Monday, 19 December 2016

Falklands war hero to speak at Molesey Library Friends' AGM

With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, the Friends are enjoying a rest before making preparations for our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 24th January 2017.

As usual we will be inviting local residents to join us at Molesey Library for the meeting and, at the close of the formal business (which should not take very long), you will hear from a special guest speaker who this year is a senior naval officer-turned author, Rear Admiral Kit Layman.

Mr Layman is a veteran of the Falklands War, where he commanded HMS Argonaut and the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. His 35 year naval career also saw him serve at NATO Headquarters during the collapse of the Soviet Union. So who better to bring to life the drama of a real life historical account of war, mutiny and man against the elements? It's all in his book 'The Wager Disaster – Mayhem, Mutiny and Murder in the South Seas', which he'll be speaking about on the night.
Readers of the book are transported to 1741, where Britain is at war with Spain. HMS Wager is part of a small squadron commanded by Commodore Anson which battled round Cape Horn into the Pacific to take the war to the Spanish possessions in the South Seas. The ship encountered hurricane force winds and wrecked on an uninhabited island off the coast of what is now Chilean Patagonia. About 140 Wager men reached the land, most of them then to be lost through starvation, exhaustion, hypothermia, drowning, and sometimes violence.
Gunner Bulkeley led a party who mutinied against an unpopular captain and set off in an open boat with no chart. His 2,500 nautical-mile journey was an epic feat of navigation and one of the greatest castaway survival voyages in the annals of the sea. Only 36 men (including Midshipman Byron, grandfather of the poet) eventually made it back to Britain, where their tales of fearful ordeals in a far country caught the imagination of the public. This book uses their accounts to piece together the story of a dramatic fight for survival under extreme conditions.
Entry to the event is FREE of charge. A Merry Christmas to you and please do come along and join us for the AGM in the New Year.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Growing up in Hitler's Greece - our next talk at Molesey Library

What could it have been like growing up in Nazi-occupied Greece?
East Molesey resident and author, Evangelos 'Van' Louizos, knows first hand and has written about it in his autobiographical book, “My Father had this Luger… A true story of Hitler’s Greece”.
It's a chronicle of his childhood in Greece during the Second World War and is the first book of a multimedia project, “The Sword of Zeus”, which Van will be speaking about when he visits Molesey Library at 7.30pm on Tuesday 22nd November, as our final guest author of 2016. Tickets are on sale at the Library now.
Nicholas J Slabbert, previously editor of Readers’ Digest and the producer of the project states.  “The book provides a useful window on what Greece endured during WWII.  It is not a textbook or a heavy-handed treatise on history or economics. It’s simply a true and vivid account of what the war and Germany’s occupation inflicted on Greeks. It is a human document and it provides the human background without which it’s not really possible to grasp the real nature of the relationship between Greece and Germany today. 
The book achieves this without demonizing anyone, least of all Germans, who, as a people, are presented with a compassion and respect that some people may find surprising in a book presenting the Greek side of the story. But that is one of the points of the book as well as of the current European  situation: namely, the fact that unless you pay people the respect to which they’re entitled, you won’t get far in solving the problems in which they’re involved.”
MY FATHER HAD THIS LUGER…”conveys the drama of the events through which Mr Louizos lived, in those years when the Italians invaded Greece, and then the  Germans, and finally the British forces intervened in ways the Greeks hadn’t really expected.

It is a poignant story as well an exciting one, and as we worked on it, it was difficult, even as an editor, not to be swept up by the characters and what became of them.  It is hard to read this and not be unmoved.”
Mr. Louizos was born in Kallithea, in the Greater Athens area, in 1933. After graduating from high school he joined the Greek merchant navy. He later obtained American citizenship and worked his way through university in the United States and Mexico becoming a teacher in California. In 1979 he relocated his family to Surrey, where he founded and headed the Department of English as a Second Language at the American Community School in Cobham.  He taught there for 18 years until his retirement in 1997.
Mr Louizos has lived in East Molesey for the last 35 years and has delivered talks about his book both Greece and the UK. He will be preparing some historical material for distribution before the talk.

Private lives of the Tudors laid bare at Molesey Library

Tracy Borman brought the Tudors to life at Molesey Library

There was a packed house at Molesey Library on 27th September when Tracy Borman came along to our latest Author Event to tell us all about the private lives of the Tudor monarchs.

Tracy, the Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, has been on a ‘royal progress tour’ promoting her new book The Private Lives of the Tudors and we felt very privileged when she agreed to make Molesey Library one of the stops on that tour.

As Elizabeth I said "I do not live in a corner. A thousand eyes see all I do". The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers and there are plenty of eyewitness accounts of their private lives which Tracy has used as the basis for her fascinating book. She spared us no details!

Friends chair Pauline Morozgalska and John Coope
As she explained, even in their most private moments, the Tudor kings and queens were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for each task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed.

These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior. They saw the tears shed by Henry VII upon the death of his son Arthur. They knew the tragic secret behind 'Bloody' Mary's phantom pregnancies. And they saw the 'crooked carcass' beneath Elizabeth I's carefully applied makeup, gowns and accessories.

The audience were fascinated by all the insights which Tracy  recounted and a lively Q & A session was evidence of a desire to know even more!

Please note - our next author event will be on Tuesday 22nd November, 2016 at 7.30pm and will be a talk with local man Van Louizos talking about his book My Father Had This Luger - a true story of Hitler's Greece. Tickets are available from Molesey Library.


Monday, 1 August 2016

Hampton Court historian to reveal secrets of the Tudors

Take a peep into the inner world of the Tudor Court when our successful series of Author Events resumes on Tuesday September 27th at 7.30pm.
We are very pleased to be able to welcome as our speaker Tracy Borman, Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, who will be talking about her new book The Private Lives of the Tudors.
The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers. Even in their most private moments, they were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for the task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed.
These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior. They saw the tears shed by Henry VII upon the death of his son Arthur. They knew the tragic secret behind "Bloody Mary's" phantom pregnancies. And they saw the "crooked carcass" beneath Elizabeth I's carefully applied makeup, gowns and accessories.
It is the accounts of these eyewitnesses, as well as a rich array of other contemporary sources which Tracy Borman has examined more closely than ever before. With new insights and discoveries, The Private Life of the Tudors reveals previously unexamined details about the characters we think we know so well.
Come along and join us for what promises to be a fascinating talk. Tickets cost £5 - which includes a glass of wine or soft drink - and can be obtained from Molesey Library.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Meet the authors event: Sexy detectives and the joy of crime writing

Come along to Molesey Library on Tuesday April 26 at 7.30 pm for the next in our  popular series of Author Events.

This time, we are pleased to welcome Susi Holliday and Molesey's very own Louise Voss for an informal discussion on topics such as creating sexy detectives and on generally why crime writing is such fun.

Both Susi and Louise are successful crime writers. Susi worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 16 years before discovering her passion for writing.  Her first novel Black Wood, inspired by a disturbing incident from her childhood, was published in 2015 and her follow-up work Willow Walk is out in June.

As for Louise, she began her writing career with four contemporary fiction novels before switching to writing thrillers with Mark Edwards. She and Mark were the first British indie authors to reach No.1 on the Amazon charts with Catch Your Death and this success led to a four-book deal with a leading publisher. Louise’s first solo psychological thriller The Venus Trap came out in February 2015, and her sixth novel with Mark, The Blissfully Dead, was released last September.

So come along and enjoy two authors for the price of one in what promises to be a fascinating and entertaining evening.  Tickets are £5 each to include a drink and are available from the Library.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Guest author Vanora Bennett to speak about 'Russian obsession'

Vanora Bennett will give a talk on February 23rd
Russia and Putin have been looming large on the TV news and in the press of late. Is she friend or foe, a danger to the West or misunderstood?

Next month the Friends of Molesey Library offers you an opportunity to delve a little deeper into the Russian psyche by accepting our invitation to attend our latest Meet the Author event. It’s on Tuesday February 23rd at 7.30pm and will be with Vanora Bennett, a writer with considerable first-hand experience and who admits to having ‘an obsession with Russia’.

Vanora started her career as a journalist, working in Paris, Cambodia, and parts of Africa and finally landing in the country which stopped being the Soviet Union three months after she arrived. She spent much of the early 1990s in smoky taxis in the Caucasus mountains, covering a series of small post-Soviet conflicts that built up to the war in Chechnya. As an afterthought, she started writing books. She now has eight books to her name, including two novels set in Russia or about Russians - The White Russian and Midnight in St Petersburg. She has also written two works of non-fiction about Russia - Crying Wolf, about the start of the post-Soviet war in Chechnya, and The Taste of Dreams: An Obsession with Russia and Caviar, which is a travelogue through the wilder parts of newly capitalist Russia in the 1990s.

Vanora will speak about the fate of Russia’s White EmigrĂ©s after the 1917 Revolution in a talk entitled Down & Out in Paris & London, and will take your questions about her work and what lessons we can learn in today’s world.  Signed copies of her books will be available to purchase on the night.

Tickets cost £5 – which includes a glass of wine or soft drink – and they can be purchased at Molesey Library. Alternatively, you can send a cheque (made payable to Friends of Molesey Library) with a stamped addressed envelope, to Author Event, Molesey Library, The Forum, Walton Road, West Molesey KT8 2HZ.