the government, a job that has led him to believe a crisis is imminent for civilisation.  Looking for somewhere to ride out what's ahead he buys a ruined farmhouse in Cornwall and begins to build his own self-sufficient haven and, over the course of this quest he meets the eccentric characters who live on the moors nearby.

In this entertaining and heart-warming novel Louis de Bernières pokes fun at modern mores, and makes us reconsider what is really precious in our short and precarious lives.


'Louis de Bernieres is in the direct line that runs through Dickens and Evelyn Waugh... he has only to look into his world, one senses, for it to rush into reality, colours and touch and taste' Evening Standard

LOUIS DE BERNIÈRES

IN CONVERSATION 

7pm Monday 16 Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 /£5 

ROBIN INCE:  BIBLIOMANIAC

7pm Tuesday 17 Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5

Award-winning comedian and self-confessed bibliomaniac

Robin Ince, takes us on a celebratory tour of the places books can transport us to.

In Autumn 2021, Robin Ince’s stadium tour with Professor Brian Cox was postponed due to the pandemic. But rather than do nothing, he decided instead to go on a tour of over a hundred bookshops in the UK.

Packed with witty anecdotes and tall tales, Bibliomaniac takes the reader on a journey across Britain as Robin explores his lifelong love of bookshops and books. It is the story of an addiction and a romance, and also of an occasional points failure just outside Oxenholme.

A unique, funny picture of Britain… A love letter to bookshops and the vagaries of public transport.’ Richard Osman

'[This]account of a whirlwind tour of more than 100 stores is full of wry anecdotes...shines with his love of reading. Independent

BEN OKRI IN CONVERSATION

7pm Weds 18 Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5

 

Ben Okri is a Nigerian-born British poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, and activist.

The celebrated author of over a dozen novels, in 1991 he won the Booker Prize for The Famished Road, a book that has been highly influential in the decades since its release.

His new collection Tiger Work sees him turning to the subject of climate change: if we continue to live as we do now, he argues, there will be no world left for us to fix. Combining fiction, essay and poetry, Tiger Work showcases Okri's classic blend of storytelling, fantasy and magic and makes a case for the importance of writers in shaping our responses to the climate crisis.

'Both a work of lyrical imagination and a warning about the dangers we will face unless we take immediate action' New Yorker
 

'Okri's otherworldly literary approach has produced masterpieces.' Independent on Sunday

JAMES HOLLAND: WRITING HISTORY

7pm Thurs 19th Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5
 

James Holland has been described by Sebastian Faulks as 'the best of a new generation of Second World War historians'
 

As an internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian, writer, and broadcaster James has presented - and written - a large number of television programmes and has a weekly Second World War podcast, We Have of Making You Talk, with Al Murray.

This year has seen him publish two new books in the Ladybird Expert series, a definitive history of the Second World War with illustrator Keith Burns, and this autumn's The Savage Storm: The Battle for Italy 1943.

He'll be talking about the importance of reflecting on the past, explaining his research methods and recounting some of the extraordinary stories he's uncovered along the way.  

'Impeccably researched and superbly written' Observer

NATASHA WALTER WITH CATHY RENTZENBRINK: BEYOND GRIEF 

7pm Friday 20 Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5

Natasha Walter talks to Cathy Rentzenbrink about her new memoir and how reexamining a family's history can make sense of grief.

 

One day in December, Natasha Walter's mother Ruth took her own life. At first, the grief and guilt that Natasha felt were overwhelming. As the author of feminist books and the founder of the charity Women for Refugee Women, Natasha had always been active in social justice. But in the aftermath of her mother's suicide, her personal grief intertwines with a sense of political despair.

This is a memoir that will resonate with those grappling with the loss of hope in these challenging political times, as well as those who are living in the shadow of bereavement.

'Deeply affecting and unexpectedly inspiring... the perfect read for daunting times' Sarah Waters 
 

SEAMAS CAREY:
HELP! I THINK I'M A NATIONALIST

8pm Friday 20 Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £10 / £8

The controversial sell-out comedy show on identity, second homes, xenophobia and bagpipes.

Cornwall is at a tipping point. House prices soar, the population shifts, tensions rise. Some people see it as a separate nation, whilst others see it as a prime holiday destination and playground for the rich.

 

Seamas Carey has watched a wave of gentrification sweep through his  hometown. There’s nowhere to live, yet second homes stand empty. He wishes Cornwall was more welcoming and inclusive, but watches “up country” money sow division and suspicion.

Could closing borders and nationalism be the answer? Where’s the line between pride and power? What happens when it all goes too far?

Seamas needs help. He needs your help.

★★★★  "Entertaining and layered" The Stage

CHARLES CLOVER: REWILDING OUR OCEANS

11am Sat 21st Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5

With his first book, Charles Clover transformed the conversation around global fishing. Now he is now leading the campaign to save our oceans

In this indispensable follow up to his acclaimed book and feature film documentary The End of the Line, Charles Clover chronicles how the crisis in our oceans can be reversed.

 

Rewilding the Sea celebrates what happens when we step aside and let nature repair the damage: whether it is the overfishing of bluefin tuna across the Atlantic, the destruction of coral gardens by dredgers in Lyme Bay or the restoration of oysters on the East Coast of America.


Essential and revelatory, Rewilding the Sea is a call to arms that propels us to rethink our relationship with nature. 


'A game-changer! People are hungry for a plan to reverse ocean death so we can keep breathing! ― Margaret Atwood, Twitter

 

TIM HANNIGAN: A CORNISH ODYSSEY

2pm Sat 21st Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5

Tim Hannigan sets off in search of the real Cornwall ​

 

Tim Hannigan was born and brought up in Cornwall and has lived here on and off ever since. For his latest book The Granite Kingdom, he set off on a walk of discovery, from the Tamar Valley to West Penwith to discover how Cornish landscapes, histories and communities intersect with the many projections and tropes that writers, artists and others have placed upon it.

 

The Granite Kingdom combines nature writing with a fresh take on pressing contemporary questions about cultural identity. Juxtaposing history, myth, folklore and literary representation it provides a compelling geographical and social assessment of the reality of Cornwall today.

'Travel writing used to be dominated by Old Etonians with colonialist tendencies; but [Tim Hannigan's] well-researched critique shows that the "travellees" are writing back' Guardian

ELEANOR CATTON IN CONVERSATION

6pm Sat 21st Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 /£5 

Join the Booker-winning novelist as she reflects on her career in writing and the influence of Macbeth, climate change, and social media.

 

In 2013 Eleanor Catton became the youngest winner in Booker Prize history for her genre-defying epic The Luminaries. Ten years on, her follow-up is similarly unclassifiable but just as satisfying. 

 

A gripping psychological eco-thriller, Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its wit and drama and provides an unflinching examination of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.

Eleanor will be talking about life since her Booker win, discussing her screenwriting work (the acclaimed 2020 adaptation of Emma) and explaining what fiction can do to address the climate crisis. 

'Glorious... Birnam Wood is a dark and brilliant novel about the violence and tawdriness of late capitalism. Its ending, though, propels it from a merely very good book into a truly great one'  The Times

TIM HUBBARD: THE SECRET GARDENS OF CORNWALL

Midday Sun 22nd Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5

 

Esteemed broadcaster and author Tim Hubbard takes us behind the scenes of the best horticultural destinations in the Duchy.​

 

Tim Hubbard reveals twenty of Cornwall’s lesser known gardens in a new book - The Secret Gardens of Cornwall. In conversation with Jacqui Owen, an expert on Falmouth’s free public gardens which are featured in the book, he’ll be telling the stories of the landowners, seafarers, gardeners and plant hunters who have made Falmouth and its gardens such an important horticultural location.  

Tim provides some personal and practical insights too: discover what grows well, when and where to visit, and find out about his own new clifftop garden facing out across the Atlantic Ocean.

'A glorious celebration of some of the finest gardens in a county whose climate makes them especially breathtaking. 'Alan Titchmarsh

 

2pm Sunday 22nd Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5

 

Raynor Winn interviews Cornish-based writer Catrina Davies as they discuss the portrayal of rural West Country lives.

Catrina Davies' latest book, Once Upon a Raven's Nest, is the story of a working-class man, one Thomas Hedley of Exmoor, and of the planet during the period of its great acceleration towards the current climate emergency.

Born in 1955 to a poor family in Devon, Thomas refused to conform. His fierce contrariness led not only to scrapes and self-inflicted dangers but to a life enriched by the love of women. Catrina Davies came to know him in his last years and has given his life and times in his own words, in a knowing, poetic and poignant voice.

Join Catrina as she discusses the writing of the book with acclaimed, bestselling author Raynor Winn.


'A rich, beautiful and deeply moving book. I read it in one sitting, then was sorry that I had not drawn it out for longer, as I enjoyed it so much.' George Monbiot

 

CATRINA DAVIES & RAYNOR WINN 

NINA STIBBE ESCAPES TO LONDON

4pm Sunday 22 Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £8 / £5

Nina Stibbe delivers a funny and poignant account of a year-long break from married life in Cornwall​

 

The author of the bestselling Love, Nina traces the next chapter of her life as she departs for more endearing adventures in the capital.

How do I get rid of the mosquitoes infesting Deborah Moggach's garden? Is it normal for my kids to drink so much? And why the f*** doesn't anyone in London know how to clean up after their dog?

These are just some of the questions plaguing Nina as she plots her grand return to London, reflecting on what it means to turn your whole life around aged 60. Whether it's dinner parties with the great and the good of the London literati or micromanaging her son's online dating profile, Nina Stibbe's utterly inimitable wit is ever present throughout this diary of her first return to London since the Love, Nina years.

'A unique comic voice, endlessly funny. Nina makes me laugh so much' David Nicholls

TIM KEY: CHAPTERS

6pm Sun 22 Oct, at The Poly. Tickets: £10 / £6

Join comedian, actor and poet Tim Key in conversation about life, comedy, and his new poetry collection, Chapters​

Chapters is a slim book of the crap he’s been churning out over the past eighteen months. Poems about men getting stuck in webs, poems about the ancient city of Canterbury, poems about canoodling with a rose.

 

He'll be talking about what, if anything, the point of it all is, and sparking a healthy debate as to whether it should be broken up into chapters and, if so, why. All of these discussions are also documented in the leftover space around the poems. The result is a splurge of words which very occasionally shine a light on modern times. 

'His brief verses range from the whimsical to the sinister . . . He is quick and mischievous... ' Guardian
 

'He's a genius plain and simple' Time Out

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