Bob Geldof, Graham Norton, Emily Eavis and Nadiya Hussain were among the guests at a packed Hachette showcase event on Monday.
Around 1,100 people turned up to the Hammersmith Apollo where Lauren Laverne stood on a Glastonbury-themed stage to introduce and interview the star-studded line-up. Against a backdrop of imprint-covered amps and upturned books that resembled tents, the publisher unveiled some of its most eagerly-awaited titles for 2019.
In keeping with the festival theme, Emily Eavis opened the afternoon’s talks, speaking to Laverne about the upcoming Trapeze tome Glastonbury: 50, marking five decades of the British rock festival. Eavis praised publisher Anna Valentine as “exactly the right person” to take on the book, which is due out in October, featuring photos and contributions from Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Jay-Z, Noel Gallagher and Adele among a host of others.
Emily Eavis and Lauren Laverne
Appearances by authors were interspersed with vox-pop videos where readers, librarians and booksellers shared their book-buying and reading habits.
David Nicholls, struggling with a cold, was a huge hit with the audience as he read a passage from upcoming novel Sweet Sorrow (Hodder & Stoughton, July). He described it as “unapologetically a first love story” before reading out a witty passage about kissing at the school disco.
Suede singer Brett Anderson spoke about the next volume of his autobiography, Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn (Little, Brown, October) which will examine his band’s golden era. “It’s not about groupies and drugs,” he told the Apollo. “It’s about sitting backstage and fiddling with bits of cheese. A very pathetic view of success.”
Brett Anderson and Lauren Laverne
Graham Norton, author of A Keeper (Coronet) kicked off a version of Radio 4’s Chain Reaction, where one author interviews another. The sequence featured former Bookseller rising star Candice Carty-Williams whose debut novel Queenie (Trapeze) is expected to cause a stir when it is published in April.
The surprise guest this year was Bob Geldof, who stormed on to the stage, unleasheing a few four-letter words as he described the state of the world at a “fulcrum of change”. Geldof was brought on to speak about youth leader organisation One Young World’s upcoming book How To Make A Difference (Cassell), out this September. He said of the group: “They give the idea that change is not only inevitable, it’s desirable and give a way through that change.”
There were also appearances by Stephen Hawking’s daughter Lucy, praising her late father’s ability to “disentangle enormous subjects” with books including his final one Brief Answers to the Big Questions. She said: “We’re so proud of this final book and we’re so grateful to everyone at John Murray who made such a beautiful book”.
Comedian and author of books including this July’s Inheritance (Sphere), Jenny Eclair, brought the house down as she described writing as like “being under house arrest”, while Hussain ended the afternoon. The ex-"Bake Off" star is publishing two books in October – memoir Finding My Voice (Headline Home) and children’s book My Monster and Me with illustrator Ella Bailey (Hodder Children’s Books), about a beast that shrinks according to your levels of anxiety.
Nadiya Hussain and Lauren Laverne