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Jenny Eclair, Jacob Ross and Ingrid Seward for the Literary Festival  Image

Jenny Eclair, Jacob Ross and Ingrid Seward for the Literary Festival


Jenny Eclair, has been a stand up comic for donkeys’ years, she was the first woman to win the coveted Perrier Award and hasn’t stopped banging on about it ever since. She still gigs regularly and is on tour around the UK with her new show How To be A Middle Aged Woman (Without Going Insane). 

Some of you might recognize her from TV, small screen highlights include, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, the ‘Grumpy Old Women’ series, plus the ‘Grumpy Guides’, ‘Grumpy Holidays’ and ‘It’s Grim up North’. She also occasionally crops up on day time telly and gets very excited about doing things like This Morning and Loose Women. 

Weirdly enough Eclair was actually trained as a straight actress and has done ’acting’ on ‘Holby City’ and ‘The Bill’. In early 2009 she cropped up playing women of forty plus, in Al Murray’s Multiple Personality Disorder (ITV1). 

Other TV credits include Celebrity Weakest Link (BBC Two), Celebrity Fame Academy (BBC One), The Joan Rivers Position and Room 101 (BBC Two), Empire’s Children, hosting The Perrier Awards (Channel 4), The BBC New Comedy Awards (BBC One), The British Comedy Awards… The Fun Goes On (ITV 2) and the Eurovision Song Contest (BBC Three). Jenny provided the voiceover for A Place in France (Channel 4) and Celebrity Fit Club (ITV1). 

Stage wise, Eclair’s biggest hit to date has been co-writing (with Judith Holder) and starring in ‘Grumpy Old Women Live’ and ‘Grumpy Old Women Live: 2 Chin Up Britain‘, a two hour extravaganza that toured the UK, Australia and recently opened (in Finnish) in Helsinki, the show (in English) is now available on DVD. Grump Old Women Live 2: Chin Up Britain enjoyed an 8 week West End run at the Novello Theatre this spring. 

Other West End theatre credits include ‘Steaming’, ‘Mum’s the Word’ and ‘The Vagina Monologues’. Most recently she appeared in the title role of ‘The Killing of Sister George’ for the Derby Playhouse, unfortunately she spent the entire time she was on stage looking like a fat Margaret Thatcher. 

Eclair is a writer as much as a performer (sometimes it’s nice to just sit down). She has co-written (with Julie Balloo) a number of one-woman plays including the critically acclaimed ‘Andy Warhol Syndrome’, which was also adapted for BBC Radio 4. She is the author of two novels ‘Camberwell Beauty’ and ‘Having a Lovely Time’, whilst her non fiction books include, ‘Chin Up Britain’, ‘The Book of Bad Behaviour’, plus ‘Grumpy Old Couples’ and ‘Wendy The Bumper Book of fun for Women of a certain age’ (both of which were co-written with Judith Holder) Radio writing credits include the two series of Twilight Baby (co-written with Julie Balloo) for Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. 

She is an enthusiastic hired hack, happy to contribute to various newspapers and magazines, as well as being a willing, if stupidly inept and overly competitive guest on radio panels games such as ‘Just a Minute’ and ‘Banter’ (Radio4). 

She lives in South London with St Geof of Camberwell and has a daughter at university. 

Jacob Ross is a poet, playwright, journalist, short story writer, and novelist.  He runs fiction masterclasses for numerous agencies in the UK and abroad and  is currently Associate Editor for Fiction at Peepal Tree Press and editor of anthologies: Voice, Memory, Ashes; Riding and Rising, Turf  and Closure  - an anthology of Contemporary Black British short stories. 

Ross has been a judge for the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize, the VS Pritchett and Tom Gallon Prizes. He was a 2017 judge for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 

He is the author of short story collections: Song for Simone and A Way to Catch the Dust; and the forthcoming ‘Tell No one About This’. 

His novel, Pynter Bender, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Regional Prize, The Society of Authors ‘Best first Novel’ and Caribbean Review of Books ‘Book of the Year’.  His Jhalak Prize winning novel, The Bone Readers, was published in September 2016. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. 

Returning to the Festival is Editor of Majesty Magazine since 1983 and subsequently Editor-in-Chief, Ingrid Seward. Ingrid is globally acknowledged as one of the world’s experts on the British Royal Family.  Ingrid wrote her first book in 1988, simply called ‘Diana’, which reached number 7 on The Times bestseller list.  

Since then, Ingrid has written a huge number of acclaimed books about the Royal Family. Her second was Sarah Duchess of York, written with the co-operation of Sarah Ferguson in 1989, followed by Royal Children of the 20th Century (1993), Prince Edward (1995), The Last Great Edwardian Lady (1999) about the Queen Mother, The Queen and Di (2000), William and Harry (2003) – which was serialised in the Daily Mail in one of the newspapers most successful deals, seeing shares in the paper leap during the 7 day serialisation – worked with Larry King on The People’s Princess (2007) and William and Harry: The People’s Princes in 2008. 

Ingrid is a regular broadcaster for SKY News, ITN News, BBC Breakfast News, BBC News 24, GMTV (now Daybreak), and Channel 5 News, and has contributed to many special royal programmes and on coverage of royal events and announcements. She helped research the BBC’s award-winning mini-series The Queen staring Helen Mirren. In 1997 she co-hosted coverage of Diana’s funeral for CBS News and also the death of the Queen Mother in 2002. She also contributes to major US publications and broadcast. 

Tickets are on sale at and 

A box office will be open at the Garrison Library from 16th October 2017. 


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