Anne Sebba Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s – In conversation with Sonia Purnell at Write on Kew

Anne Sebba Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s – In conversation with Sonia Purnell at Write on Kew

Sponsored by London Book and Screen Week

6:00pm, Friday 23rd September Tickets £16.00 (adult) / £13.00 (child/member)

Jacks Thomas, Director of the London Book Fair, said:
“Write on Kew is a welcome addition to the London literary scene, bringing book lovers together against the unrivalled backdrop of Kew Gardens. As we plan for the third London Book & Screen Week in March 2017, we are thrilled to be supporting the event for a second year by sponsoring the Green Room and an exciting event with bestselling author Anne Sebba, in conversation with the acclaimed Sonia Purnell. This is sure to be a stylish and special evening.’

Leading female historian and author Anne Sebba will be speaking at Write on Kew, Kew Gardens later this month about her critically acclaimed title Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s. In interview with celebrated biographer Sonia Purnell, author of First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill, Anne will reveal the remarkable interviews and in depth research that went into her phenomenal account of female strength through wartime Paris.

What did it feel like to be a woman living in Paris from 1939 to 1949? By looking at a wide range of individuals from collaborators to resisters, actresses and prostitutes to teachers and writers, Anne Sebba shows that women, whether they were Nazi wives, spies, mothers, mistresses, or fashion and jewellery designers, had to make life-and-death decisions every day, and often did whatever they needed to survive.

But this is not just a book about wartime. Sebba also explores the aftershock of the Second World War and the choices demanded. How did the women who survived to see the Liberation of Paris come to terms with their actions and those of others? Although politics lies at its heart, LES PARISIENNES is above all an account of the lives of people of the city and, most of all, its women and young girls.

Adam Farrar, Head of Commercial Activities at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said:

‘We are thrilled to be hosting Anne Sebba at this year’s Write on Kew. Her study of women in 1940s Paris sits perfectly within the ethos of the festival, a celebration of humanity, history, and culture. I have no doubt the event will be hugely popular.’

ANNE SEBBA read History at King’s College London then joined Reuters as a foreign correspondent based in London and Rome. She has written eight works of non-fiction, mostly about iconic women, presented BBC radio documentaries, and is an accredited NADFAS (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) lecturer. Her biography of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, That Woman, was a Sunday Times bestseller.


SONIA PURNELL started work at The Economist Intelligence Unit, edited a weekly financial magazine when only twenty-five, and then went on to a senior position on the Daily Telegraph’s City pages before reporting on the EU from Brussels. On her return to London she assumed the position of Whitehall Correspondent, before moving to the Daily Mail, where she was Whitehall Editor. Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, was a candid and widely acclaimed portrait of London Mayor Boris Johnson, informed by her time working alongside him in Brussels. Just Boris was long listed for the Orwell Prize.


The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Taking place every spring in the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital, it is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future. LBF brings you direct access to customers, content and emerging markets. LBF 2017, the 46th Fair, will take place from 14 – 16 March 2017, Olympia London. LBF’s London Book and Screen Week will run for the third year, with the book fair as the pivotal three day event within a seven day programme. London Book and Screen Week will begin on Monday 13 March. For further information, please visit:


London Book & Screen Week is a seven day, citywide celebration of books and the films, TV programmes and virtual worlds they inspire. Produced by The London Book Fair (see above), the landmark event series brings storytelling and the written word to life, uniting the capital’s avid readers, writers, game, film and TV fans with a diverse range of events taking place across literary London. Now in its second year, the event continues to grow in scale and impact.

Anne Sebba is available for interview. For further information please contact Sophie Ransom and Alice Geary at Midas Public Relations on 020 7 3617860 or email:

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