Jane Hawking makes rare appearance with talk at Flamstead book festival

Jane Hawking at Flamstead Book Festival. Credit Alex Ridley
Jane Hawking at Flamstead Book Festival. Credit Alex Ridley

Hundreds of people flocked to Flamstead for the book festival in the village.

Books in the Belfry, held at St Leonard’s Church, featured a sell-out session from Jane Hawking.

Jane, who was brought up in St Albans, was Stephen Hawking’s wife for 25 years and penned Travelling to Infinity which was adapted for this year’s Oscar-winning film The Theory of Everything.

In one of her few public appearances this year she talked about her moving account of love and loss with the celebrated scientist as well as what it was like for her marriage to be played out on film by actors Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne.

The festival, which followed on from the debut event last year, kicked off with thriller-writer Sophie Hannah, whose novels have been adapted for ITV’s Case Sensitive drama.

Her most recent work, The Monogram Murders, is the first Hercule Poirot novel since Agatha Christie’s death, having been specially approved by the renowned crime-writer’s estate.

The line-up also featured family events and workshops as well as acclaimed children’s author Alex Scarrow, best known for his Time Riders series and a sports books session featuring Michael Calvin, whose ghosted work with rugby star Gareth Thomas won Autobiography of the Year.

Matt Biggs, a panellist on the long-running BBC Radio 4 show Gardener’s Question Time, and Farming Today presenter Sybil Ruscoe, hosted a ligh-hearted session over tea and scones.

And audiences were able to meet all the authors and get books signed.

Jane Hawking said: “It was a delight. The setting was beautiful - thank you Flamstead for inviting me.”

Festival co-organiser Vikki Orvice said: “Once again it was a great couple of days. So many well-known authors and personalities got behind it to make it such a success and the sun shone all day too.

“We’d like to thank everyone involved, especially the volunteers who worked so hard on the day.”

The festival will help raise funds needed to safeguard medieval wall paintings of great historical important in the church.