Silence inspires authors

Three stimulating Quaker authors, Philip Gross, Sheila Hancock and Tracy Chevalier are lined-up for a lively discussion at the Hay Book Festival, on how their faith influences their creativity.

three images of Tracy Chevalier, Philip Gross and Sheila Hancock
Ready for Hay: (left to right) Tracy Chevalier, Philip Gross and Sheila Hancock. (Photo credit: Stephen Morris for Philip Gross)

The three will take to the stage on Sunday, 28 May. The festival, in its thirtieth year, runs from Thursday 25 May to Sunday 4 June.

Sheila Hancock is looking forward to exchanging ideas with fellow panelists. Tracy Chevalier says, “I found writing about Quakers and our practice in my novel The Last Runaway made me think much more about how silence helps me in my own life to become grounded."

The discussion is run in partnership with Quakers in Britain.


Silence helps me in my own life to become grounded- Tracy Chevalier


Philip Gross says, “Where do my poetry and the Quaker way connect? In an attitude of spacious, vivid listening… being ready and willing to resonate with what you find in that deep place."

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain, says, “I'm really looking forward to hearing these three amazing writers talking about how their Quaker faith infuses their work with its values of peace, simplicity, equality and truth. Quakers see our faith as running through everything we do, so it's not surprising we have a tradition of producing inspiring writing. It's good to be working with Hay Festival on what promises to be a thought-provoking, spiritually-refreshing and enlightening event."

The actor Sheila Hancock's books include the memoir Just Me and the novel, Miss Carter's War; award-winning poet Philip Gross's collections include The Water Table, Deep Field and the forthcoming A Bright Acoustic; Tracy Chevalier's novels include Girl With a Pearl Earring, At the Edge of the Orchard and now New Boy.

Volunteer to steward Quaker exhibition stand