Finding Joy In Books And Culture This Autumn

Finding the joy in books and culture at Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival this Autumn

It was the French writer and philosopher Albert Camus who once said: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” And he was right. You only have to take a stroll through the Stray and see the riot of changing colours to appreciate nature’s great seasonal transformation.

There is something magical about this time of year as the nights start to draw in and fading summer scents drift into something altogether richer and earthier. For many of us this means immersing ourselves in the world of entertainment – whether it’s binge watching a favourite new TV series, going to gigs, or getting stuck into a new book.

The latter, in particular, is one of life’s great pleasures and as Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival makes a welcome return this October there are plenty of literary delights to be found in this year’s stellar line-up of authors. TV and radio presenter Gaby Roslin will bring her unbridled enthusiasm and infectious energy to the stage as she talks about her new book, Spread The Joy.

Gaby’s book is full of tips on living a more joyous life and she will share funny anecdotes and offer practical ways of making the most of life, whether it’s running an errand or going out for a morning walk.

Laughter and joy can be found, too, in Charlotte Graham’s Yorkshire People, a collection of more than a hundred photographs that celebrate Yorkshire’s landscapes and people – from brass band players in Halifax, to rhubarb growers in Pudsey.

Charlotte is an award-winning photographer whose pictures regularly grace the pages of national newspapers and she will discuss some of her favourite images and also offer a few tips and tricks to help transform your holiday snaps.

When it comes to treats, food is never far away in the minds of many of us and few people bring ingredients to life in the way award-winning author Niki Segnit does. Her much-loved book, The Flavour Thesaurus, won the André Simon Award for best food book and the Guild of Food Writers Award for best first book – not bad for someone who had barely peeled a potato until she was in her 20s.

Niki discovered a love of cooking by chance and began experimenting with different flavours and working out which combinations worked, and which ones didn’t. So whatever ingredients you have in your house Niki can tell you what to pair them with, including flavour combinations that you probably never considered before. Join her as she discusses her unlikely culinary journey and you might just leave inspired for your next dinner party.

If food nourishes the body then families help nurture everything else. As Michael J Fox once said: “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” But what does a family look like in modern Britain, and how does it flourish given all the pressures and stresses we face?

These are some of the questions that David and Carrie Grant grapple with in their inspiring book, A Very Modern Family, which charts their own extraordinary family story. The couple have been familiar faces on our TV screens for decades through their roles as vocal coaches and judges on shows like Fame Academy, and now they explore the evolving notion of family, drawing on their own experiences of raising four children with diverse challenges in an ever-changing society.

What unites all these books and their authors is a life-affirming sense of optimism. They remind us, too, that the world is full of joy and inspiration – and who doesn’t want a little bit of that?

Photo credit: Mike Whorley