London’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas

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Past Events

Past EventsSunday, March 3

Winter Games

Rachel Johnson Chair: Monique Charlesworth

Winter Games is a novel with echoes of the Mitfords, with a dark secret at its heart. Set in pre-crash London, 2006, and Munich, 1936, it follows Francie Fitzsimon, 18, as she tries to find out what happened when her English grandmother went off to Bavaria to “be finished” and found herself with a front row seat in history.  

Rachel Johnson, journalist and Editor-in-Chief of The Lady magazine, came to Jewish Book Week to talk about the inspiration and research behind her first historical novel and the appeal of Nazism to a generation of English debutantes.

Munich, 1936. Daphne Linden and best friend Betsy Barton-Hill along with a bevy of other young English upper-class girls are in Bavaria to improve their German, go to the Opera and ski. It may be the Third Reich, but another war is unthinkable, and the girls are having the time of their lives. Aren't they?

London, 2006. Seventy years later and Daphne's granddaughter, Francie Fitzsimon, has all the boxes ticked: large flat, successful husband, cushy job writing up holistic spas… The hardest decision she has to make is where to go for brunch -- until, that is, events conspire to send her on a quest to discover what really happened to her grandmother in Germany, all those years ago.

Rachel Johnson was until recently editor-in-chief of The Lady magazine. She has written two previous novels, Notting Hell and Shire Hell andThe Mummy Diaries and A Diary of The Lady. She lives in London.

Monique Charlesworth is a novelist and scriptwriter who has lived in France and Germany.  Her novel, The Children’s War, depicts two German children – a Jewish girl and a reluctant Hitler Youth – caught in the terrors of the Second World War.
 

To buy this book from Blackwell's, click here. Ten per cent of the proceeds of book sales through Blackwell's benefit Jewish Book Week.

 

Experience the event as it happened:

Gallery

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Video

 
David Grossman speaks with Mark Lawson at a special out-of-festival event.