7th December 201712:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Principal Hotel, (formerly The George), Edinburgh
Alice Allan and Laura Barnett with Kathryn Williams
Alice Allan grew up in rural Devon then studied English at Cambridge University. She worked as an actress and a corporate trainer in London and Tokyo, then as a lactation consultant in public hospitals in Addis Ababa, where she taught about breastfeeding, skin-to-skin and kangaroo care for premature babies. She has written for a number of publications including The Telegraph, The Sunday Express, the Ethiopian Herald, Green Parent and The Mother Magazine. She currently lives in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with her diplomat husband, two daughters and a large Ethiopian street dog called Frank. Open My Eyes is her first novel. It was longlisted for the MsLexia Novel prize.
Allan writes evocatively of [Ethiopia]…The smells, customs, food, landmarks and patterns of life that her characters observe bring the country alive for the reader, creating an emotional and vibrant novel. Juno Magazine
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: when adopted midwife Mariam embarks on a project to protect an abandoned premature baby, she is forced to face her own abandonment years before. Time is running out before the baby is sent to the orphanage. A mysterious character from the city surrounding the hospital will be crucial in determining the baby’s fate, as will a workaholic British doctor with whom Mariam finds herself falling in love. Alice Allan’s debut novel is an original, vivid and moving story about attachment, loss and the power of touch.
Laura is a writer, journalist and theatre critic. She has worked for The Guardian,the Daily Telegraph, The Observer and Time Out, as well as several other national newspapers and magazines. She has published award-winning short stories and a compendium of advice for actors, Advice From the Players. The Versions of Us, her first novel, spent 10 weeks in the top 20 Bestsellers list and had rave reviews. TV rights have now been optioned by Trademark Films. Greatest Hits is her second novel and she is currently collaborating with Mercury-nominated singer song-writer Kathryn Williams in order to bring it to life.
She was born in 1982 in south London where she now lives with her husband. She studied Spanish and Italian at Cambridge University and newspaper journalism at City University, London.
Has a wisdom and a harmony that is satisfying. This engaging, emotionally charged novel about music, motherhood and mental illness deserves to be a hit. The Guardian
One day. Sixteen songs. The soundtrack of a lifetime… Alone in her studio, Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past. After a silence of ten years, the singer-songwriter is picking the sixteen tracks that have defined her – sixteen key moments in her life – for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits album. In the course of this one day, both ordinary and extraordinary, the story of Cass’s life emerges – a story of highs and lows, of music, friendship and ambition, of great love and great loss. But what prompted her to retreat all those years ago, and is there a way for her to make peace with her past? Daughter. Mother. Singer. Lover. What are the memories that mean the most?
In this bittersweet and poignant follow-up to the Number One bestselling The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett cements her position as one of the most talented storytellers of her generation.
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Interesting, thought-provoking talk, good food and drink, excellent company meeting old friends. What is not to like?
Rachel Grant, Manolete Partners plc