Meet The Author With Warwick Books : Matthew Engel

June 5th, 2015

On Friday 5th June 7.30pm at Lord Leycester’s Hospital  Matthew Engel will be talking about his book ‘Engel’s England’

England, says Matthew Engel, is the most complicated place in the world. And, as he travels through each of the historic English counties, he discovers that’s just the start of it. Every county is fascinating, the product of a millennium or more of history: still a unique slice of a nation that has not quite lost its ancient diversity.

He finds the well-dressers of Derbyshire and the pyromaniacs of Sussex; the Hindus and huntsmen of Leicestershire; the goddess-worshippers of Somerset. He tracks down the real Lancashire, hedonistic Essex, and the most mysterious house in Middlesex. In Durham he goes straight from choral evensong to the dog track. As he seeks out the essence of each county – from Yorkshire’s broad acres to the microdot of Rutland – Matthew always finds the unexpected .

‘Engel’s England’ is a totally original look at an amazing country: a guidebook for people who don’t think they need a guidebook. It is always quirky, sometimes poignant and often extremely funny.

“Wry, rueful, funny, packed with knowledge… it is simply the most enjoyable commentary on today’s England that could be imagined.” – John Carey, Sunday Times
“A joy and a treasure trove… Do not leave your county without it.” – Jasper Rees, The Oldie
“It’s a lovely book, hugely funny at times.” – Rod Liddle, The Spectator
” If you could bottle his wit, it would taste as sharp, rich and savoury as Worcestershire sauce on a Cornish pasty stuffed to bursting.” – Iain Finlayson, The Times

Matthew Engel is a writer and editor who began his career in 1972. He worked on The Guardian newspaper for nearly 25 years, reporting on a wide range of political and sporting events including a stint as Washington correspondent beginning on 9/11. He now writes a column in the Financial Times. He has also been an Editor of Wisden. In 2011 he was the News International Visiting Professor of Media at the University of Oxford

Matthew lives in Herefordshire with his wife Hilary and daughter Vika. His son Laurie died of cancer in 2005, aged 13, and he then set up a successful charity fund in his memory, the Laurie Engel Fund, which has raised more than £1m in partnership with the Teenage Cancer Trust to build a new unit in Birmingham (opened 2010) for patients. The proceeds of a book he wrote, ‘Extracts from the Red Notebooks’ (Macmillan), are donated to this fund. His latest book, ‘Engel’s England‘, was published in 2014.

Meet The Author With Warwick Books : Dr Ruth Scurr

April 29th, 2015

On Wednesday 29th April 7pm at Lord Leycester’s Hospital  Ruth Scurr will be talking about her new book ‘John Aubrey : My Own Life’

aubAnno 1634, Easton Pierse
I was born about sun rising in my maternal grandfather’s bedchamber on 12th March 1626. St. Gregory’s Day, very sickly, likely to die.

John Aubrey loved England. From an early age, he saw his England slipping away and, against extraordinary odds, committed himself to preserving for posterity what remained of it – in books, monuments and life stories. His Brief Lives would redefine the art of biography yet he published only one rushed, botched book in his lifetime and died fearing his name and achievements would be forgotten.

Ruth Scurr’s biography is an act of scholarly imagination: a diary drawn from John Aubrey’s own words, displaying his unique voice, dry wit, the irreverence and drama of a literary pioneer. Aubrey saw himself modestly as a collector of a vanishing past, a ‘scurvy antiquary’. But he was also one of the pioneers of modern writing, a journalist before the age of journalism, who witnessed the Civil War and the Great Fire of London in the company of some of the influential men and women, high and low, whose lives he would make his legacy.

John Aubrey’s own life was a poignant personal and financial struggle to record the doings of great men and the relics of antiquity, the habits of Christopher Wren, Isaac Newton and Thomas Hobbes, the stones of Stonehenge and the stained glass of forgotten churches. In this genre-defying account, rich with the London taverns and elegiac landscapes of an England he helped to preserve, Ruth Scurr has resurrected John Aubrey as a potent spirit for our own time.Scurr,Ruth- no credit

Ruth Scurr is an historian, biographer and literary critic. She teaches history and politics at Cambridge University, where she is a Lecturer and Fellow of Gonville & Caius College. Her first book, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution won the Franco-British Society Literary Prize, was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize and was listed among the 100 Best Books of the Decade in The Times. She reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement, The Telegraph and the Wall Street Journal.


Meet The Author With Warwick Books : Professor Edith Hall

April 23rd, 2015

On Wednesday 22nd April 7pm at Lord Leycester’s Hospital  Professor Edith Hall will be talking about her new book ‘Introducing the Ancient Greeks’

untitledThe ancient Greeks invented democracy, theater, rational science, and philosophy. They built the Parthenon and the Library of Alexandria. They wrote down the timeless myths of Odysseus and Oedipus, and the histories of Leonidas s three hundred Spartans and Alexander the Great. But understanding these uniquely influential people has been hampered by their diffusion across the entire Mediterranean. Most ancient Greeks did not live in what is now Greece but in settlements scattered across Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Libya, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine. They never formed a single unified social or political entity. Acclaimed classics scholar Edith Hall’s ‘Introducing the Ancient Greeks’ is the first book to offer a synthesis of the entire ancient Greek experience, from the rise of the Mycenaean kingdoms of the sixteenth century BC to the final victory of Christianity over paganism in AD 391.

Each of the ten chapters in her book visits a different Greek community at a different moment during the twenty centuries of ancient Greek history. In the process, the book makes a powerful original argument: A cluster of unique qualities made the Greeks special and made them the right people, at the right time, to take up the baton of human progress. According to Herodotus, the father of history, what made all Greeks identifiably Greek was their common descent from the same heroes, the way they sacrificed to their gods, their rules of decent behavior, and their beautiful language. Edith Hall argues, however, that their mind-set was just as important as their awe-inspiring achievements. They were rebellious, individualistic, inquisitive, open-minded, witty, rivalrous, admiring of excellence, articulate, and addicted to pleasure. But most important was their continuing identity as mariners, the restless seagoing lifestyle that brought them into contact with ethnically diverse peoples in countless new settlements, and the constant stimulus to technological innovation provided by their intense relationship with the sea. Expertly researched and elegantly told, ‘Introducing the Ancient Greeks‘ is “an indispensable contribution to our understanding of the Greeks.”© Michael Wharley Photography 2013


Edith Hall is Professor in the Classics Department and Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s College London. Her specialism is ancient Greek literature, but she enjoys putting the pleasure as well as the rigour into all aspects of ancient Greek and Roman history, society, and thought. She has been named recipient of the Erasmus Medal, for her outstanding contribution to international scholarship, by the European Academy. She is the first woman to receive the medal and the first working in the field of Literature and Theatre. She will be giving the Erasmus Lecture in Darmstadt before the award ceremony in September 2015.


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).


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