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22 | March 20, 2014 | | Cambridge News

The critical list: more hot tickets

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Cambridge Literary As we gear up for this spring’s Cambridge Literary Festival (April 1-6), ELLA WALKER and HANNAH STEPHENSON talk to some of the shining female authors preparing to speak during the week long books extravaganza PS: Read our interview with Man Booker-long listed author Charlotte Mendelson at

Jill Dawson WE had a quick-fire chat with creative writing tutor and Cambridgeshire based writer Jill Dawson (author of Fred and Edie, Watch Me Disappear and Lucky Bunny). Can you tell us about your new book, The Tell-Tale Heart? The Tell-Tale Heart is the story of three men: Patrick, a 50-year-old womaniser, academic and drinker who receives a new heart in transplant surgery; the heart donor, Drew, a Fenland teenager in love with his teacher; and Willie Beamiss, one of the Littleport rioters of the 19th century and Drew’s ancestor. What made you want to write this story? I always wanted to write about the Littleport rioters and the rest of the novel has been in my mind for a long time, too. I watched a documentary years ago that stuck in my mind. It was about cellular memory (the idea that other organs in the body might carry memories and traces of personality). What stayed with me was the scene where the transplant recipient meets the mother of his donor and the mother asks to hear her son’s heartbeat in his chest. It was an extraordinary scene and very moving. It’s set in rural Cambridgeshire – what do you find so inspiring about living here? I love this part of the world though I didn’t grow up here. I find it absolutely fascinating and quite unlike anywhere else in England. We moved here about 13 years ago to build our house (I have to admit I had nothing whatsoever to do with the building of it, my husband is the architect), and I fell under its spell. I think people either find it boring, oppressive, flat and featureless (“one big nothing” as Graham Swift famously called it), or, like me, they really adore it: the big skies and low horizons and sense of space. Yesterday I was standing in the kitchen and watched a heron fly

Get tick 2-for-1 Rach ets to se el Jo e Ji yc Joan ll Dawso e and n, an na Tr d ollop book e. in the p g online When or h CLF one, quo on CLF2 2014RJ o te code 014JT. Thr sa e sens re case itive.

ᔡ Lunchtime with Rachel Joyce & Jill Dawson: Cambridge Literary Festival, Union Chamber, Friday, April 4 at 1pm. Tickets £6-£8 from (01223) 300085 /

over with a beak as long and fine as a newly-shaved pencil – mesmerising. m What’s the No 1 tip you always W give your creative writing g students? st Is the writing you’ve done alive or dead? That’s what you need to know. kn What are you currently Wh working on? wo I’m just about to start a new novel,

set in Suffolk in the 60s and I’m still at the researching stage. What are you reading at the moment? I am reading and enjoying very much Sally Cline’s biography of Dash Hammett, the hard-boiled fiction writer and author of The Maltese Falcon (Dashiell Hammett: Man of Mystery). I’m very much looking forward to seeing the film again and hearing Sally Cline talk about the book and Hammett’s life at the Cambridge Literary Festival (Saturday, April 5 at 3pm).

Jacqueline Wilson WHETHER you grew up reading Double Act and The Illustrated Mum, sobbed over Vicky Angel and learned about boys thanks to Girls in Love; or have children poring over the adventures of Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather, Jacqueline Wilson is a literary legend. Currently in the middle of writing her 100th book, she’s the star name on the festival’s children’s programme. “I love coming to Cambridge,” she

ᔡ Meet Jacqueline Wilson: Cambridge Literary Festival, Union Chamber, Sunday, April 6 at 2.30pm. Tickets £7 from (01223) 300085 /

explains, genuinely enthusiastic. “Partly because Cambridge is a wonderful place, partly because I’m now being made an honorary fellow of Corpus Christie which is a huge honour, and best of all, my daughter

lives in Cambridge so it’s anotherr excuse to see her too.” Wilson will be discussing her latest cat and dog anthology, Paws and Whiskers, and says that one of her favourite things about being an author is meeting g her readers: “when, with eyes shining, they tell me just how much they love this or that story, you can’t help but feel that’s a wonderful rful feeling.”

ᔡ Joanna Trollope: Cambridge Literary Festival, Union Chamber, Friday, April 4 at 5.30pm. Tickets £11 from (01223) 300085 / adcticketing. com

Jill Dawson & Jacqueline Wilson  

Jill Dawson & Jacqueline Wilson - Cambridge Literary Festival