Culture Spark literary events coming to the Chichester District this autumn

Literary fans will be able to hear from critically acclaimed authors about their latest books and the stories behind them at two events in Chichester this autumn, as part of the Culture Spark calendar. 

On 15 September, Observer art critic and author, Laura Cumming, will be discussing her Rathbones Folio Prize-shortlisted memoir ‘On Chapel Sands’ in an exclusive event – ‘The mysterious secrets of the family photo album’.

As a prize-winning author and a major voice in the UK art world, the event offers a unique opportunity to hear Laura discuss her latest work. The memoir tells the story of Laura’s mother, who was kidnapped from a Lincolnshire beach in autumn 1929 when she was a small child. She was found unharmed five days later in a nearby village with no memory of the event; it was another fifty years before she even learned of the kidnap. 

‘On Chapel Sands’ is part memoir, part detective story, and brings the eye of an art critic to the analysis of family photographs to unlock a mystery of almost a century old. 

The event is being held in partnership with Rathbones Chichester and will take place at 6.30pm at The Assembly Rooms in North Street, Chichester. Laura will discuss her prize-winning book and the art of creating a compelling narrative from real-life events with Minna Fry, Director of the Rathbones Folio Prize. 

Tickets cost £7.50 and can be purchased online from the Chichester Box Office at

People can also look forward to a special event with bestselling local author, Kate Mosse, on 13 October at Chichester Cathedral. Kate will be discussing the story behind her new non-fiction project ‘Warrior Queens and Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World’. 

The book features thousands of trailblazing women throughout history and tells the moving story of the author’s great-grandmother, Lily Watson, a famous and successful novelist in her day who has all but disappeared from the record. 

The event is being supported by West Sussex Libraries. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased online from the Chichester Box Office at

Caroline Sharman-Mendoza, Creative Co-ordinator, says: “After a summer of fantastic art, live entertainment, community events and activities, the Culture Spark celebrations are continuing this autumn with a series of literary events showcasing some of the district’s well-known authors. 

“These events have been organised to complement the wonderful season of events we have seen so far, celebrating a momentous year of art and culture in the Chichester District. I would also like to thank our Culture Spark sponsors, Stagecoach and Rathbones Group Plc for their support.”

Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council, says: “We’ve had an incredible Culture Spark season so far – and it’s not over yet. There are lots of events still to come so keep checking the Culture Spark calendar at and make sure you come out and support these fantastic events and organisations.

“The Chichester District is home to a number of internationally renowned cultural organisations, many of which have celebrated milestone anniversaries this year. Culture Spark is a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate the rich and diverse range of cultural and heritage experiences in the area.”

Celebrations have been taking place to recognise milestone anniversaries including 60 years of Chichester Festival Theatre; 40 years of Pallant House Gallery; 30 years of Chichester Cinema at New Park’s International Film Festival; 10 years of The Novium Museum and the Festival of Chichester; and even more impressively, 200 years of the Canal Trust! 

Roy adds: “Culture Spark will also bring people together to showcase work by the next generation of local creatives – thanks to initial investment into the project from Chichester District Council, Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery.”

The full programme of Culture Spark events can be found at: