Rose Tremain to be the 2018 Golding Speaker

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Picture of Rose Tremain wearing a white suit

Rose Tremain, photo credit David Kirkham

We are pleased to announce that Rose Tremain will be this year’s Golding Speaker, opening the main weekend of the festival on Friday 28th September. This annual session highlights the festival’s connection with British novelist William Golding, who grew up in Marlborough. Tremain has described Golding’s influence on her own writing and everyone at the festival is incredibly excited to have her involved. Programme Director Kay Newman said: “Rose Tremain is a hugely inventive novelist who speaks delightfully about her work and the creative writing process… we are thrilled to have her.”

Tremain had her first novel published when she was 33 years old and has since published many more works of fiction. Her writing often follows the tales of characters moving to new and unfamiliar places, so it is unsurprising that her work has reached a broad audience both in the UK and beyond, with her novels being published in 27 countries. Her 2007 novel, The Road Home, follows the tale of Lev, who has arrived in London from Eastern Europe, trying to navigate the hostile streets of the capital and adapt to a different culture, filled with celebrity obsession.

Rose Tremain is well known for her historical novels, including her most recent, The Gustav Sonata, in which two five-year-old boys, Gustav and Anton, develop a friendship in Switzerland following the Second World War. The novel explores themes of love, friendship and neutrality. Restoration is another of Tremain’s historical novels, which was turned into a film in 1996, and follows Robert Merivel, a talented young medical student who finds favour with King Charles II. However, the world of decadence which he has been thrust into threatens to shut its doors on him when he falls in love with one of the King’s mistresses.

Tremain seeks to understand the struggles of her characters, perfectly capturing the emotion and humanity of the people she has created. In her first non-fiction book, Rosie: Scenes from a Vanished Life, she creates the same beautiful imagery as in her novels, whilst describing her own childhood. Tremain recounts a youth which was privileged but not without the trials that many children experience, including the divorce of her parents and being sent away to boarding school at the age of ten. She explores her journey from Rosie, the abandoned little girl, to her becoming Rose, successful author. Tremain’s memoir, which is due to be published in April, is sure to resonate with both avid readers of her work and anyone reading her books for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, Tremain has won many awards for her work, including the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Award. We are delighted to have her as a speaker and eagerly await her presence at the festival.