Cookham Festival hosts taster events with big names this season

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams
Cookham Festival hosts taster events with big names this season

Cookham Festival organisers are arranging some taster events to drum up enthusiasm for its May schedule – including a conversation with thriller writer Gerald Seymour.

The festival would normally be once every two years – but due to COVID-19 was not hosted in May last year.

Though it is set for next year (May 6-22), the organisers wanted to put on some events to fill in the three-year gap between the festival, starting with a conversation with Nick Hornby on October 30.

For its second taster event on November 26, the critically acclaimed Gerald Seymour will be at Pinder Hall in Cookham. The writer is a best-selling author of 37 novels.

His debut, Harry’s Game, along with five of his other books, was subsequently filmed for television in the UK and US.

Gerald worked for 15 years as an ITN reporter, covering events from the Red Army and the Red Brigades of Germany and Italy to Vietnam and South Asia, the Middle East to Northern Ireland.

He was on the streets of Londonderry on Bloody Sunday and found himself in close proximity to the Munich Olympics massacre in the ‘70s.

He subsequently featured in the Oscar-winning documentary One Day in September about the Munich terrorist strike.

In his novels, Gerald Seymour explores the themes of organised crime, terrorism, international conflict and the intelligence communities.

John Castell is organising the spoken word events at Cookham Festival and has known Gerald Seymour for about 20 years.

“He’s had two very successful careers – one as a ITN reporter before becoming a thriller writer,” John said. “The one has fed off the other.

“He’s a really charming and amusing speaker, a great raconteur – a good storyteller in novels but also in real life as well.”

Gerald Seymour’s most recent novel, The Crocodile Hunter, is out in paperback this week and is The Sunday Times Paperback of the Week.

Reviews note the presence of his ‘journalist’s eye’ in his fiction work.

Gerald will be at Pinder Hall in Lower Rd, Cookham from 7.30pm on Friday, November 26 to talk about his life and work. It is £12.50 a ticket.

To book, visit

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