Let’s get Bath reading!
The Bath Festival launches the Bath Reads project by inviting us to get to know books by our local authors and start talking to each other about them. Bath Reads kicks off with an invitation to read five titles all by writers who live in or near to Bath.
The past 12 months has seen us all spending more time exploring and enjoying our local area. Bath Reads will highlight the wealth of talent we have among us and help us discover some new favourite authors.
Every neighbourhood in Bath and North East Somerset has its own book group. These reading communities are always on the look-out for new books and Bath Reads provides an exciting new talking point for them as we invite them to dive in to one or more of these five new novels from a variety of genres. There will be the chance to hear the authors talk about their work, and what inspires them, in a series of exclusive interviews which will go out on The Bath Festival At Home digital programme, from Friday 28 May – 11 June here
Look out for #BathReads on social media as well as reading the books at home. We’ll be talking to the authors about their writing careers, what brought them to Bath and what inspires them about living in this part of the west country.
If you’re part of a book group, why not choose one of the Bath Reads books and begin the conversation? You can order copies of the books from Mr B’s Emporium of Books or reserve the titles at your local Bath and North East Somerset Library via the Libraries West online booking service. The Bath Festival will also be able to provide free resources for book groups in the form of suggested questions about the books to provoke book club discussions.
The Bath Reads project is supported by the Mayor of Bath Cllr Manda Rigby and the Charter Trustees of the City of Bath.
Video interviews with the Bath Reads authors will be available to watch for free during The Bath Festival at Home from 28 May to 11 June 2021 here To keep up to date with The Bath Festival at Home launch, join our e-newsletter here
The #BathReads books are:
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
An enthralling, epic, unforgettable time-slip story.
The postcard has been held at the sorting office for 91 years, waiting to be delivered to Joe Tournier. On the front is a lighthouse – Eilean Mor, in the Outer Hebrides.
Joe has never left England, never even left London. He is a British slave, one of thousands throughout the French Empire. He has a job, a wife, a baby daughter.
But he also has flashes of a life he cannot remember and of a world that never existed – a world where English is spoken in England, and not French.
And now he has a postcard of a lighthouse built just six months ago, that was first written nearly 100 years ago, by a stranger who seems to know him very well.
About the author: Natasha Pulley is associate lecturer at Bath Spa University. Her first novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, was an international bestseller, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award.
The Promise by Lucy Diamond
Family drama at its very best, with characters that will have you reaching out to them.
When faced with the sudden death of his brother, Dan’s mission is clear. He puts together a project to help pick up the pieces and support his grieving sister-in-law Zoe, plus her young children. This is Dan’s promise – to ensure his family’s happiness, and to try and live up to the man his brother was.
But tying up loose ends brings a shocking secret to light, and calls into question everything Dan knew about his older brother. With more than just his promise on the line, Dan is faced with an ultimatum: Should he tell the truth and risk his family’s fragile happiness, or will his brother’s secrets end up becoming his own?
About the author: Lucy Diamond (her pen name) wrote her first novel after attending a creative writing course when her children were small. She is now a Sunday Times bestseller, with 14 novels to her name, including The Beach Café, Summer at Shell Cottage and An Almost Perfect Holiday.
How We Are Translated by Jessica Gaitan Johannesson
With echoes of Ali Smith and George Saunders, this debut novel explores themes of identity and intimacy with admirable sensitivity and wit.
Swedish immigrant Kristin won’t talk about the Project growing inside her. Her Brazilian-born Scottish boyfriend Ciaran won’t speak English at all; he is trying to immerse himself in a Swedish language bath to prepare for their future. Their Edinburgh flat is starting to feel very small. As this young couple is forced to confront the thing that they are both avoiding, they must reckon with the bigger questions of the world outside, and their places in it.
About the author: Jessica Gaitan Johannessen is a bookseller at Mr B’s Emporium in Bath, where she runs Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights podcast. She is also a climate change activist.
Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver
A twisty, unpredictable and gripping thriller. You won’t be able to put it down.
Rebekah Murphy knows too much . . . alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail, she knows that someone tried to kill her for a secret. What she doesn’t know is what that secret is.
Detective Frank Travis doesn’t know enough . . .he doesn’t know where to find Louise Mason. What he does know is that he retires in one week – and if he doesn’t find out where Louise went, no one will. What neither Rebekah nor Detective Travis realize is that each holds a missing piece from the same puzzle – and it will cost them everything to finally solve it.
About the author: Tim Weaver is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the David Raker Missing Persons series. He has been nominated for a National Book Award, selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, and shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library award, which considers an author’s entire body of work. He is also the host and producer of the chart-topping Missing podcast, which features experts discussing missing persons investigations from every angle.
The Talk of Pram Town by Joanna Nadin
For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, this is a perceptive and funny story about mothers, daughters and second chances.
It’s 1981. Eleven-year-old Sadie adores her beautiful and vibrant mother, Connie, whose dreams of making it big as a singer fill their tiny house in Leeds. It’s always been just the two of them. Until the unthinkable happens.
Jean hasn’t seen her good-for-nothing daughter Connie since she ran away from the family home in Harlow – or Pram Town as its inhabitants affectionately call it – aged seventeen and pregnant.
But in the wake of the Royal Wedding, Jean gets a life-changing call: could she please come and collect the granddaughter she’s never met?
We all know how Charles and Diana turned out, and Jean and Sadie are hardly a match made in heaven – but is there hope of a happy ending for them?
About the author: A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics Joanna Nadin has written more than 80 books for children and adults, including the critically acclaimed The Queen of Bloody Everything, the Flying Fergus series with Sir Chris Hoy, and Joe All Alone, now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC drama series. She currently teaches creative writing at Bath Spa University.
Thanks to Millie Crisp from Bath Spa University for the Bath Reads designs.