Literary Festival Fringe

Chiddingstone Castle was thrilled to host a series of live, in-person events in the Castle gardens during July, August and September 2021.


This event is now finished but if you would like to hear from leading authors in our ‘small but spectacular’ line up you can listen to the podcasts of the talks here.


8th July, 22nd July, 19th August, 2nd September 2021

Sponsored by


We are holding a number of author talks during the afternoon and early evening in Chiddingstone Castle’s grounds, in line with the current COVID guidelines. These will take place in the large marquee set amidst sprawling lawns, pretty gardens and woodland. Meet the authors and purchase signed copies of their books. Enjoy a selection of multi-award-winning wines from Yotes Court Vineyard available to purchase and drink al fresco along with Castle canapés and soft drinks. Tickets will be limited to meet social distancing requirements.
Art Classes Kent

Thursday 8th July 5-6pm

Anne Sebba - Ethel Rosenberg; A Cold War Tragedy

On 19th June 1953, Ethel Rosenberg became the first woman in the US to be executed for a
crime other than murder. In an illustrated talk, Anne Sebba lays bare the catastrophic failure
of humanity and justice which resulted in the ‘trial of the century’.

Art Classes Kent

Thursday 8th July 7-8pm

Hugo Vickers and Simon Heffer - The Diaries of Henry ‘Chips’ Channon & Cecil
Beaton, chaired by James Lee with readings by actor Geoffrey Streatfeild

Hugo Vickers’ new book Malice in Wonderland reveals how he entered society photographer Cecil Beaton’s world of royalty, aristocrats and film stars, whilst Simon Heffer exposes a host of society icons under the gaze of Henry ‘Chips’ Channon in the 1920s and 30s. Each provides a vivid insiders’ view of the hidden world of these society legends, with revelations galore.

Art Classes Kent

Thursday 22 July 5-6pm

Amanda Owen, the Yorkshire Shepherdess - Tales from the Farm

Amanda Owen rose to fame in Channel 5’s Our Yorkshire Farm, but her roots were in urban
Huddersfield. Discover what lured her into living the country life in Swaledale, and hear how
she combines life on the farm with raising nine children, filming and writing.

Art Classes Kent

Thursday 22 July 7-8pm

Ben MacIntyre - Agent Sonya; Lover, Mother, Soldier, Spy

Hear bestselling author Ben MacIntyre on the remarkable true story of WW2’s most
extraordinary spy; how Ursula Kuczynski Burton combined rural motherhood with being a
spymaster, saboteur, bomb-maker and secret agent.

Art Classes Kent

Thursday 19 August 5-6pm

Natalie Haynes - Pandora’s Jar; Women in the Greek Myths

A brilliant classicist as well as a stand-up comedian, Natalie Haynes takes the women of
Greek myths - who are sidelined, vilified, misunderstood or ignored - and puts them centre
stage, in a witty and entertaining talk.

Art Classes Kent

Thursday 19 August 7-8pm

Martin Gayford - Spring Cannot be Cancelled; David Hockney in

Art critic Martin Gayford presents an illustrated talk based on Hockney’s latest paintings
(currently exhibiting at the Royal Academy) and a wealth of new conversations and
correspondence with Hockney, his long-time friend and collaborator.

Art Classes Kent

Thursday 2 September 2-3pm

Sebastian Faulks with Cathy Rentzenbrink - Snow Country

 Sebastian Faulks joins us on the very day his new novel is published. Sweeping across Europe as it recovers from one war and hides its face from the next, Snow Country is a landmark novel of exquisite yearnings, dreams of youth and the sanctity of hope. Cathy Rentzenbrink is a much loved interviewer at Chiddingstone and the author of Dear Reader. Her first novel Everyone is Still Alive is published in July.

Art Classes Kent

Thursday 2 September 4-5pm

Deborah Moggach with Rowan Pelling – The Black Dress

Bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Deborah Moggach unveils her new,
beautifully observed, darkly funny, tender and surprising novel. The Black Dress is about life
changes and the unexpected twists and pleasures of being alone. Rowan Pelling is a Daily Telegraph columnist and editor of Perspective Magazine.

We’d like to thank our generous sponsors and Friends of the Festival for their continuing support, especially Baillie Gifford, Knocker & Foskett and Buzzacott.

Please follow Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates as they happen.

Don’t miss out on our previous podcasts. We are delighted that the series of talks from Chiddingstone Castle’s Virtual Literary Festival in 2020 were so popular, creating a wealth of interest and listeners during lockdown and COVID restrictions. The podcasts are still freely available below. Please also click through to the Sevenoaks Bookshop to purchase your favourites from the series.