An actress and comedienne whose credits include some of the most popular TV shows of the past 30 years is coming to the South West for the fourth Plymouth International Book Festival.
Helen Lederer is a familiar face to TV audiences, having worked on shows including Bottom, Absolutely Fabulous, Hollyoaks and Doctors.
She is also a successful stand-up comedian and is now a successful author, having earlier this year published her first novel, Losing It.
That will be the main topic of discussion of her appearance at Plymouth University on Saturday 17 October, where Helen will be in discussion with popular local radio host Judi Spiers. Helen says
“At events like this, it is always nice to have a conversation with someone rather than be on your own, as you feed off the other person’s energy. Despite being a stand up for many years, I’ve never been fully comfortable with doing things like this on my own. But I have never been a conventional person, and I like to keep putting myself on the edge – plus I met Judi Spiers years ago, so it will be lovely to see her again.”
The 2015 Plymouth International Book Festival runs from Thursday 15 October to Wednesday 21 October. Other headline acts include bestselling authors Judy Finnigan, Simon Scarrow and Matt Haig, writer and musician John Hegley, Thurston Moore, co-founder of experimental rock band Sonic Youth, asylum broadcaster and campaigner Bidisha, and whisky connoisseur Ian Buxton.
Helen started out as part of a group of early 1980s comedians, including Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, the late Rik Mayall and Ben Elton who made their names at London’s Comedy Store.
She is best known for her role as dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous, working alongside Saunders and Joanna Lumley, as well as creating the 'Girl at the Bar' Naked Video.
Despite that résumé, she believes she has found something of a niche in writing, and is already embarking on her second novel. Helen says:
“Writing suits me right now – it feels like a natural way to be. I try to write every day, and you have to tackle it in an obsessive way because your brain can switch off to the characters and the story. It is difficult when I am travelling – and it was earlier this year when I got asked to be in Hollyoaks – but I tend to roll up my sleeves and keep challenging myself.”
“I love going to literary festivals, and try to make sure I and the audience all have fun. In some sense, humour is the only thing that keeps me going, and if people don’t want to ask me a question, I will happily ask myself one. But I love meeting people and getting feedback – it grounds you and makes you fully appreciate the audience you are writing for.”Helen will be speaking in The House at Plymouth University on Saturday 17 October from 6-7pm, and tickets (priced £6, £4 concessions) are available from the box office on 01752 585050 or by following the link below.