Hundreds flock to Queen’s Park Book Festival

Writers, singers and celebrities join residents at literary event

A blossoming of literary talent in Brent was on show at the second Queen’s Park Book Festival over the weekend.

Hoards of book fans and aspiring writers arrived to see acclaimed authors, including Maggie Gee, Linda Grant and John Lanchester, comedians Natalie Haynes and Simon Day, and even a rock star in Edwyn Collins.

One of the opening speakers, top literary agent Derek Johns, praised the event’s philosophy, saying: “Queen’s Park is the new Hampstead – in the past Hampstead was the literary centre but now Queen’s Park is crawling with writers so it’s only right it should have its own festival.”

Elaine Henderson, from the Queen’s Park Area Residents’ Association who organised the event, said: “It’s been great – everyone really enjoyed it.

“We’re definitely planning it for next year. We’re meeting more and more local authors but we want to keep out of the national media. We want to keep it local – that’s its special flavour – hyper local you might say.”

A range of ages were catered for, with a huge crowd watching teen fiction writers Robert Muchamore and Sophie McKenzie - one young fan even turning up with his own novel, and chasing Mr Muchamore for a publishing deal.

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Poet and Wembley resident Dean Atta, who also works with Queen’s Park Community School, delivered a storming stream of spoken word and appreciated the importance placed on a young audience.

He said: “The organizers have given away tickets to young people in the area so that they can get exposure to poetry and writing.

“I do stuff all over London but I want to do more in Brent.”

Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue magazine, revealed how the fashion-bible came to the conclusion that Chamberlayne Road in Kensal Rise is the ‘hippest street in Europe’, she said: “The duty sub-editor lived just off it.”

For more information about Queen’s Park Area Residents’ Association visit www.qpark.org.uk

Click on the picture gallery on the left to see more photos taken at the event.

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