Bell House wins Frances Garnham award for innovation

Bell House won the Historic Houses Frances Garnham award for their innovative approach to education and community engagement. The judges were impressed by the reach and creativity of Bell House’s offer to its local community and Ben Cowell, Director General of Historic Houses, spoke highly of the charity, saying ‘It is wonderful to see such an energetic and dynamic approach underway at Bell House. This beautiful place is a beacon for its local area, showing how historic houses continue to serve vital purposes in the twenty-first century.’

Poetry and Music at Bell House

Tuesday March 3rd 7.30 -9.15

Come and hear four excellent poets read from their new collections and hear the vibrant inspiring Steve Halliwell, local musician extraordinaire and his accompanying musicians.

Chris Beckett was born in London but grew up in Ethiopia, which he writes about in his poetry. His last book of poems was Ethiopia Boy published in 2013. This year Carcanet will bring out his third collection, Tenderfoot, as well as the first ever anthology of Ethiopian poetry in English, Songs We Learn from Trees.

Lynne Hjelmaard As a result of crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat with her husband, Lynne wrote poems that were later collected in Manhattan Sonnets. After her husband died in 2006, she received a residency grant for the Danish Academy in Rome where she wrote poems that later appeared in The Ring. A Boat Called Annalise was published with Seren Books in 2016 and A Second Whisper was published by Seren Books last year.

Jane Kirwan won an Arts Council Writers’ Award in 2002, has been commended and won prizes, She published a novel Don’t Mention Her through Blue Door Press in 2016 as well as a poetry collection Stories & Lies with Pamela Johnson and Jennifer Grigg in 2018. Her latest collection The Goose Woman was published by Blue Door Press in February 2019.

Anne Stewart founded and runs the online poet showcase and is administrator for Second Light. Her latest collection is The Last Parent (SLP 2019). Her awards include the Bridport Prize, Southport Prize and Silver Wyvern (Poetry on the Lake, Italy).

Plus 4 floor poets. Copies of the readers’ books will be on sale. Free evening with donations for refreshments. Book via Bell House website.Further details from Wendy French This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Or Robert Hancock This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Friends Musick

Saturday 21st March at 7.30pm

To mark the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower carrying the Pilgrim Fathers to begin a new life in America, The Friends` Musick chamber choir will tell the story of that fateful voyage in words and music.

Narrated by a descendant of one of the passengers, with additional narrative from one of the singers descended from William Brewster - a key figure among the Pilgrims.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite on the Bell House website or on the door if available. £12, £10 concessions (seniors, students) Children under 12 £6

South East London Authors

By Marianne Kavanagh

Published authors know how lucky they are. It can be a long and difficult journey from the spark of an idea to a paperback on sale in local bookshops, and so many good books don’t make it. If you’re one of the chosen few, you’re acutely aware of the privilege.

At same time, making your living as a writer can be tough. It’s a lonely business. You don’t have work colleagues to lean on - your agent, editor and accountant are all on your side, but coming up with the product is basically down to you. Writing is also a constant battle with yourself. As the Irish novelist Anne Enright once said, ‘Only bad writers think their work is really good.’

Eighteen months ago, I was talking about all this with local author Diana Evans - whose most recent novel Ordinary People has been shortlisted for a whole host of international prizes - and we realised that one of saddest things about writers’ solitary lives is that we don’t even have an office party at Christmas. (Sudden jollity over warm wine in paper cups is, amazingly, something you miss if you’re freelance and work alone.) So we decided to gather together fellow published authors in south-east London and have our own Christmas celebration.

Since then, South East London Authors has grown to an informal group of fourteen local authors who meet regularly to compare notes, offer support and advice, and celebrate success. Some of us are newly published, while others have an impressive backlist of bestselling titles. Some write literary fiction, some write commercial fiction, and together we cover everything from thrillers to memoirs.

Recently we decided to share what we know about writing and the publishing industry with readers, writers and students. We held our first event in October last year, and now have a further date booked at Bell House in Dulwich Village.

On Wednesday 22 April at 7.30pm, I will be joining novelists Louise Candlish and Anna Mazzola in a Q&A session chaired by author and creative writing tutor Emma Darwin to talk about crime fiction (domestic noir, psychological thrillers, historical crime and detective mysteries) - how it works, the secrets of plot and characterisation, and why crime fiction is consistently the bestselling genre. Full details on Bell House’s website We’d love to see you at either or both of these events.

If you’d like to get in touch with South East London Authors, we don’t yet have a website or official contact details, but I’d be very happy to pass on requests for speakers or events to individual authors or to the whole group. We’d also love to hear from published authors in south-east London who’d like to join us. My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Interested in Bees?

Saturday 23rd May from 2pm to 3.30pm

If you are interested in bees and perhaps thinking of hosting a hive, then this talk is for you. The Dulwich Society is sponsoring an afternoon at Bell House where you can find out the essentials from an expert.

Beekeeper Philip Nicholson will talk about beekeeping at Bell House and explain how honey is produced.

We will look at the apiary in the garden, weather permitting, and will get a chance to see bees on the comb.

Light refreshments will be served.

The event is open only to Dulwich Society members and is free but numbers are limited to 15. If you wish to sign up please register your interest by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.