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Rachel Billington
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Alex Preston
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Triona Adams

Re-imagining the Past: War Babies and Winchelsea

Rachel Billington and Alex Preston Chaired by Triona Adams

Saturday, 1 April 2023

6:00pm

1 hour

Lincoln College: Oakeshott Room

£7 - £12.50

Novelists Lady Rachel Billington and Alex Preston discuss their latest novels and how they go about reimagining the past in contemporary fiction.

Billington’s latest work is War Babies, the story of three sisters and their paths through life between the 1950s and the present day. Millie, Di and Cleo grow up in a world hungover from war and struggle to leave their mother behind and build their own lives. Millie turns to marriage, motherhood and God, Di to life as a war correspondent in Vietnam, and Cleo to successfully writing novels as a defence against the world. Cleo, the youngest and wildest, smashes the pattern they had all settled into and the question becomes who will adapt, survive, and find peace? Billington throws a spotlight on human nature and its flaws and virtues. Billington is author of more than 30 books including the recent novels Glory: A Story of Gallipoli and Clouds of Love and War.

Preston’s Winchelsea is an historical novel set in 18th-century Sussex. It follows the story of Goody Brown, an adopted child who grows up in the smuggling town of Winchelsea after being saved from drowning when a baby. The murder of her father at the hands of men he thought were friends leads her and her brother Francis into the cut-throat world of rival smuggling gangs. She finds herself on the high seas among desperate villains and discovers a taste for danger and a life without constraints. Preston is author of the novels This Bleeding City, The Revelations and In Love and War, and of a book of non-fiction, As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

‘I was riveted. Winchelsea is a great read – terrific narrative drive, credible characters, and such an elegant creation of the backdrop in terms of both time and place’ Penelope Lively

Discussions are chaired by Triona Adams, director of the festival’s crime fiction programme.

The Telegraph Festival media partner University of Oxford Netflix European Union Supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the UK Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme BBC World Service International radio partner Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Oxford Mathematics Spanish Embassy The Spanish Embassy: supporters of the programme of Spanish literature and culture Cervantes Institute, London The Cervantes Institute, London Italian Embassy The Italian Embassy: supporter of the programme of Italian literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner International Literary Properties Festival literary heritage partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Festival hotel Old Bank Hotel Five-star hotel partners of The Oxford Collection Old Parsonage Hotel Five-star hotel partners of The Oxford Collection Jim Mellon John Roberts Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture Tim and Marion Stevenson Martin and Elise Becket Smith Miles Young Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Carole and John Allen David Isaac Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Anna Hunter Rhys and Kerry Phillip Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival. Founded 1314 New College New College founded 1379 Worcester College Worcester College founded 1714 Lincoln College Lincoln College founded 1427 St Cross College St Cross College founded 1965 Trinity College Trinity College founded 1555 Magdalen College Magdalen College founded 1458 Critchleys Accountants to the festival Pasture to Plate Compassion in World Farming Human Ecology Project MACROVegan Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner. Celebrating 25 years in Europe in 2024 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Sponsor of the EBRD Literature Prize since 2018 ROOMS Georgia's leading lifestyle hotel brand since 2012. Supporters of the programme of Georgian literature and culture Jewish Book Week Partner of Oxford Literary Festival Foodbuy Thje Menu Partners Institute of Hospitality Goldmoney Properties Project People Oxford Brookes University Oxford International Centre for Publishing Confucius Institute Pusey House British Academy Festival academic partner Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford United Football Club Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Paul Bloomfield Ltd University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Conference Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates CAV Oxford The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Images Oxford University Images Oxford University Department for Continuing Education Oxford Georgian Translation Project Supporter of the programme of Georgian literature and culture Force4Good Consultancy Corporate communications OX magazine Ox in a Box K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography The Litmus Partnership Schoolreaders Windrush Group James Currey Society
 

The Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

The Telegraph Festival media partner University of Oxford Netflix European Union Supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the UK Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme BBC World Service International radio partner Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Oxford Mathematics Spanish Embassy The Spanish Embassy: supporters of the programme of Spanish literature and culture Cervantes Institute, London The Cervantes Institute, London Italian Embassy The Italian Embassy: supporter of the programme of Italian literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner International Literary Properties Festival literary heritage partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Festival hotel Old Bank Hotel Five-star hotel partners of The Oxford Collection Old Parsonage Hotel Five-star hotel partners of The Oxford Collection Jim Mellon John Roberts Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture Tim and Marion Stevenson Martin and Elise Becket Smith Miles Young Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Carole and John Allen David Isaac Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Anna Hunter Rhys and Kerry Phillip Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival. Founded 1314 New College New College founded 1379 Worcester College Worcester College founded 1714 Lincoln College Lincoln College founded 1427 St Cross College St Cross College founded 1965 Trinity College Trinity College founded 1555 Magdalen College Magdalen College founded 1458 Critchleys Accountants to the festival Pasture to Plate Compassion in World Farming Human Ecology Project MACROVegan Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner. Celebrating 25 years in Europe in 2024 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Sponsor of the EBRD Literature Prize since 2018 ROOMS Georgia's leading lifestyle hotel brand since 2012. Supporters of the programme of Georgian literature and culture Jewish Book Week Partner of Oxford Literary Festival Foodbuy Thje Menu Partners Institute of Hospitality Goldmoney Properties Project People Oxford Brookes University Oxford International Centre for Publishing Confucius Institute Pusey House British Academy Festival academic partner Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford United Football Club Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Paul Bloomfield Ltd University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Conference Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates CAV Oxford The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Images Oxford University Images Oxford University Department for Continuing Education Oxford Georgian Translation Project Supporter of the programme of Georgian literature and culture Force4Good Consultancy Corporate communications OX magazine Ox in a Box K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography The Litmus Partnership Schoolreaders Windrush Group James Currey Society