Monday, 18 December 2017

Henley Literary Festival Reviews

WE knew this was going to be a good evening the moment Emma Freud stepped on to the Kenton stage.

WE knew this was going to be a good evening the moment Emma Freud stepped on to the Kenton stage. Intelligent and convivial, she’s the perfect hostess, addressing her audience with wit and warmth. She opened by extolling the virtues of the cronut, a croissant-doughnut hybrid that sends New Yorkers into a frenzy, then excitedly announced she’d driven to London especially to buy some to share with us.

Emma introduced her guests, Emma Kennedy and Cherry Menlove, as two women writing to inform and entertain. Emma is an author and columnist, and a judge for this year’s Costa Book Awards. A natural born storyteller, she shared anecdotes which had the packed auditorium in stitches.

Cherry, author of The Handmade Home, has an inspiring attitude to the home, believing it to be a powerful source of strength and solace. She spoke of the day her husband, who suffers from leukaemia, was rushed to hospital. It was a sobering moment in the general levity and moving to hear her talk of her determination to provide a secure and happy home for her children no matter what.

Then there was the live cook-off, with Cherry, who demonstrates at food shows, versus Emma, winner of Celebrity Masterchef 2012. There was a moment of drama as Emma cut her finger, but remarkably a woman in the audience had plasters, and suitably patched up, Emma’s halloumi and watermelon salad pipped Cherry’s garlic and chilli prawns to the post.

And finally, the audience got to taste the cronut, which was very much like the event itself — utterly delicious and I would have liked more.

Freud, Kennedy and Menlove at the Kenton

Theatre

Saturday, October 5

Amanda Jennings

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