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Garden Museum Literary Festival 2018

‘This nimble event moves every year to a different garden… But wherever this blissful young festival roams in future, it’s certainly worth downing tools to follow it.’ – Daily Telegraph

The Garden Museum is delighted to announce our fifth Literary Festival, to take place over the weekend of 7th and 8th July 2018. Begun in 2013, the world’s only festival dedicated to writing inspired by gardens has travelled from garden to garden across Britain, but this year – for one time only – will take place in London, to celebrate the reopened Museum and our new gardens and café. Chefs from our lauded new restaurant will also be creating a special menu for the weekend for guests to savour.*

As the Festival will be in London, we are taking what makes its green spaces unique as our overarching theme this year.

We are thrilled to announce the programme for the 2018 Garden Museum Literary Festival.

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There will also be food throughout the weekend from the Garden Café*, as well as cooking demos, beekeeping workshops and a last chance to see our Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman exhibition.

Christopher Woodward, Director of the Garden Museum, says:

‘We began our Festival to celebrate good writing inspired by gardens, whether design and art, memoir or fiction. We’ve skipped from garden to garden, with a programme inspired by each place: Serge Hill, the walled garden at Petworth, Hatfield House and last year Boughton House, a slumbering Baroque masterpiece in Northamptonshire.

This year the Festival is coming to London to celebrate our new building, gardens – and the talents of our chefs Harry Kaufman and George Ryle. And to share the many garden stories that London has to tell.

The joy of this Festival is that it’s small, friendly, and fresh. You won’t be queueing at the back of a big tent to hear a speaker trotting out their on-tour talk. Just green voices and green thoughts in an urban oasis.’


Weekend Tickets

Standard £110, Garden Museum Friend £100, Under 30s £60

Saturday Tickets

Standard £60, Garden Museum Friend £50, Under 30s £30

Sunday Tickets

Standard £60, Garden Museum Friend £50, Under 30s £30

Half day tickets

Standard £35, Garden Museum Friend £30

*Ticket price does not include food

‘A perfect day.’ – Dan Pearson

‘A treat and beautifully organised.’ – Shane Connolly

 ‘One of the loveliest new spaces to open in the capital in a long while and boasts food to match.’ – Jay Rayner

Writing Competition: The Mollie Salisbury Cup

Simultaneous to the Literary Festival, we have launched the first Mollie Salisbury Cup. The winner will be announced at the Literary Festival.

Announced Speakers

  • Mary Keen

    Mary Keen

    Mary Keen is an internationally known gardener, garden designer and writer, who has always been more interested in atmosphere and the whole setting of a garden than in high horticulture. After 25 years of opening her Gloucestershire Old Rectory to groups from all over the world, she is starting life in her new small town garden and three allotments.

  • Leif Bersweden

    Leif Bersweden

    Leif Bersweden has had a lifelong interest in nature, focusing on plants from the age of seven. He grew up in rural Wiltshire where he taught himself how to identify the local flora and now regularly leads plant identification training courses for The Species Recovery Trust. Leif graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in Biology and is now a PhD student at Kew Gardens, where his research focuses on orchid genetics. In a world where an interest in botany is becoming increasingly rare, he wants to help put plants back on the map and is endeavouring to do this through his teaching, research and publications.

  • Allan Jenkins

    Allan Jenkins

    Allan Jenkins is the award-winning editor of Observer Food Monthly. He was previously editor of the Observer Magazine, food and drink editor on the Independent newspaper and once lived in an experimental eco-community on Anglesey, growing organic food on the edge of the Irish Sea. He is the co-author of Fish, the J. Sheekey cookbook, and lives in north-west London.

  • Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

    Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

    Todd Longstaffe-Gowan is a landscape architect, historian, author and collector with an international design practice based in London. He is Gardens Adviser to Historic Royal Palaces, Landscape Adviser to the Crown Estate Paving Commission in Regent’s Park, and founding member and President of the London Parks and Gardens Trust. He is the author of several books, including The London Town Garden 1700-1840 (Yale University Press).

    Photo by Paola Moretti

  • Charlie Hart

    Charlie Hart

    Charlie Hart read theology at Cambridge University before working in a number of roles in London. He now lives and gardens on the Essex-Suffolk border with his family.

  • Rachel Landon

    Rachel Landon

    Rachel Landon is a naturopath iridologist and herbalist, living in North West London with her husband and four children.

    Rachel specialises in family health and healthful aging a subject she became especially interested in when researching her book Super Herbs, a herbal guidebook for modern day living introducing easily accessible adaptogen herbs that assist in reducing environmental, emotional and physical stressors. These herbs help to support and improve overall health and wellbeing.

    Rachel loves working with her clients considering every aspect of their lives and their health encouraging them to be a more conscious and knowledgeable participants in their own mental, physical and emotional health.

  • Andrew Rossabi

    Andrew Rossabi

    Andrew Rossabi was born in Looe, Cornwall, in 1941. He was educated at St Paul's School (foundation scholar) and Christ's College, Cambridge (open major scholar), where he took a First in the Classical Tripos. He has worked mainly in publishing variously as a reader, blurb writer and editor. He edited The Evening Colonnade, the last collection of essays and reviews published by Cyril Connolly in his lifetime, and the controversial novel Crash by J.G. Ballard. For many years he taught classics and ancient history part-time at Highgate School. Rossabi is president of the Richard Jefferies Society, has written and lectured extensively on Jefferies, and last year completed the first volume of a projected three-volume biography, A Peculiarly English Genius, published by Petton Books. He is married with two children and lives in Highgate, North London.

  • Tiffany Francis

    Tiffany Francis

    Tiffany Francis is an author and naturalist from Hampshire who specialises in writing about wildlife, landscapes and rural heritage. Tiffany works at Butser Ancient Farm in the South Downs as a creative developer and goat-keeper. She has a monthly wildlife column in Hampshire Life, and has written for the Guardian, Countryfile and the Woodland Trust, and appeared on BBC radio.

  • Ken Worpole

    Ken Worpole

    Ken Worpole is a writer and social historian, whose work includes many books on architecture, landscape and public policy. He is married to photographer Larraine Worpole with whom he has collaborated on book projects internationally, as well as in Hackney, London, where they have lived and worked since 1969.

    His principal interests concern the planning and design of new settlements, landscapes and public institutions - streets, parks, playgrounds, libraries, informal education - based on the pioneering achievements of 20th century social democracy, as well as the modern environmental movement. In recent years his work has focused on contemporary landscape aesthetics and working with architects and garden designers on the creation of new forms of residential settlements for an ageing population.

    Ken is Emeritus Professor, Cities Institute London Metropolitan University, and has served on the UK government’s Urban Green Spaces Task Force, on the Expert Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and as an adviser to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

  • Rebecca Welshman

    Rebecca Welshman

    Rebecca Welshman is an author and researcher who specialises in the works of Richard Jefferies and Thomas Hardy. She has recently edited a new collection of Jefferies' essays titled Sport in the Fields and Woods. Her other publications include articles about Jefferies in journals and magazines, and her own nature writing in the magazines This England and Earthlines.

  • Iain Sinclair

    Iain Sinclair

    Born in Wales, he invented psychogeography.

    He started his career gardening in Tower Hamlets - he is interested in landscape the relationship between place and person.

    One of a series of Sinclair's works focused around London is the non-fiction London Orbital, along with a documentary film of the same name and subject. It describes a series of trips he took tracing the M25, London's outer-ring motorway, on foot. Sinclair followed this with Edge of the Orison in 2005, a psychogeographical reconstruction of the poet John Clare's walk from Dr Matthew Allen's private lunatic asylum, at Fairmead House, High Beach, in the centre of Epping Forest in Essex, to his home in Helpston, near Peterborough.

  • Karen Liebreich MBE

    Karen Liebreich MBE

    Karen Liebreich is an author and gardener. She has a PhD in history, then made documentary films for the BBC, before setting up a small publishing company. Between 2005-2009 she ran the community Chiswick House Kitchen Garden (which started as a campaign to save the 17th century walled garden from becoming a car park). This led to The Family Kitchen Garden which became a bestseller in Germany. She was awarded an MBE in 2013 for services to horticulture and education. Having planted over 200 heritage fruit trees and secured three years’ funding, the Kitchen Garden charity handed the garden back to the overall park’s Trust. Other books include The Letter in the Bottle which has been translated into many languages (including Chinese), and the most recent, The Black Page: Interviews with Nazi Film-makers (2017). Meanwhile Karen set up Abundance London (2010) with Sarah Cruz. This is a charitable organisation that harvests surplus fruit in association with schools and volunteers that would otherwise go to waste. Abundance also plants orchards and guerrilla gardens neglected spaces, creating beautiful spaces, mainly through planting, but also through art. The first major art project was the Chiswick Timeline, a huge mural in West London.

  • Sofka Zinovieff

    Sofka Zinovieff

    Sofka Zinovieff was born in London, has Russian ancestry and after many years in Athens, divides her time between Greece and England. She studied social anthropology at Cambridge and carried out the research for her PhD in Greece. She has also lived in Moscow and Rome, working as a freelance journalist and reviewer writing mainly for British publications including The Telegraph Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement, The Financial Times, The Spectator, The Independent Magazine and The London Magazine.

    Her latest book is Putney - a novel about the far-reaching repercussions of an illicit relationship between a young girl and a much older man that has been described as "an explosive, modern-day Lolita" (published by Bloomsbury in July 2018). She is also the author of Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life, The House on Paradise Street and The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and me.

    She is married and has two daughters.

  • Mark Diacono

    Mark Diacono

    Mark Diacono runs Otter Farm, home to orchards of pecans, peaches, almonds, szechuan pepper, apricots, a perennial garden, a veg patch and a vineyard. His refreshing approach to growing and eating has done much to inspire a new generation to grow some of what they eat.
    Mark is lucky enough to spend most of his time eating, growing, writing and talking about food. His A Year at Otter Farm and A Taste of the Unexpected both won Food Book of the Year in 2015 and 2011 respectively; The New Kitchen Garden won Garden Book of the Year in 2016.
    Mark was involved with River Cottage, appearing in the TV series, running courses and events at River Cottage HQ, and he has written four River Cottage books. Mark also writes features for a range of publications, including the Telegraph, the Observer and Country Life.

  • Lia Leendertz

    Lia Leendertz

    Lia Leendertz is an award-winning garden and food writer. She writes a weekly column for the Telegraph, a monthly column for The Garden magazine and a long-running series ongrowing and eating seasonally for Simple Things magazine. She also contributes frequently to the Guardian and Gardens Illustrated. She is the author of several gardening books and the cookbook Petal, Leaf, Seed: Cooking with the garden's treasures

  • Miriam Darlington

    Miriam Darlington

    Miriam Darlington was born in Lewes, Sussex, and now lives in Totnes. She has tracked and studied wildlife for most of her life and is an avid bird-watcher, expert owl-finder, and top otter-spotter. She has a degree in Modern Languages, a PhD in Nature Writing, a certificate in Field Ecology and is a Nature Notebook columnist at The Times. Her first book, Otter Country, was published in 2012. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Plymouth University and spends the rest of her time writing and researching about wildlife and the people in its grasp. Her latest book is Owl Sense.

  • Kate Bradbury

    Kate Bradbury

    Kate Bradbury is passionate about organic, wildlife-friendly gardening and gardens on a small patch of land in Brighton. She is the author of The Wildlife Gardener, and writes for a number of publications including the Guardian. She can occasionally be heard talking about garden wildlife on Gardeners' Question Time

  • Will Ashon

    Will Ashon

    Will Ashon was born in Leicester in 1969. Having worked as a music journalist, he founded the record label Big Dada Recordings in 1996, which he ran for over fifteen years, signing acts like Roots Manuva, Wiley, Diplo, Kate Tempest and Young Fathers and, in the process, winning the Mercury Music Prize twice. He published two novels with Faber & Faber, Clear Water and The Heritage. His most recent book, 'Strange Labyrinth' tells the cultural history of Epping Forest. He currently lives in Walthamstow, north-east London

  • Tim Richardson

    Tim Richardson

    Tim Richardson, garden historian and landscape critic, is an irreverent commentator on all matters pertaining to gardens. He was gardens editor at Country Life, at *Wallpaper magazine and edited New Eden, the contemporary gardens magazine. He is now a regular columnist in the gardening pages of the Daily Telegraph.

  • Jon Day

    Jon Day

    Jon Day is a writer, critic and academic. He teaches English at King’s College, London. He has written essays and reviews for the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, n+1, and many others. He is a regular book critic for the Financial Times, writes about art for Apollo, and is a columnist for British Homing World, the UK’s premier pigeon-racing newspaper. His first book, Cyclogeography, was published in 2015. Homing, an anti-travel book about pigeons and the idea of home, will be published in 2019.

  • Hetty Saunders

    Hetty Saunders

    Hetty Saunders was first introduced to J. A. Baker and the Baker Archive as a literature postgraduate at the University of Cambridge. She was instantly captivated by the astounding prose of Baker’s first book, The Peregrine, and the mysterious life of its author. Hetty has been working as an independent researcher and archivist in the Baker Archive since October 2015; she has written a descriptive bibliographic catalogue of the Archive, available soon from the website of the Albert Sloman Library Special Collections at the University of Essex.

  • Tanita de Ruijt

    Tanita de Ruijt

    Tanita de Ruijt's simple approach to health and wellbeing is predominantly inspired by her eclectic third culture upbringing and travels throughout Indonesia. With an intrepid appetite for all things food and culture, she is on a mission to preserve the traditional values of food cultures that have sustained healthy people for centuries, by making them more accessible today.
    "I want to make wellness accessible, and to equip people with the education and practical skills they need, without spending much money on products, if any."

  • Leah Hyslop

    Leah Hyslop

    Leah Hyslop is a food journalist and editor. She was born in London and educated at Oxford University, where she studied English literature. After seven years at the Telegraph, where she wrote the weekly Saturday column Readers’ Recipes, she joined Sainsbury’s Magazine as Food Director in 2016. She lives in East London, where she is the proud mother of a vast collection of cake tins.

  • Mark Griffiths

    Mark Griffiths

    Mark Griffiths is a horticulturist, historian and author. His books include 'The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening' (1992) and 'The Lotus Quest' (2009), and his articles appear regularly in Country Life magazine. For the past decade, he has been investigating the Elizabethan surgeon, gardener and botanist John Gerard and his circle.