Meet The Author With Warwick Books : Juliet Barker

November 20th, 2014

On Thursday 20th November 7pm at Lord Leycester’s Hospital renowned historian Juliet Barker will be talking about her new book ‘England Arise – The People, The King And the Great Revolt of 1381′

untitledWe are privileged to be welcoming back Dr Juliet Barker who gave such an inspiring talk on one of her previous books

‘Agincourt’. Juliet will be talking about the dramatic and shocking events of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. The book explores   how and why such a diverse and unlikely group of ordinary men and women from every corner of England united in armed rebellion against church and state to demand a radical political agenda which, had it been implemented, would have fundam

entally transformed English society and anticipated the French Revolution by four hundred years. The book will not only provide an important reassessment of the revolt itself but will also be an illuminating and original study of English medieval life at the time. In this respect the same highly successful techniques she deployed in ‘Agincourt’ and ‘Conquest’ will this time be brought to bear on civilian society, from the humblest serf forced to provide slave-labour for his master in the fields, to the prosperous country goodwife brewing, cooking and spinning her distaff and the ambitious burgess expanding his business and his mental horizons in the town.

Born in Yorkshire, Juliet Barker was educated at Bradford Girls’ Grammar School and St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she studied history. Widely acclaimed for setting new standards of literary biography, she is also an expert on chivalry and the world authority on medieval English tournaments. Her books include The Brontës, Conquest and the bestselling Agincourt. In 1999 she was one of the youngest ever recipients of an honorary Doctorate of Letters, awarded by the University of Bradford in recognition of her outstanding contribution to literary biography, and in 2001 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Tickets will be available from Warwick Books and Kenilworth Books £3.50 (£2 concessions).


Meet The Author With Warwick Books : Helen Castor

November 5th, 2014

On a date TBA at Lord Leycester’s Hospital renowned historian Helen Castor will talk about her new book ‘Joan of Arc’

untitledAcclaimed historian Helen Castor brings us a gripping new life of Joan of Arc. Instead of the icon, she gives us a living, breathing young woman – a roaring girl fighting the English, and taking sides in the bloody civil war that tore fifteenth-century France apart.

Here is the extraordinary true story behind the myth of the Maid of Orleans. A peasant girl who hears voices from God. A teenage warrior leading an army to victory, in an age that believes women cannot fight. Burned at the stake as a heretic at the age of just nineteen. Five hundred years later, a saint.

Joan and her world are brought vividly to life in this thrilling new account. Helen Castor takes us to the heart of the action, to a tumultuous moment in history when no one – not Joan herself, nor the people around her, princes, bishops, soldiers or peasants – knows what will happen next.

‘A triumph – brings the real Joan and her time to dramatic, moving and brilliant life.’ Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets

Dr Helen Castor studied for her BA and PhD at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and was elected to a Research untitledFellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1993. In the following year she was appointed Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

She remains a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, but since 2002 she has concentrated on writing history for a broader readership. Her book Blood & Roses is a biography of the fifteenth-century Paston family, whose remarkable letters are the earliest surviving collection of private correspondence in the English language. Blood & Roses was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2005, and was awarded the Beatrice White Prize (for outstanding scholarly work in the field of English Literature before 1590) by the English Association in 2006. Her last book She-Wolves was selected as one of the books of the year for 2010 in the Guardian, Times, Sunday Times, Independent, Financial Times and BBC History Magazine.

In 2011, Helen became one of the presenters of Radio 4’s Making History, and began to present history documentaries – including three programmes based on She-Wolves – for BBC television. She lives in London with her husband and son.

Tickets will be available from Warwick Books and Kenilworth Books £3.50 (£2 concessions).

Meet The Author With Warwick Books : M C Beaton

October 15th, 2014

untitledOn Wednesday 15th October 7pm at The Seniors Club, Kenilworth renowned author M C Beaton will be talking about her new book ‘Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman’

M C Beaton is one of the pen names used by Marion Chesney. She is the author of  over a hundred historical romances as well as the televised Hamish McBeth crime series and of course the incredibly successful Agatha Raisin mysteries set in the Cotswolds…in fact MC Beaton remains the UK’s most borrowed adult British author in UK libraries.

Marion is a woman who certainly knows a lot about books. She started her career in Scotland, the country of her birth, working as the buyer of fiction for a Glasgow book shop. She has also been a journalist and critic. She came to fiction writing as a career relatively late – during her forties – but doesn’t seem to have looked back since then!

mcbeaton_web_picHer new book will have an apprpriate Christmas theme. ……Even though Agatha Raisin loathes Christmas panto, her friend Mrs Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, has persuaded her to support the local am dram society in their festive offering. Stifling a yawn at the production of Babes in the Wood, Agatha watches the baker playing an ogre strut and threaten on stage until a trapdoor opens. Followed by a scream and silence! Surely this wasn’t the way the scene was rehearsed? When it turns out the local baker had been murdered most horribly, Agatha puts her team of detectives on the case.

And they soon discover more feuds and temperamental behaviour in amateur dramatics than in a professional stage show – and face more and more danger as Agatha and her team get too close to the killer.

The book will be available for sale at the event, and Marion will be signing copies afterwards. A lovely Christmas present?

Tickets for the event are available from Kenilowrth Books and from Warwick Books

Meet The Author With Warwick Books : Philip Durkin

October 5th, 2014

On Sunday 5th October 10.30am at Lord Leycester’s Hospital the deputy chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary Philip Durkin will be talking about his book ‘Borrowed Words : A History of Loanwords in English’

9780199574995How has borrowing from other languages shaped the language we speak today? English stands out among languages around the world today for the number of words it has “borrowed” from other languages. Some borrowings like sushi, vodka, terrine, or poltergeist stand out to us immediately, but many others are so thoroughly embedded in the everyday language that only specialists are aware of their foreign origin (for example, cheese, inch, war, or even they). In fact it would be impossible to communicate effectively in English today without using words that were originally borrowed from other languages. Most of the loans that have become part of everyday English date back to the Middle Ages, and to the impact of Latin-speaking churchmen, Scandinavian settlers, Norman conquerors, and Anglo-French administrators. This talk will look at how and why the English vocabulary was so deeply influenced by these particular sources.

Dr Philip Durkin is Deputy Editor of the OED Philip Durkinand has led the dictionary’s team of specialists in etymology for the past fifteen years. His Oxford Guide to Etymology appeared in 2009, exploring all aspects of tracing the origins and development of words, with examples drawn largely from English and other modern languages.‘Borrowed Words’ is his latest book.

This is an event organised by us for Warwick Words. Philip will take questions after his talk and will be signing copies of the book afterwards. If you wish to purchase a copy of the book beforehand, please do call in to the Warwick or Kenilworth shops or email me on

Meet The Author With Warwick Books : Kate Williams

October 5th, 2014

On Sunday 5th October 2pm at Lord Leycester’s Hospital Kate Williams will be talking about her new book ‘The Storms of War’

The Storms of WarIn the idyllic early summer of 1914, life is good for the de Witt family. Rudolf and Verena are planning the wedding of their daughter Emmeline, while their eldest son Arthur is studying in Paris and Michael is just back from his first term at Cambridge. Celia, the youngest of the de Witt children, is on the brink of adulthood, and secretly dreams of escaping her carefully mapped-out future and exploring the world.

But the onslaught of war changes everything and soon the de Witts find themselves sidelined and in danger of losing everything they hold dear. As Celia struggles to make sense of the changing world around her, she lies about her age to join the war effort and finds herself embroiled in a complex plot that puts not only herself but those she loves in danger.

With gripping detail and brilliant empathy, Kate Williams tells the story of Celia and her family as they are shunned by a society that previously embraced them, torn apart by sorrow, and buffeted and changed by the storms of war.

The Storms of War is the first novel in esteemed TV historian Kate Williamss groundbreaking new series which opens in 1914.Kate Williams c Paul Stewart

Kate Williams is an author, social historian, constitutional and royal expert, broadcaster and novelist. Kate studied at Somerville College, Oxford and Queen Mary, University of London. She also took an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, where she now teaches. Kate is the author of five acclaimed non-fiction historical titles and one novel.

Kate appears regularly on radio and television as an expert on historical, royal and constitutional matters on BBC One, BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, the Today programme and Channel 4 News. She is Historical and Royal Analyst at CNN. Kate is also the social historian on BBC Twos Restoration Home and has presented historical documentaries on TV and radio, including Young Victoria and The History of the Smile.

Kate writes features, comment and reviews for newspapers and magazines, is a regular book prize judge and lectures to societies, events, dinners and literary festivals in England and Europe.


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