Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Standing alone is Constantia Gifford, the taxidermist’s daughter. The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead. While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible, but finds herself under suspicion. Is Constantia who she seems – is she the victim of circumstances or are more sinister forces at work? And what is the secret that lies at the heart of Gifford House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop?
A wonderfully atmospheric collection of short stories, rooted deep in the landscape and inspired by traditional folk tales and country legends from England and France. These tales are richly populated by ghosts and spirits seeking revenge; by grief-stricken women and haunted men coming to terms with their destiny – all rooted deep in the elemental landscapes of Sussex, Brittany and the Languedoc.
In this extraordinary thriller, rich in the atmospheres of medieval and contemporary France, the lives of two women born centuries apart are linked by a common destiny. When Dr Alice Tanner discovers two skeletons during an archaeological dig in southern France, she unearths a link with an extraordinary past. Eight hundred years ago, on the night before a brutal civil war ripped apart Languedoc, a book was entrusted to Alais, a young herbalist and healer. Although she cannot understand the symbols and diagrams the book contains, Alais knows her destiny lies in protecting their secret, at all costs.
Sepulchre is the second novel in Kate’s Languedoc Trilogy. A timeslip adventure novel – set in 19th century and contemporary France – it is about Tarot, about ghosts, about the power of music and place, about the relationship between the two great modern republics of the 20th century, France and America.
The third and final novel in Kate’s Languedoc Trilogy, it tells the story of an all- female group of Resistance fighters in the south of France, codename ‘Citadel’. Led by Sandrine Vidal, they are fighting not only to liberate the Midi from Nazi Occupation – as their forefathers and mothers, the Cathars, had seven hundred years earlier fought to protect their land from the invaders from the North – but also to protect an ancient secret that, if it fell into the wrong hands, could change the course of history. A fast paced adventure story of love and war, courage and sacrifice, about a brave group of women and the loyal men who love them.
This is a haunting story of loss and remembrance set in the aftermath of the First World War. The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. He stumbles through woods, emerging in a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful woman also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries.
At four minutes to seven on the evening of Tuesday 3rd July 1962, the voice of Laurence Olivier boomed through the foyer of Chichester Festival Theatre asking the first-night audience to take their seats. No one had ever seen a theatre like it – an ‘impossible theatre’, strikingly modern, concrete and glass, with a vast thrust stage sticking out into the auditorium. And built against all the odds in parkland just outside a small cathedral city in West Sussex.
At seven o’clock, everyone stood for the National Anthem. Then the house lights went down and the opening words of John Fletcher’s The Chances were spoken. The CFT story had begun …
Since then, the roll call of those who’ve played to Chichester reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of contemporary theatre and film – Ian McKellen, Lauren Bacall, Sam Mendes, Kathleen Turner, Stephen Fry, Derek Jacobi, Joseph Fiennes, John Gielgud, Diana Rigg, just a handful of the world-class actors and actresses who have walked the stage at CFT over the past fifty years. It’s where the National Theatre company was formed while waiting for its new home on London’s South Bank to be ready; it’s where some of the most important contemporary writing has been showcased – from Lucy Prebble’s Enron to David Hare’s South Downs; it’s where careers have been made and confirmed.
Now you, too, can be part of the history of CFT. The international bestselling novelist and playwright, Kate Mosse – a Chichester girl, born and bred – is writing the anniversary book for CFT’s first half century. Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty is a decade-by-decade celebration, a love letter in words and pictures, based on interviews by many of those who’ve played their part in the enduring success of one of Britain’s most important and best loved theatres.
By pledging your support today, you can see your name printed in the book alongside the great names of stage and screen. You’ll have access to Kate’s shed, be able to keep up-to-date with her progress, and get a taste of dramas on and off the stage, scandals and success, the box office triumphs and one or two productions that didn’t quite come off!
Beautifully designed, it’s the perfect gift book for anyone interested in theatre, film, television. A one-off chance to celebrate the first fifty years of CFT and to look forward to the future.
Commissioned by Sandi Toksvig for Sky Theatre Arts Live, Syrinx is Kate’s first play.
A one-act, 30 minute drama, for four actresses. Set in the present day, in a head teacher’s office in a country market town on the occasion of a school prize giving, it’s a story of haunting and female friendship. The headteacher, Marion, is retiring and has decided to use the opportunity to bring together her two oldest school friends, Susan and Julie – whose children have passed through the school – to repair the breakdown in their friendship following a tragedy some years before.
A story of grief and remembering, about the ‘What If’ moments in life, Syrinx had its debut at the Sky Television Studios in London in July 2009. Directed by Patrick Sandford, the cast was Gabrielle Lloyd as Julie, Sian Thomas as Susan, Penelope Beaumont as Marian and seventeen-year-old Eleanor Tomlinson as Sarah. The first amateur performance was by the Lapworth Players in May 2011.
To celebrate the reopening of the Bush Theatre in London, after a major refurbishment, Artistic Director Josie Rourke leads a team of directors presenting Sixty Six Books, a sequence of dramatic monologues interpreting each of the books of the King James Bible to celebrate its 400th year. The list of pieces by leading contemporary novelists, poets, songwriters and playwrights – including Jeanette Winterson, Anne Michaels, Stella Duffy, Andrew Motion, Wole Soyinka, Jackie Kay, Neil la Bute, Owen Sheers, Moira Buffini, Kwame Kweih Armah, Carol Anne Duffy, Toby Litt, Billy Bragg, Archbishop Rowan Williams, Brian Chikwava, Kamila Shamsie, David Edgar – will be present in three hour, six hour and two epic 24 hour events. Kate’s text is the final book of the New Testament, The Book of Revelation. To be directed by Philip Franks and starring Zoe Waites.
Kate Mosse answers some questions about The Book of Revelation here.
Click here for Kate’s journalism.
Eskimo Kissing (Hodder & Stoughton, 1996)
Crucifix Lane (Hodder & Stoughton, 1998)
Labyrinth (Book I Languedoc Trilogy, Orion, 2005)
Sepulchre (Book II Languedoc Trilogy, Orion, 2007)
The Winter Ghosts (Orion, 2009)
Citadel (Book III Languedoc Trilogy, Orion, 2012)
The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales (short stories, Orion, 2013)
Becoming a Mother (Virago, 1993)
The House: Behind the Scenes at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (BBC Books, 1995)
Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty (Unbound, 2012)
Syrinx (2009; printed version in The Mistletoe Bride, Orion 2013)
Endpapers (Oberon Books, 2011)
Dodger (2012, not published)
ESSAYS, SHORT STORIES & OTHER WRITINGS
Little Black Dress (story – edited by Susie Maguire, Polygon, 2006)
Modern Delight (essay – Waterstones/Faber and Faber, 2009)
Midsummer Nights (story – edited by Jeanette Winterson, Quercus, 2009)
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini (introduction – Vintage Classics,2009)
Introduction to The Writers’ & Artists Yearbook 2009, (introduction – A&CBlack, 2009)
The Book Lovers’ Appreciation Society (story – edited by Fanny Blake, Orion 2009)
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (introduction – Serpent’s Tail, 2010)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (introduction – Whites Book, 2010)
The Best Little Book Club in Town (story – edited by Fanny Blake, Orion, 2011)
Why Willows Weep (story – edited by Tracy Chevalier, 2011)
Write (essay – Guardian Books, 2012)
Goldfinger by Ian Fleming (introduction – Vintage Classics, 2012)
Night Falls on the City by Sarah Gainham (introduction – Little Brown, 2012)
The Coffee Shop Book Club (story – edited by Fanny Blake, Orion, 2013)
Virago at 40 (story – edited by Lennie Goodings, 2013)
Fifty Shades of Feminism (essay – edited by Lisa Appignanesi, Rachel Holmes & Susie Orbach, Bloomsbury, 2013)
A Chichester Miscellany by Phil Hewitt (foreword – Summersdale Publishing, 2013)
Chichester Harbour: England’s Coastal Gem by Liz Sagues (foreword – Robert Hale, 2013)
One Hundred Great Plays by Women by Lucy Kerbel (foreword – Nick Hern Books, 2013)
Writing Historical Fiction (essay – edited by Celia Brayfield and Duncan Sprott, Bloomsbury, 2014)
Anthology of World War I Literature for Children (essay – edited by Michael Morpurgo, Jonathan Cape, 2014)
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain (afterword – Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2014)
Only Remembered (story – edited by Michael Morpurgo, Jonathan Cape, 2014)