Balham Literary Festival


From the 8th-11th June, Balham will play host to the second Balham Literary Festival, produced by Dulwich Books. The event will feature talks from numerous different writers, and is going to be hosted at the Grade-II listed Bedford Pub. The talks will explore numerous different themes relevant to those that call Balham home, and even further afield. There will also be a pop-up bookshop at the pub all weekend, where you get 10% off on all purchases if you show your South London Club card. Tickets for each talk can be purchased separately, or a pass for the entire weekend can be purchased for £75 here.

Dulwich Books is an award-winning independent bookshop in West Dulwich which was shortlisted for Best Independent Bookshop in London at the British Book Awards 2017, so you know you’re in trustworthy, capable hands. This event ticks a couple of boxes for us – books and South London – so we thought we’d peruse what is on show and give you our best picks for each day.

home cook with thomasina miers

Thursday 8th June, 7pm
£10 or £25 including a copy of Home Cook.

Thomasina Miers Home Cook jacket image.jpg

Winner of MasterChef 2005 and a weekly columnist for The Guardian, Thomasina is a life-enhancing cook, a philanthropist and a shrewd businesswoman – she did co-found the Wahaca restaurant chain after all. Oh, and she's a mother to three daughters. An inspiring individual, she will be talking about her career and the contents of her book Home Cook which details her unique cooking style. Who knows, you might just find the recipe which you can make your own forever more.


iraq: the cost of war
(Sir Jeremy Greenstock in conversation with patrick wintour)

Friday 9th June, 6:30pm
£10 or £17.50 including a paperback copy of Iraq: The Cost of War

Jeremy Greenstock headshot.jpg
Jeremy Greenstock Iraq The Cost of War jacket.jpg

Coming only a night after the upcoming general election, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK’s former ambassador to the United Nations will interviewed by Patrick Wintour of the Guardian. Originally scheduled for publication in 2005 but banned by Jack Straw, Iraq: The Cost of War is quite the significant book, as it describes the role of Britain in the Iraq War from the perspective of an insider. Having finally seen the light of day last year, it explains in detail how and why the UK got involved. In a similar vein, Sir Jeremy and Patrick will between them seek to show how wars start, and the effect they have on both civilians and combatants – particularly prescient at these uncertain times, and in the setting of Balham, which suffered heavily during the Second World War.

south london crime fiction extravaganza
(Anna Mazzola, Annemarie Neary, Angela Clarke)

Saturday 10th June, 1:30pm

Anna Mazzola UNSEEING jacket.jpg
Annemarie Neary THE ORPHANS jacket.jpg
Angela Clarke WATCH ME jacket.jpg

London, and particularly South London, has a rich history as being both the scene and context for the creation of much brilliant crime fiction – Arthur Conan Doyle, the big dog of crime fiction, lived in South Norwood. Beyond that, the Bedford promises to be quite a suitable venue for this one, having been the hangout for numerous real-life gangsters during its lifetime. Paying tribute to this, Balham Literary Festival has lined up three stellar crime-fiction authors in Anna Mazzola (The Unseeing), Annemarie Neary (The Orphans), and Angela Clarke (Trust Me), all of whom have used South London as a setting.  You might find the book that leads you to getting sunburnt this summer.

sarah driver presents the huntress (ages 9+)

Sunday 11th June, 10am
£7.50 including a copy of The Huntress: The Sea

Sarah Driver headshot.jpg
Sarah Driver The Huntress jacket image.jpg

For those looking to get their children a new book, possibly into books generally – it can be tough – this is the perfect event. Author Sarah Driver will be hosting a special interactive session featuring storytelling, arts and crafts, and creative writing activities for the children. The Huntress: Sea is the first book in a brand new fantasy trilogy set aboard The Huntress and features all manner of things from whale-riding to terrodyl-flying. If you liked Northern Lights, or your children liked Northern Lights, then this one is definitely worth checking out.

These are only a selection of the events happening during the weekend, and we’re very sure there will be something for everyone. You can see a full events listing here on their website. If you bring your South London Club card along to the events, you’ll be able to get 10% off on books you purchase while you’re there. You can find out where else in Balham you can use your card here:

what is the south london club card?


The South London Club is a local discount card to help support small independent businesses across South London whilst saving all who live, work & play in South London money! With over 500+ local discounts to choose from, you will discover & explore all the best hidden gems in South London. Join over 5,000 of us & celebrate all that's independent & South London!

find out where you can use your card