Join us for an evening with award-winning author Kit de Waal as she talks about her vivid and compelling childhood memoir Without Warning and Only Sometimes.
Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged money they didn’t have on cars, suits and shoes fit for a prince. Both of her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came.
Caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham, Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape.
Without Warning and Only Sometimes is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day.
Kit de Waal is the award-winning author of My Name is Leon, The Trick to Time, and Supporting Cast. Her work has been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and My Name is Leon won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. Now she brings us a childhood memoir set to become a classic: stinging, warm-hearted, and true. We look forward to welcoming Kit to Oswestry.
Kit’s writing is beautiful – vivid and compelling, and so moving. Families are such a mix of joy and pain and Kit’s depiction of her parents’ dynamic was both painful and comforting to read. There’s so much love, warmth and hope. I wanted to keep reading this book for ever — Marian Keyes
I knew Kit de Waal was special the moment I met her. And now I know why — Lemn Sissay
Warm, honest, perceptive and moving, and the very best kind of memoir, because not only does it tell you about someone else’s life, it tells you about your own — Joanna Cannon
I loved it and couldn’t put it down. Both joyous and heartbreaking, it captures an era and is also a beautiful tribute to sibling love, and a completely compelling story of how one girl became a reader — Cathy Rentzenbrink
Tickets: £7 without book (Admits One, ticket redeemable against a signed copy of Without Warning & Only Sometimes) or £17 with book (Admits One, includes a signed copy of Without Warning & Only Sometimes). Tickets available from the bookshop or purchase online (with booking fee).