Tigers, tea and Ruby Wax at Hampstead literary festival


A tiger is unlikely to be on the guest list, but adults and children are invited to afternoon tea with author Judith Kerr at an annual London literary festival in September.

The Jewish writer and illustrator, who celebrated her 90th birthday last month with the release of a retrospective of her work, will be at the fifth annual Ham and High Literary Festival on its opening day of September 15.

The author of The Tiger who came to Tea, as well as a thinly-veiled memoir of her family's experience fleeing Nazi Germany, Mrs Kerr will be in conversation with the Guardian's children's books editor Julia Eccleshare over "tea and jam sandwiches" at the London Jewish Cultural Centre.

The festival, which is seen as a highlight of the literary calendar, will also feature comedian Ruby Wax speaking about her new book Sane New World, as well as Thomas Harding, author of a book about his Jewish great-uncle, who fled the Nazis only to return to Germany after the war and engineer the arrest of Rudolf Höss.

Feminist writer Susie Orbach will discuss Fifty Shades of Feminism, co-authored with Lisa Appignanesi, which asks prominent individuals including Linda Grant and Joan Bakewell what it means to be a modern woman. Novelist Charlotte Mendelson, shortlisted for the Orange Prize, will speak about her latest book, Almost English, about a teenage girl who goes to boarding school to escape her Hungarian family's expectations.

The 60 writers on the line-up also include Margot Barnard and Cirla Lewis, authors of memoirs about escaping the Nazis, and Teddy Goldstein, whose award-winning novel Toxic Distortions follows a Jewish doctor in the 1960s, who discovers that he was not the only member of his family who survived the Holocaust.

The first day of the three-day festival will include a free "poetry in the park" event in Golders Hill park, while the "Kidsfest" line-up includes a session on introducing children to art with Jacky & Suzy Klein, authors of What Is Contemporary Art? A Guide for Kids.

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