A Tale of Three Cities - Chartres, Ravenna, Valletta sees Chichester novelist Kate Mosse take centre stage at the Festival of Chichester, hot foot from being honoured in France.
In Carcassonne – the walled city in south-west France that has inspired all her multi-million international number-one bestselling historical fiction such as Labyrinth and The Burning Chambers – Kate was presented with a medal by the Mayor of Carcassonne for her services to culture and enhancing the international reputation of the city.
“It was a great honour,” Kate says. “We’ve had a tiny house in Carcassonne for nearly thirty years now and, though Chichester is my home home – I’m a Chi girl born and bred – Carcassonne is certainly my adopted home.
“From the second I stepped foot in the city, I fell in love with the history of the region and its mysteries, with the countryside and the incredible stories that lie beneath the wild landscape of Languedoc and the towers and turrets of the medieval citadel itself.
“Out of that came first my Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – then The Winter Ghosts and now The Burning Chambers, which is the most ambitious project I’ve done yet.”
A non fiction writer and a playwright too, Kate has sold some 8 million copies of her books worldwide in 40 countries and is translated into 38 languages. The Burning Chambers also went straight to the top of the UK charts when it came out last year, then did the same in paperback this year, and film companies are already knocking at her door.
“‘It is the first in an epic new adventure quartet set against the backdrop of the French Wars of Religion. A Romeo & Juliet story of forbidden love and a feud between two families lasting generations, one Catholic and one Protestant, the series will cover three hundred years of history and travel the globe from Carcassonne and Toulouse in the 16th century, to 17th century Amsterdam, 18th New World and the Cape of Good Hope, and finally Franschhoek in South Africa in the 19th century.”
Kate has recently returned from a writer’s fellowship at the Dutch Literature Foundation in Amsterdam, and is about to travel to the oldest Huguenot street in the world – in North Carolina – to continue her research.
“It’s why I’m so glad to be doing this event for the 2019 Festival of Chichester,” she says.
The talk will be in the Assembly Rooms on Monday, July 1 at 7.30pm.
“‘I’ve been a supporter of this wonderful local arts festival since its inception seven years ago.
“This year, when Philip Robinson – the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Chichester – invited me to do an event with him in aid of the Twinning Association, it seemed the perfect way to celebrate the power of landscape and travel to inspire storytelling.
“All of my fiction, whether set in Sussex like The Taxidermist’s Daughter or my Languedoc novels, begins with a sense of place. My first independent trips abroad in the 1970s were with the Chichester Youth Orchestra to our twin city of Chartres. It’s a city that, of course, appears in my novel Labyrinth and will make a guest appearance in the second novel of The Burning Chambers Quartet, The City of Tears, so this event to celebrate the power of the links between cities is long overdue!”
Kate will also be in conversation with Phil Hewitt, chairman of the Festival of Chichester, about his memoir Outrunning the Demons at the Oxmarket Gallery on July 4 and will compere the Southdowns Concert Band with The Walton Voices in their musical journey through time and space in aid of Dementia Support on Saturday, July 6 in Chichester Cathedral.