Friday, 10 June 2016

Finchley in Fiction Part Four

When we started the festival five years ago, we thought there was hardly any literature in Finchley. It was a dry barren place and if you wanted a bit of culture, you had to travel. Now it seems everyone wants to put on literary events in and around Finchley. As Lindsay Bamfield, points out: "Barnet libraries have two weeks of special literary events in February and the Middlesex University lit fest is now held in nearby Hendon during March. But we were the first lit fest in the borough!" And now St Jude's, Hampstead Garden Suburb, also has literary events alongside their Proms.

It's not just literature in Finchley, writers too are including Finchley in their novels. I first wrote about this phenomenon just before last year's festival. Starting with some of our 18th and 19th Century writers such as: Charles Dickens,
and H.G. Wells, in Part I.

Part II saw the 20th Century as well as some of our more contemporary writers: Peter Sellers, John Betjeman, Spike Milligan, Ben Elton, Caitlin Davies, 
Will Self, Mark Billingham, and Kate Atkinson.

By that time, people were starting to contact me about other Finchley mentions and so this saw us going backwards and forwards in time for Part III with Doctor Who, Howard Jacobson, Don Tracy, H.B. Fyfe, Pam Coiley as well as mentions in film and song.

And now a few more:

In John Steinbeck's, Once There Was A War (1958), a wee old English woman, discovered on the Isle of Capri is described, “She was dressed in decent and aging black. She never had made the slightest concession to Italy. Her costume would have done her honor and protected her from scandal in Finchley.”

In Sarah Hilary's, Someone Else's Skin (2014), there are 28 mentions of Finchley!
Someone Else's Skin, is winner of the Theakston's 2015 Crime Novel of the Year, and a 2014 Richard and Judy Book Club pick.
It seems that Finchley is becoming something of a celebrity. West and North Finchley get a mention in Career of Evil (2015), the third novel in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling.

We'll be choosing excerpts from some of these books for the forthcoming Finchley Literary Festival, Finchley in Fiction Walk, Sunday 26th June. After all who can pass the site of Spike Milligan's former home without a recitation?

Led by Mike Gee and Rosie Canning with a lunch stop at Redwood Cafe (one of our sponsors,) in Swan Lane Open Space, and a tea stop at Finchley Golf Club.

Meet outside Waterstones, Finchley 12.15-4.30pm
782 High Street, North Finchley, London, N12 9QR, London
There is a small charge for this event of £3.00 but please RSVP.

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