Lynda La Plante announced as Ambassador for London Book & Screen Week as festival unveils blockbuster 2020 line-up

From Yes Minister to Doctor Who, wide-ranging programme to feature Jonathan Lynn, Ayesha Hazarika, Joe Dunthorne, Lisa Owens, Scarlett Sabet, Jimmy Page and Miguel Barclay.

The sixth London Book & Screen Week (9- 15 March 2020) will celebrate 40 years of the iconic Yes Minister, the incredible career of Lynda La Plante, and national favourite Doctor Who, explore coming of age classics, poetry beyond the page, and serve up delicious meat free meals with ‘One Pound Chef ’ Miguel Barclay.

Produced by The London Book Fair, London Book & Screen Week is the capital’s biggest celebration of books and the films, TV programmes and virtual worlds they inspire, bringing together readers, writers, game, film and TV fans for events across the creative capital of the world.

Heading up the 2020 programme as festival Ambassador, queen of crime drama Lynda La Plante will discuss her illustrious career across page, stage and screen. From early performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in The Sweeney and Bergerac, to writing scripts for BAFTA-winning shows including Prime Suspect and Widows, recently adapted for a second time by Steve McQueen. Lynda has also achieved international success as author of over 30 novels and, in this special event, will offer a preview of her forthcoming book Buried (Zaffre, April 2020), the first in an exciting new series.

Joining the festival from New York, Jonathan Lynn, co-creator of the phenomenally successful Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, will be in London to discuss the hit political satire 40 years after it first aired. The multi award-winning writer, director and producer, whose latest book Samaritans takes a satirical look at the American healthcare system, will be in conversation with author, broadcaster, political pundit and award-winning comedian Ayesha Hazarika. The two will discuss the modern political landscape, parallels between the UK and US, and the tour de force of political satire that still remains relevant today.

From the dramas of state to the angst of adolescence, the festival welcomes Joe Dunthorne and Lisa Owens to discuss the horror and the brilliance, the humour and the heartache of coming-of-age tales. Joe’s hugely successful debut Submarine was adapted for screen by Richard Ayoade and Lisa is the scriptwriter behind the much-anticipated 2019 release Days of the Bagnold Summer, adapted from Joff Winterhart’s graphic novel and directed by The Inbetweeners’ Simon Bird.

Led by poet, podcaster and booktuber Leena Normington, they will discuss the rich territory of coming of age stories, their experience of adaptation and recent novels The Adulterants and Not Working which explore the challenges of navigating your 20s and 30s.

Fifteen years after it returned to our screens, journalist, broadcaster and lifelong fan Samira Ahmed will lead a conversation about one of the nation’s favourite TV shows, Doctor Who. The series not only draws in leading novelists to support scriptwriting but has inspired a wealth of print and audio adventures. Joining her will be actress and author Sophie Aldred, best known as companion of the seventh Doctor Who, Ace, writer Vinay Patel, who wrote the episode Demons of the Punjab, widely regarded as one of the highlights of series 11, and Simon Guerrier, who has written Doctor Who stories for BBC Books, Big Finish Productions, Doctor Who Magazine and the Doctor Who Figurine Collection. They will discuss what they’ve loved about the relaunched series, explore the secret to the show’s success across formats, and see what lies in store for the lucky number 13.

Proving that poetry has life beyond the page, London Book & Screen Week will be joined by poet and performer Scarlett Sabet in conversation with legendary musician Jimmy Page. Hailed by Hunger Magazine as “one of the brightest new stars on the international poetry scene”, Scarlett has built a reputation for her beautiful prose and emotive readings. Inspired by the Beat poets, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, her work explores themes of women and friendship, loss and childhood, and the politics of isolation and despair. Alongside a reading by Scarlett, the two will discuss their latest project, Catalyst, a radical sonic re-interpretation of selected pieces of Scarlett ’s work, released digitally and on special edition vinyl last year.

Rounding off the week, there will be a special brunch with bestselling author Miguel Barclay who shot to fame as ‘The One Pound Chef’. His goal is simple: to encourage people to cook simple and tasty meals at home for £1 per person. Miguel will discuss Meat-Free One Pound Meals and demonstrate recipes from his new book. Whether you’re veggie, adopting Meat-Free Monday, or just fancy trying something new, he will be serving up inspiration for nutritious vegetarian food without the expense.

Programme Highlights

MONDAY 9 MARCH
POETRY BEYOND PRINT: SCARLETT SABET IN CONVERSATION WITH JIMMY PAGE

Venue: Groucho Club

Hailed by Hunger Magazine as “one of the brightest new stars on the international poetry scene”, poet and performer Scarlett Sabet has built a reputation for her beautiful prose and emotive readings.

Inspired by the Beat poets, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, her work including four collections – Camille (2019), Zoreh (2018), The Lock and the Key (2016) and Rocking Underground (2014) – explores themes of women and friendship, loss and childhood, and the politics of isolation and despair.

Joining us for a London Book & Screen Week special, Scarlett will be in conversation with legendary musician Jimmy Page to discuss their latest project, Catalyst, a radical sonic reinterpretation of selected pieces of Scarlett ’s work, released digitally and on special edition vinyl last year.

Alongside a reading by Scarlett, the two will discuss the creative process behind the album, the relationship between word, sound and format, and whether the potential of poetry lies beyond the printed page. A unique opportunity to hear from both rock royalty and one of contemporary poetry’s brightest stars.

Ticket includes a complimentary drink and signed copy of Scarlett’s latest collection, Camille.

Ticket: £20 | 6:30pm | bit.ly/LBSW20-poetrybeyondprint

TUESDAY 10 MARCH
AN EVENING WITH LYNDA LA PLANTE
Venue: Groucho Club

London Book & Screen Week are delighted to welcome you to an evening to celebrate one of the UK’s best-loved writers, queen of crime drama Lynda La Plante.

Join Lynda for a gin cocktail at this special event as the writer discusses her illustrious career across page, stage and screen and offers a preview of her forthcoming book Buried (Zaffre, April 2020), the first in an exciting new series from the author.

Born and raised in Liverpool, La Plante trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and worked with the National Theatre and RSC before becoming a television actress starring in notable productions including Z-Cars, The Sweeney, The Professionals and Bergerac.

She then turned to writing and made her breakthrough with the phenomenally successful Widows, recently adapted for a second time by Steve McQueen. Her original script for the much-acclaimed Prime Suspect (starring Helen Mirren) won awards from BAFTA, Emmy, British Broadcasting and Royal Television society, as well as the 1993 Edgar Allan Poe Award.

Lynda has produced over 170 hours of international television and is one of only three screenwriters to have been made an honorary fellow of the British Film Institute. She was awarded the BAFTA Dennis Potter Best Writer Award in 2000.

In addition to work as an actress and screenwriter, Lynda is the author of over 30 novels, all of which have been international bestsellers. In 2008 she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Literature, Drama and Charity.

Ticket includes a complimentary drink. Attendees will also receive an exclusive first extract from Lynda’s new novel and first in a brand new series, Buried, before it publishes in hardback, eBook & Audio on 2nd April 2020.

Ticket: £20 | 6:30pm | bit.ly/LBSW20-lyndalaplante

WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH
COMING OF AGE CULT CLASSICS WITH JOE DUNTHORNE AND LISA OWENS
Venue: Groucho Club

From Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower to Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole, the coming-of-age tale is a treasure trove of classics, producing stories that capture the collective imagination and which we return to again and again across print, audio, stage and screen.

To discuss the horror and brilliance, the humour and the heartache, and how to create comedy from the angst of adolescence, London Book & Screen Week brings together Joe Dunthorne, whose hugely successful debut Submarine was adapted for screen by Richard Ayoade, and Lisa Owens, scriptwriter behind the much-anticipated Days of the Bagnold Summer, adapted from the graphic novel by Joff Winterhart (Director, Simon Bird).

Joe and Lisa will explore the rich territory of coming of age stories, their experience of adaptation and their recent novels The Adulterants and Not Working, which explore the challenges of your 20s and 30s.

The event will be hosted by poet, podcaster and booktuber, Leena Normington.

Joe Dunthorne was born and grew up in Swansea. His debut novel, Submarine, was translated into twenty languages and adapted for film by Richard Ayoade. His second, Wild Abandon, won the Encore Award. His latest is The Adulterants. A collection of his poems, O Positive, was published by Faber & Faber in 2019.

Lisa Owens is a novelist and screenwriter. Her debut novel, Not Working was a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, and has been translated into nine languages. Her film adaptation of Days of the Bagnold Summer (based on Joff Winterhart’s graphic novel) earned her a Debut Screenwriter BIFA nomination in 2019.

Leena Normington is a poet, podcaster and booktuber.

Ticket includes a complimentary drink.

Ticket: £20 | 6:30pm | bit.ly/LBSW20-comingofage

THURSDAY 12 MARCH
40 YEARS OF YES MINISTER!
JONATHAN LYNN IN CONVERSATION WITH AYESHA HAZARIKA
Venue: Groucho Club

On both sides of the Atlantic, the political environment has taken an us into unchartered territory.

On one side, reality star turned political leader Donald Trump presides over a turbulent Twitter presidency. Meanwhile at home, the UK remains deeply embroiled in a polarising and uncertain Brexit process.

With reality looking stranger than fiction, London Book & Screen Week welcomes Jonathan Lynn, co-creator of the phenomenally successful Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister to discuss the modern political landscape and the role of satire today. The multi award-winning writer, director and producer, who adapted the show for print and stage, will be in conversation with author, broadcaster, political pundit and award-winning comedian Ayesha Hazarika.

400 years since the first UK pilgrims settled in America and 40 years after the show first aired, they will discuss the parallels between UK and US politics, and the tour de force of political satire that remains relevant still today.

Jonathan Lynn’s feature films include Clue and Nuns on the Run (both of which he also wrote), My Cousin Vinny, Greedy, Trial And Error, The Whole Nine Yards, The Fighting Temptations and Wild Target. His first produced screenplay was The Internecine Project (1974).

For television, Jonathan is best known for Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, co-written and created with Antony Jay, which has been seen in more than 80 countries. He authored the bestselling books The Complete Yes, Minister and The Complete Yes, Prime Minister, which cumulatively sold more than a million copies in hardback, have been translated into numerous languages and have never been out of print. His novel Mayday (1991) was recently re-published and his sort-of-memoir Comedy Rules and latest recent novel Samaritans have both received rave reviews.

Recently he directed two plays he wrote: Yes, Prime Minister (Gielgud & Apollo) and The Patriotic Traitor (The Park). He writes intermittently for the TLS, teaches acting at HBStudio in New York and taught directing at the American Film Institute. Numerous awards include the BAFTA, Writers Guild (twice), Broadcasting Press Guild (twice), NAACP Image Award, Environmental Media Award, Ace Award (Best Comedy Series on US cable), Political Studies Association Diamond Jubilee Award (Best Political Satire) and a Special Award from the Campaign For Freedom of Information. Lynn received an MA in Law from Cambridge University and now lives in New York, describing himself as a recovering lawyer.

Ayesha Hazarika MBE is a columnist and broadcaster who is known for her insightful and witty opinions and observations on current affairs and politics. Having started her career as a stand-up comedian playing clubs across the country, she then took what she thought was a natural diversion into politics as a Special Adviser for the Labour Party, working with them for eight years both in Government and Opposition. During her time in Westminster she worked for Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband, advising them on Prime Minister’s Questions, speeches, media and policy as well as heading up initiatives on topics such as Women and Equality. She is co-author of Punch & Judy Politics: An Insider’s Guide to Prime Minister’s Questions (Biteback Publishing).

In 2019 Ayesha Hazarika took over as Editor of The Londoner, the Evening Standard’s Daily Diary section, where she distils the latest news and insights from across the capital. Ayesha will also continue with her hugely popular column for the Evening Standard every Wednesday.

Since leaving front line politics Ayesha has presented shows on LBC and was previously a part of the panel discussion show on CNN Talk three times a week (CNN international). In print Ayesha has contributed to The Scotsman, FT, Guardian, New Statesman and Grazia. She is also a much sought after pundit due to her unique position to analyse and comment on current affairs with great wit and insight appearing regularly across shows including Question Time (BBC), Good Morning Britain (ITV), Sky Papers (Sky News), The Andrew Marr Show (BBC1), Newsnight (BBC2), The Agenda (ITV) and The Today Programme (BBC Radio 4), as well as using her comedy chops on Have I Got News For You (BBC), The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4), Breaking the News (BBC Radio Scotland) and Matt Forde’s Unspun (Dave). She has also presented on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review leading the week’s discussion of cultural events.

In 2018 she took her new show Girl on Girl – The Fight for Feminism on tour across the UK including a week’s run at the Soho Theatre which followed a successful two week run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show looked at the current state of feminism with humour and honesty and tackled topics such as Weinstein, #MeToo and Kavanagh as well as looking at the medias obsession with pitting women against women.

Ticket includes a complimentary drink.

Ticket: £20 | 6:30pm | bit.ly/LBSW20-yesminister

FRIDAY 13 MARCH
REGENERATING THE DOCTOR: CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF THE REVIVED DR WHO
Venue: Groucho Club

Doctor Who has long reigned supreme as one of the nation’s favourite TV programmes, amassing a whole new generation of avid fans and followers following its relaunch in 2005. The show not only draws in leading novelists to support scriptwriting but has inspired a wealth of print and audio adventures.

To celebrate the series, London Book & Screen Week welcomes actress Sophie Aldred, best known as the companion to the seventh Doctor Who, Ace, who beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat, writer Vinay Patel, who wrote the episode Demons of the Punjab, widely seen as one of the highlights of series 11, and Simon Guerrier, who has written Doctor Who stories for BBC Books, Big Finish Productions, Doctor Who Magazine and the Doctor Who Figurine Collection.

Chaired by award-winning journalist and broadcaster – and lifelong Doctor Who fan – Samira Ahmed, the panel will discuss what they’ve loved about the relaunched series, explore the secret to the show’s success across all formats, and see what lies in store for the lucky number 13. The panel will also pay tribute to the great Terrance Dicks, the show’s script editor from 1968 to 1974, and who adapted more than 50 of the television stories
into bestselling novelisations.

Sophie Aldred has been working as a professional actress, singer and director for the last 35 years in theatre, TV, film and audio. She is best known as companion to the Seventh Doctor Who, Ace, who beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat. She has presented a huge variety of programmes on TV and radio, and provides many voices for animations including Tree Fu Tom, Bananas in Pyjamas, Peter Rabbit and Dennis the Menace. Sophie lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two sons.

Vinay Patel’s debut play, True Brits, opened at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014, before transferring to the Bush Theatre and Vault Festival. His latest play, An Adventure, ran at the Bush Theatre in late 2018. His first piece for television, Murdered By My Father, won the Royal Television Society award for Best Single Drama and was nominated for three BAFTAs, winning for Best Actor. Vinay was named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit for his work.

He has since written for Paines Plough, ITV, Channel 4 and the BFI, as well as contributing to the bestselling collection of essays, The Good Immigrant. Most recently, Vinay wrote for series 11 of Doctor Who and is working on further projects for TV, theatre, radio and film.

Simon Guerrier writes Doctor Who things for BBC Books, Big Finish Productions, Doctor Who Magazine and the Doctor Who Figurine Collection. He’s also writes regularly for the Lancet Psychiatry, has written books on science and space travel, and (with his brother Thomas) produced a range of short films and documentaries – most recently Victorian Queens of Ancient Egypt for BBC Radio 3. Simon has been a guest on The Infinite Monkey Cage and Front Row for Radio 4 and has had a dozen plays broadcast on Radio 4 Extra. He’s currently in development on projects for TV.

Samira Ahmed is an award winning journalist and broadcaster who presents Front Row on Radio 4, Newswatch on BBC1 and the Intelligence Squared podcast How I Found My Voice. She specialises in the intersection of politics, culture, science and social change. Her documentaries include HG Wells and the H Bomb and I Dressed Ziggy Stardust. Her forthcoming 3 part BBC4 series, The Art of Being Persian, is the first major Western documentary series to be filmed in Iran for 40 years. Her favourite doctor is Peter Davison and her favourite companion is Tegan.

Ticket includes a complimentary drink.
Tickets: £20 | 6:30pm | bit.ly/LBSW20-doctorwho

SATURDAY 14 MARCH
BRUNCH WITH MIGUEL BARCLAY

Venue: Good Housekeeping Institute

Bestselling author Miguel Barclay shot to fame as ‘The One Pound Chef’, delivering easy recipes that really work, at prices everyone can afford. His goal is simple: to encourage you to cook simple and tasty meals at home and all for £1 per person.

Joining us for a London Book & Screen Week special, Miguel will discuss Meat-Free One Pound Meals and demonstrate recipes from his new book.

Whether you’re veggie, adopting Meat-Free Monday, or just fancy trying something new, he will be serving up inspiration for nutritious vegetarian food without the expense, using everyday cupboard staples and familiar ingredients.

Each ticket includes a copy of Meat-Free One Pound Meals and a complimentary tea/coffee on arrival. £1 from each ticket will be donated to The Trussell Trust.

Tickets: £25 | 10:45am | bit.ly/LBSW20-brunchwithmiguel

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