Where Food and Literature Meet

Calling all lovers of food-writing. This year’s festival has lots for you.

Fire and Knives Book Club – Discuss famous food books and writers in a ‘book-group’ environment. Each group is hosted by an established food writer who will kick off with a favourite reading or two and then moderate the discussion. The Book Club programme has been put together by Tim Hayward, Editor of Fire and Knives,  the new quarterly compendium of contemporary food-writing.

Sessions take place upstairs at The Malt House Restaurant in the centre of Abergavenny. Felicity Cloake will introduce MFK Fisher’s Culinary Alphabet at 11.00am Saturday. Xanthe Clay discusses Jane Grigson’s work at 3.00pm Saturday. Bee Wilson leads on the French epicure Brillat Savarin at 11.00 am Sunday and Tim Hayward introduces Tony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential at 3.00pm Sunday

Tim says “The groups are small, friendly and we’ve deliberately chosen best-selling books so most well-read food lovers will have an opinion to share. Drop in and join us.” Tickets are £3.00. Numbers are limited. Book early to avoid disappointment.

And there’s much more…. Everyone loves a bad review. Don’t they? Observer Restaurant Critic Jay Rayner will be stepping into this minefield with readings of bad reviews he’s written, bad reviews he’s received and offering you the opportunity to review him, for better or worse, via Twitter as he goes along. My Dining Hell is at 5.00pm on Saturday in the Borough Theatre. Tickets £6.00.

And what about domestic relations in the kitchen? Not quite Afghanistan but delicate territory nonetheless. Chris and Alison Hirst, aka Mrs H, step fearlessly into this contested zone in a talk about Chris’ hilarious new book. Marital Skirmishes in the Kitchen is at 2.00pm on Saturday in the Wedgewood Room. Tickets £6.00

While blogging is uncovering new writers and new audiences at an amazing rate, a couple of pros give an inside view on the food-writing business. Whether its magazines and newspapers, radio and television, print or internet, you can bet that Charles Campion and Tim Hayward have been there. So You Want To Be a Food Writer? is at 12.30pm on Sunday in the Wedgewood Room on Sunday. Tickets £6.00

Ever since Proust dunked his donut in his coffee the food-memoir has been here to stay. However author Josceline Dimbleby and broadcaster Simon Parkes can be expected to give an altogether sprightlier account of this classic symbiosis. Josceline Dimbleby ‘s latest book Orchards in the Oasis is her story of a lifetime of cooking, writing and travelling, while Simon Parkes recently explored the current popularity of the food-memoir genre for BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme. Travels, Food and Memories is at 5.00pm on Saturday in the Wedgewood Room. Tickets £6.00

And finally although Pete Brown is mainly tasting ales and perries, we shouldn’t forget that he is Beer Writer of The Year and author of some very entertaining books!

All these events can be purchased online.  More details on Diary at A Glance

Martin Orbach

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