News Release

Tuesday 23rd April 2024


Ealing’s book lovers came out in force to mark the inaugural Ealing Book Festival as over 1,300 visitors joined the first edition of the four-day Festival. The Ealing community came together to attend talks with internationally-renowned authors including Sathnam Sanghera and John Boyne; Booker Prize-winner Eleanor Catton; and former children’s laureates Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Lauren Child. The Festival programme also included writing and poetry workshops; poetry recitals; walking tours; a local authors showcase; and a competition for young poets - all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery in central Ealing.

This year’s Festival showcased a diverse array of literary talent, including both established and emerging authors and speakers. The programme kicked off on Thursday 11th April with a look at how great artists see the world in a conversation between Clare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, and former BBC journalist and director of the Soane Museum Will Gompertz. The four-day literary celebration concluded on Sunday 14th April when Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music fame played out the Festival on his electric guitar.

In addition, the programme of 20 events - many of which sold out in advance - encompassed discussions with renowned authors including Kathryn Hughes, Roger Moorhouse, Charlotte Philby, Alex Gerlis, Marina Cantacuzino and poet Seni Seneviratne; a creative poetry workshop with local artist Narvir Singh; a local authors showcase attended by 18 published authors and led by literature champion and Capital Xtra DJ Jojo Silva; readings by local poets James Pendle and Lisa Kelly; a workshop on how to get published with Anne Marie Ryan from Hachette and Amelia Fairney from Penguin; and the awards ceremony for the Festival’s Young Poets Competition attended by the 24 shortlisted poets and the Mayor of Ealing. The shortlisted poems were on display at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery for a week and online.

Catherine Jaquiss, Chair, Ealing Book Festival, shared her thoughts, saying: “The response to the very first Ealing Book Festival from the local community exceeded all of our expectations. Pulling it together has been a huge team effort, from our dedicated organising team and local volunteers who helped us over the Festival weekend; the team at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, which provided such a beautiful venue for our events; and our other partners and sponsors whose support has been so invaluable. We are proud to have brought together such a wide range of authors, readers, and cultural enthusiasts from West London and beyond to celebrate the written word in all its forms. Now we’ve established Ealing on the literary map we look forward to building on this year’s success when the Festival returns in 2025.”

Clare Gough, Director, Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, added: “ All of us at Pitzhanger were delighted to play our part in making the 2024 Festival an unequivocal success. Witnessing the convergence of literature enthusiasts, authors and our staff and volunteers during this extraordinary event was a true testament to the power of storytelling and community. Our mission at Pitzhanger is to make it a hub of inspiration, dialogue, and imagination - building on the legacy of architect Sir John Soane - and it was a joy to see West London’s book-loving community come together over the four days of the Festival to forge new connections and share their passion for books, literature and debate. We look forward to continuing this energy over Pitzhanger's full programme of talks and events across the summer and we're already excited for what next year’s book festival will bring!”

After appearing at the Festival, author John Boyne, whose most recent novel is Earth, said: “I had a great time and was delighted by the turnout. I’m looking forward to next time.”

Children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, who also participated in the Festival to talk about her new book The Girl Who Wasn’t There, commented: “Lovely event, lovely audience, lovely venue.”

The 2024 festival took place at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, partner of the Ealing Book Festival. With its stunning architectural features and gorgeous views over the park it is the perfect home for creativity, inspiration and imagination. Founder sponsor Savills also played an instrumental role in bringing the ambitious cultural event to the borough of Ealing. Ealing Book Festival is also grateful for funding from the Ealing Small Grants programme and the Freshwater Foundation, and support from St Benedict’s School, the University of West London and West London Tutoring.

Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireworld, at the 2024 Ealing Book Festival

Lauren Child, author of Clarice Bean: Smile, at the 2024 Ealing Book Festival