Friday Schedule

Time (BST) Speaker Event
10:00 Claire Thurlow

Claire Thurlow is a writer and writing coach who is passionate about helping people who have an urge to write. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Sussex and is an experienced workshop facilitator, editor and published author.

**Sold out** Creative Writing Workshop: Travel & Nature Writing for the Armchair Traveller

Our current travel options are limited. Yet memories of past adventures, and observation of the world around us, provide ample scope for travel and nature writing.

Join Claire in this interactive writing workshop, a taster of the sessions she usually runs at Chawton House.

These Creative Writing workshops are the only part of the programme that are charged for and bookable in advance. Please note there is a very small capacity and therefore limited availability.

11:00 Sinéad Keegan

Sinéad Keegan is a writer, editor and lecturer. Her poetry and short stories have been published and anthologised widely including in Magma, The Lake, and Sheila-Na-Gig Online. She has an MFA in creative writing and is the co-editor of literary arts magazine She has led workshops for various festivals and institutions including the British Council and SouthWestFest. Currently, she lectures in creative and critical writing at Kingston University and London Metropolitan University in addition to taking private clients.

Finding Your Creativity: Writing found poetry from the archives of Chawton House

Have you always wanted to try writing poetry but not known where to start? Are you a regular writer of poetry looking to hone your editing skills? This accessible session gives you access to poetry from the archives of Chawton House and will help you to build ‘found poetry’ over the course of Friday and Saturday. Instruction and inspiration will be provided on Friday by poet and creative writing lecturer, Sinéad Keegan. Then you have an opportunity to work on your poetry and send it in to the festival. This will be followed by a Facebook Live session on Saturday when you can share your work, ask questions and see the other creative work produced by festival attendees.

Open to all, no experience necessary.

*Find the poetry and instructions here
*Join our Facebook Live workshop on Saturday, 16th of May 4-5pm BST
*Email your poetry to
*Share your poetry, lines you like or anything else on social media and tag us in! #ChawtonLitFest
15:00 Emma Yandle

Emma is the Curator & Collections Manager at Chawton House.

TALK: All About Emma

“Handsome, clever and rich” was how Jane Austen introduced Emma Woodhouse to readers in 1815. Over the last two centuries, she has been continuously reimagined and reinvented.In this talk, Emma Yandle discusses a display she curated for Chawton House.

15:20 Kim Simpson

Dr Kim Simpson is the Chawton House Postdoctoral Fellow, and also lectures in eighteenth-century literature at the University of Southampton.

TALK: Writing Women’s Rights

Based on a 2019 library display at Chawton House, this talk tackles commonplace images of the woman writer which have proved persistent: women silenced by lack of education, by strict rules about who could publish, by childbearing, by gossip, or by expectations that see their writing as trashy, romantic, ill-conceived and poorly-written. Whilst some were ‘forced to write for Bread and not ashamed to owne it’, others were compelled to write to address the profound inequities they saw in the world, or to reshape femininity by authoring new types of female heroines. This talk introduces just some of the writers who brought women’s rights into the public sphere.  

15:40 Katie Childs

Katie is the Chief Executive of Chawton House.

Chawton House Director’s Q&A

Join Katie for a Twitter Q&A and find out what it is like to manage Chawton House: an organisation which encompasses a vast and beautiful estate, historic property with important links to the Austen family and an awe inspiring collection of early women’s writing.

Join the Conversation #ChawtonLitFest

16:00 Wendy Moore

Wendy Moore (@wendymoore99) is a freelance journalist and the author. Her first book The Knife Man (Bantam, 2005) won the Medical Journalists’ Association consumer book award. Her second book Wedlock: how Georgian Britain’s worst husband met his match (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009) was picked for Channel 4’s TV Book Club in 2010 and reached No.1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list.

TALK: Endell Street Military Hospital

Endell Street tells the story of the suffragette doctors, Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray, who set up and ran the Endell Street Military Hospital in the heart of London in World War One.

Buy the Book

Wendy’s talk will be followed by a Twitter Q&A.

Join the Conversation #ChawtonLitFest

17:00 Alison Larkin

Hailed by The Times as “hugely entertaining”, Alison Larkin is a comedienne, the bestselling author of The English American and the award-winning narrator of over 200 audiobooks, including The Complete Novels of Jane Austen, Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden. 

TALK: An audience with… Alison Larkin

Alison will introduce an excerpt from her 2019 talk filmed at Chawton House during Regency week, with input from Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen.

To get 40% off audiobook downloads during corona virus, visit

Alison’s talk was followed by a Zoom Q&A.

18:00 Natalie Jenner

Natalie was born in England and emigrated to Canada as a young child. In addition to a brief career as a corporate lawyer, Natalie has worked as a recruiter, career coach, and consultant to leading law firms in Canada for over twenty years. Most recently Natalie founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario. The Jane Austen Society is her debut novel.

TALK: The Jane Austen Society

Can a village in need find hope after the devastation of war?

The Jane Austen Society is a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where she lived. There are eight main characters, all of whom are obsessed with Austen and conspire to create the society and turn the Austen cottage into a museum in her honour. Jenner brings all of these disparate characters vividly to life, and you’ll root for all of them to find their own happiness.



Natalie’s talk will be followed by a Twitter Q&A.

19:00 Joanna Trollope OBE

Joanna Trollope is a Sunday Times number one bestseller and one of Britain’s most popular novelists. Joanna is the author of over twenty novels renowned for their sharp observation of middle-class mores. Her breakthrough came with 1991’s The Rector’s Wife, which knocked Jeffrey Archer off the top of the bestseller lists and cemented her reputation as an expert chronicler of rural life. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature.

Talk: Mum & Dad

In her latest novel, Joanna Trollope explores the issues at the heart of a modern family with her trademark wit and warmth, in Mum & Dad.

‘What a mess, she thought now . . . what a bloody, unholy mess the whole family has got itself into.’

It’s been twenty-five years since Gus and Monica left England to start a new life in Spain, building a vineyard and wine business from the ground up. However, when Gus suffers a stroke and their idyllic Mediterranean life is thrown into upheaval, it’s left to their three grown-up children in London to step in. As the children descend on the vineyard, it becomes clear that each has their own idea of how best to handle their mum and dad, as well as the family business. But as long-simmering resentments rise to the surface and tensions reach breaking point, can the family ties prove strong enough to keep them together?

Buy the Book