St Helier’s iconic Havre des Pas bathing pool will have a starring role in this year’s Jersey Festival of Words when it becomes the venue for a literary event celebrating the benefits of swimming for mental health as well as physical.
Best-selling authors Libby Page and Alexandra Heminsley, whose books have helped to spur a national revival of interest in a pastime anyone can pursue at any time, will take the plunge in a discussion that forms part of the 2018 festival’s focus on wellbeing.
Appropriately enough in a weekend that will see the multi-disciplinary sportsmen and women of Superleague Triathlon back in Jersey, the island’s growing book festival will also feature Bryony Gordon’s inspiring account of how running the London Marathon helped to boost her self-esteem and chase away her inner demons.
The sport and fitness strand of the Jersey Festival of Words 2018, which runs from Wednesday 26 September to Sunday 30 September, will be completed by a visit from celebrity trainer Faisal Abdalla, whose clients have included Ellie Goulding and Harry Styles. Faisal will be running two fitness classes at Club Soulgenic and signing his new book The PMA Method(with PMA standing for Positive Mental Attitude).
The Havre des Pas event on Saturday 29 September will unite two of the festival’s main aims: bringing star writers in all genres to Jersey and showcasing the Island’s history and heritage, of which the south coast landmark has been an important part for over a century.
In her acclaimed debut novel The Lido, Libby Page traces the chance friendship of two women 60 years apart in age but brought together by the threat of closure hanging over their London swimming pool. It has been described as ‘a standout hymn to female friendship and the power of collective action’ (Stylist).
Libby Page will be in discussion with Alexandra Heminsley, whose own book Leap In (‘soaringly beautiful’: Sunday Times Magazine) describes her decision to learn to swim and how, in the process, she also learned to appreciate her body and still her mind. Her other books include Running Like a Girl, making Alexandra an ideal interviewer for columnist Bryony Gordon, who will be at the Opera House on Friday 28 September to talk about Eat, Drink, Run.
Widely known for her contributions to the Telegraph newspapers and the journalistic scoop in which Prince Harry opened up about mental health, Bryony has chronicled her own mental problems, including OCD and addiction. Eat, Drink, Runtells the story of her determination not to let them stop her training for and completing the 2017 London Marathon and the life-changing benefits it brought.
Jersey Festival of Words chairman Jennifer Bridge said: “This year’s programme has something of a feelgood factor, with an emphasis on personal wellbeing and a number of featured books with uplifting themes. The sport and fitness titles are just part of that trend, and we are delighted to be able to use another of Jersey’s heritage venues at Havre des Pas.”
The Jersey Festival of Words takes place from Wednesday 26 September to Sunday 30 September.