Judith Flanders at Richmond upon Thames Literature Festival

  • Salon, York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA
    Salon, York House
    Richmond Road Twickenham , TW1 3AA UNITED KINGDOM
  • 22/11/2017 19:00 - 22/11/2017 20:30


Thirty years after the first recorded Christmas, in the fourth century, the Pope was already warning that too many people were spending the day not in worship, but dancing and eating to excess. By 1616, the playwright Ben Jonson was nostalgically recalling the Christmas of the 'old days', certain that they had been better then. Food, drink and nostalgia for Christmases past seem to be almost as old as the holiday itself, with other aspects of the celebrations newer than we might realise - wrapping-paper was unknown before the twentieth century. Christmas has been all things to all people: a religious festival, a family celebration, a period of eating and drinking. In this event acclaimed social historian and best-selling author Judith Flanders casts a revealing eye on the myths, legends and history of the season, from the origins of the holiday in the Roman empire to the emergence of Christmas trees in central Europe, to draw a picture of the season as it has never been seen before.

Judith Flanders is the author of the bestselling The Victorian House: Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed(2003); A Circle of Sisters (2001), which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award; the New York Timesbestselling The Invention of Murder (2001), shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-fiction; The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London (2012), shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times History Book of the Year; and The Making of Home (2014). She is also the author of Christmas: A Biography (2017). In her copious leisure time, she also writes the Sam Clair series of comic crime novels.