Latest Articles

 Adam Begley
The Great Nadar:
The Man behind the Camera
Friday 15th September, 7.45-8.45pm
St Peter’s Church, Oundle

A dazzling, stylish biography of a fabled
Parisian photographer, adventurer, and
pioneer. Of all of the legendary fi gures who
emerged from mid-19th-century Paris - a cohort
that includes Victor Hugo and Baudelaire,
Gustave Courbet, and Alexandre Dumas -
Nadar may be the most innovative, the most
restless, the most modern.

He was the fi rst great portrait photographer, a
pioneering balloonist, the fi rst person to take
an aerial photograph and launch an air mail
service, Nadar was one of the fi rst celebrity
artist-entrepreneurs. A kind of 19th-century
Andy Warhol, he knew everyone worth
knowing and photographed them all, leaving
for posterity psychologically compelling
portraits of Manet, Sarah Bernhardt,
Delacroix, Daumier and countless others -
a priceless panorama of Parisian celebrity.
The book includes detailed descriptions of
the nuances of Nadar’s unique photographic
portraits. These descriptions capture the
artistic qualities that attracted Nadar’s clients
to his studio and that make these works his
enduring legacy.

Nadar became known to all of Europe and
even across the Atlantic after he launched
“The Giant,” a hot air balloon as tall as
a twelve-story building, the largest of its
time. His ballooning exploits, which include
a catastrophic crash that made headlines
around the world, inspired his friend Jules
Verne create one of his most dynamic heroes.
The Great Nadar illuminates a larger-than-life
fi gure, a visionary whose outsized talent and
canny self-promotion put him way ahead of his

Adam Begley is the author of Updike (Harper,
2014). He was the books editor of the New
York Observer from 1996 to 2009, and has
been a Guggenheim fellow and a fellow at
the Leon Levy Center for
Biography at the CUNY
Graduate Center. His
writing has appeared in
The New York Times,
The Paris Review, The
Guardian, The London
of Books, and
The Times Literary

£1 off early bird tickets
bought before 8th
September from the
Oundle Box Offi ce.

Claire Fuller
Swimming Lessons
Thursday 5th October, 7.45-8.45pm
St Peter’s Church, Oundle

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband,
Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but
instead of giving them to him, she hides them
in the thousands of books he has collected
over the years. When Ingrid has written her
fi nal letter she disappears from a Dorset
beach, presumed drowned, leaving behind
her beautiful but dilapidated house by the
sea, her husband, and her two daughters,
Flora and Nan. Twelve years later, Gil thinks
he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but
he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting
is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has
existed in a limbo of hope and
grief, imagination and fact, wants
answers. She returns home to
care for her father and to try to
fi nally discover what happened
to Ingrid, not realising that what
she’s looking for is hidden in
the books that surround her.

Scandalous and whip-smart,
Swimming Lessons holds
the Coleman family up
to the light, exposing the
mysterious truths of a
passionate and troubled

Claire is a novelist and
short fi ction writer. For her fi rst
degree she studied sculpture at Winchester
School of Art, specialising in wood and stone
carving. She began writing fi ction at the age of
40, after many years working as a co-director
of a marketing agency. She has a Masters
(distinction) in Creative and Critical Writing
from The University of Winchester.

Her short stories have been published in
many literary journals and shortlisted in prizes.
Baker, Emily and Me, won the 2014 BBC
Opening Lines competition and my story, A
Quiet Tidy Man, won the Royal Academy and
Pin Drop short story award 2016.

Claire is the author of
(published 2017), and
Our Endless Numbered Days
(2015) which won the 2015
Desmond Elliott Prize for debut
fi ction
and was a 2016 Richard and
Judy Book Club Pick,
and was a
fi nalist in the ABA (American Booksellers
Association) 2016 Indies Best Book Awards.
£1 off early bird tickets bought before 29th
September from the Oundle Box Offi ce.

Tickets £8, conc. £6, available from the
Oundle Box Offi ce, 4 New Street, Oundle,
open Mon-Fri 10am to 4pm on 01832 274734
or at
Any queries, call Helen on
07743 988 181 or email
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 Oundle Festival of Literature

Oundle Festival of Literature