Lincoln Book Festival

22 Sep 2018 - 29 Sep 2018

History At Its Heart

Lincoln Book Festival 2018: Revolutionary Thinking!

This year’s festival theme is revolution, commemorating the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act which first gave some British women the right to vote. Audiences are invited to explore a potent mix of ‘revolutionary ideas’ down the ages, from the Big Bang to Punk Rock, through a programme of intimate talks with acclaimed writers.

This year’s guest authors include Michael Morpurgo, Tracy Borman, Sally Nicholls, Marcus Chown, Maggie Andrews and Janis Lomas as well as a new range of family-friendly fringe events and a return of the popular flash fiction short story competition.

Full festival programme


Festival Launch Party - Monday 24th September at 6:15pm FREE
What to expect at this event
The 2018 Lincoln Book Festival Launch features as special guest award-winning writer Sally Nicholls, author of THINGS A BRIGHT GIRL CAN DO, who will be talking about reading, writing, inspiration and imagination.

This free-to-attend event is also a chance to explore the excellent work of the charity FIRST STORY, which brings professional writers into secondary schools in low-income communities to foster creativity and communication skills. Students following the programme in a Lincoln school will read from their work.

There will also be the announcement of the winners of our 2018 FLASH FICTION COMPETITION which challenged aspiring writers to submit their own ultra-short stories of just 50 words on the festival’s theme of revolution. First Story will launch its new Wordsmith poetry competition to find a new Lincolnshire laureate!




Explosive New Worlds - Tuesday 25th September at 6:15pm Tickets £10
What to expect at this event:

Top science writer Marcus Chown and acclaimed historian and biographer Rebecca Fraser explore explosive new worlds with in this two-part author event at The Collection.

Marcus writes about some pretty crazy ideas: Can time run backwards? Is there an infinity of universes playing out all possible histories? Was our universe a DIY experiment by extra-terrestrials in another universe? His award-winning THE ASCENT OF GRAVITY (Sunday Times Science Book of the Year 2017) explains why the force that keeps our feet on the ground holds the key to understanding time and the origin of the universe. In his latest book, BIG BANG, he takes us back to the first and biggest revolution of all. Marcus is cosmology consultant of New Scientist and a former radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology. He has done stand-up comedy and was a regular guest on the BBC4 comedy-science show, It’s Only A Theory, with Andy Hamilton and Reginald D Hunter, and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.

Rebecca is a writer and broadcaster, former chair of the Brontë Society and author of a stunning biography of Charlotte Brontë, and of A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF BRITAIN. In THE MAYFLOWER GENERATION she tells the epic story of one family’s flight from England, the background to why they left, the new life they forged in America and the tender relationship at the heart of Thanksgiving. She offers a new perspective on a classic story by showing the very human people behind what has become a part of the founding of America: details of domestic life in 17th century, histories of brave and vocal Puritan women and the sometimes violent contradictions between the beliefs of fathers and sons as they made the painful decisions which determined their future in America.




Sisters of the Revolution Part 2 - Thursday 27th September at 6:15pm Tickets £10 
What to expect at this event:

Acclaimed historians – Professor Maggie Andrews, Dr Janis Lomas and Jane Robinson –  will invite audiences to examine pivotal moments and objects from the history of women’s rights and the suffrage movement, including a spotlight on the campaigns of the suffragists and suffragettes which led to the 1918 Representation of the People Act.

Maggie and Janis take a sideways look at the developing role of women in society: what are the objects that symbolise their journey from second-class citizens with no legal rights, no vote and no official status to the powerful people they are today? And what are the objects that oppress women even now? THE HISTORY OF WOMEN IN 100 OBJECTS documents the inanimate objects that have changed their lives, from the corset to the contraceptive pill, the bones of the first woman to Rosa Parks’s mugshot and the iconic Mary Quant cape. Maggie is Professor of Cultural History at Worcester University. Janis is a founding member of the Women’s History Network.

Jane is a social historian specialising in the study of women pioneers. HEARTS AND MINDS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE GREAT PILGRIMAGE AND HOW WOMEN WON THE VOTE tells the story of the suffragists: the non-militant campaigners for the vote. They were rich and poor, young and old, they defied convention, risked jobs, family relationships and even their lives to persuade the country to listen to them. Eventually they joined forces on an astonishing six-week protest march they called the Great Pilgrimage. By turns dangerous, exhausting and exhilarating, the Great Pilgrimage transformed the personal and political lives of women in Britain for ever. HEARTS AND MINDS was featured on BBC Radio 4 Start the Week. Jane lives in London but her forebears were printers in Lincolnshire!



Anarchy - Friday 28th September at 6:15pm Tickets £10
What to expect at this event

Music journalist John Robb and Oxford historian Dr Marc Mulholland explore different expressions of anarchy.

Marc’s special interest is in the history of political thought since the French Revolution, so who better to follow the young revolutionary Emmanuel Barthélemy from the barricades of Paris to the English fireside of Karl Marx. A thrilling portrait of the dark underworld of conspiracy, insurrection and fatal idealism, THE MURDERER OF WARREN STREET: TRUE STORY OF A 19TH CENTURY REVOLUTIONARY is ‘a Victorian whodunit… swashbuckling adventure and political thriller… a magnificent book’ (Francis Wheen, The Oldie). Marc grew up in a forest in Co Antrim during the Troubles; he is now a Professor of Modern History at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. His previous books are a biography of Terence O’Neill and BOURGEOIS LIBERTY AND THE POLITICS OF FEAR.

John grew up in Blackpool before punk rock saved his life. He is many-faceted: he still tours with post-punk mainstays The Membranes and Goldblade; he was the first journalist to interview Nirvana and he famously coined the expression Britpop. His books include the official biography of the Stone Roses and PUNK ROCK: AN ORAL HISTORY which lifts the lid on punk, in all its vibrant glory, drawing on more than 100 interviews to chart the radical movement which exploded in Seventies Britain. John writes for several national newspapers, lectures, appears on TV, is a political campaigner and a talking head on punk, zen, the universe and veganism. He may talk about some or all of these things!




Local History Morning - Saturday 29th September at 10am FREE
What to expect at this event

Join this celebration of Lincolnshire’s past at the festival’s free-to-attend Local History Morning. Topics include Charles Darwin’s Lincolnshire connections and an exploration of Lincoln’s Roman origins.

The event takes place at The Collection from 10am. There will be book stalls in the atrium by Lincoln Record Society, Survey of Lincoln, Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology and Lindum Books. Book signings are at 12noon.

Speakers are:

10.05am – Peter Worsley – The Darwin Farms: the Lincolnshire Estates of Charles and Erasmus Darwin and their Family

10.30am – Richard Olney – Farming & Society in N. Lincs: the Dixons of Holton-le-Moor, 1741–1906

11.05am – Antony Lee – Pursuing the Pomerium: the Sacred Boundary of Roman Lincoln (Roman Lincoln article, SLHA Journal 49)

11.30am – Emma Lingard – Grimsby Streets.