The launch of Brushstrokes in Time, Talk Oxford TV video, coming events : the Oxford and Stratford Literary Festivals and Oxford Art Forum !

Blackwell launch Solo by Helen 3
Blackwell launch Solo by Helen

“A stunning eye opening fictional tale set in China from 1963-1993; WILD SWANS MEETS DR ZHIVAGO,”
“Utterlly brilliant! I am so enthralled – many congratulations on a quite extraordinary achievement.” LADY MOYRA BANNISTER

Press Release Brushstrokes in Time
In the UK and around the world, Brushstrokes in Time by Sylvia Vetta and published by Claret Press is now available on Amazon to download. You can order it at any good bookshops where it is available print on demand .
ISBN Paperback is: 78-1-910461-09-9
ISBN ebook: 978-1-910461-10-5

APRIL 2 (2016)

Blackwell’s are holding lots of free events in their Festival Marquee and there are others in Blackwell Hall in the New Bodleian. I’ve just returned from two. I was pleased to hear Bart van Es on Shakespeare’s comedies saying that Shakespeare invented the Rom Com. Just as well I got it right: the short story I submitted for the Oxford Writer’s Group anthology -my modern take on Twelfth Night – is definitely a Rom/Com! Not all the free events in the marquee are listed in the Oxford Literary Festival programme but you can find them on the Blackwell link below.
I’LL BE TALKING Brushstrokes in Time ON SATURDAY 9 APRIL @ 11 am.

Oxfordshire Limited Edition (Feb 2016)>This feature is about some of the artists involved in the Stars Art Movement who inspired me to write my novel
Brushstrokes in Time OLE.

The Chinese Brushpainters Society have written about Brushstrokes in Time!

Tuesday February 2 @ 6.45 at Blackwell’s Broad Street, Oxford. Surely one of the most iconic bookshops in the world?

Blackwell launch (Dai)

To my knowledge my guests represented Oxford at its best: when it is a truly international city ! Represented here by wonderful individuals of every colour, and most religions and backgrounds, the countries of origin of the guests included India, China, Pakistan, Argentina, Singapore, Canada, the USA, Jamaica, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Iran, South Africa, Kenya, Ireland and even the Isle of Wight!

Legs Larry  and Ray

A castaway duo at the launch of Brushstrokes in Time.
LEGS LARRY SMITH thus named by George Harrison is writing his memoir. RAY FOULK Isle of White Festival memoir part 2 comes out later this year. Librarians Dominique and Rebecca will no doubt be lending them out and hopefully Brushstrokes in Time too!

It was in the vast but atmospheric Norrington Room and was compered by DR MARIA JASHOK, the Director of International Gender Studies at LMH Oxford.(Maria lived in China from 1980-1996 and has written the foreword to the novel.)
Maria Jaschok

Blackwell launch (Nic)Blackwell's Launch Solo

Blackwell's launch Felicity and Simonetta

My dear friend SIMONETTA AGNELLO HORNBY– one of the best -selling writers in Italy came from London to the launch. Her books have been translated into 24 languages. Brushstrokes in Time? I wish!

On Talk Oxford talking about Brushstrokes in Time ,the Stars and Oxfordshire Limited Edition:
With Linora on  That's Oxford TV


Thursday February 4: Oxfordshire Limited Edition Special castaway for Chinese New Year, Qu Leilei. I write about the EPIC life of one of the founders of the Stars Art Movement
Qu_Lei_Lei with MS Sculpture

Sunday February 7 : Chinese New Year’s Eve ; Guest on the Will Gompertz Show on BBC Radio Oxford @ 9am. Here is the recording:
Thanks BBC: great timing! Michael Woods and the BBC must have planned the China season to coincide with the launch of Brushstrokes in Time! The Story of China is accessible without dumbing down.
You don’t need to know anything about China to enjoy Brushstrokes in Time either. Walk in Little Winter’s shoes and at the end of her emotional journey you will have learned a great deal about that complex culture and country

Wednesday March 2 Kennington Village Centre FOKL Coffee Talk Free event: coffee from 10.30 am. My talk begins @ I’ll describe the 10 year journey to the publishing of my novel and explain why I wrote it.

Qu_Lei_Lei and I with BIT

THURSDAY MARCH 3 THE LONDON LAUNCH of Brushstrokes in Time at the Polka Theatre Wimbledon at 7.15pm.
Stars artist Qu Leilei without whom I could not have written this book and academics in the Oriental Department of the British Museum will attend.
Free event: booking preferable . Contact me through this website.
THE OXFORD LITERARY FESTIVAL: Blackwell’s Marquee.(By the Divinity Schools)
Saturday April 9 @ 11 am.
Enjoy a cup of coffee while listening to me talk Brushstrokes in Time?
This is a free and fun event.
New Voices Brushstrokes in Time
Tue 26th April 2016
4.00pm – 5.00pm
Stratford ArtsHouse
Showcasing New Writing
This memoir of fictional Chinese artist, Little Winter, is written for her American daughter. It takes the story of Communist China beyond the death of Mao and, for the first time in fiction, shows the birth of the radical art movement, The Stars, in 1979. Her haunting love story connects us to this time of hope for freedom of expression in China, and to a man frustrated by ‘being kept in small shoes’.
4pm: I shall talk about Brushstrokes in Time
Book 24 hours a day online or callBOX OFFICE 01789 207100
5.30pm: Oxford Castaways 2 is a non- profit making book published to raise the profile of Vale House. Gillian Cox the founding chairwoman of Vale House and I will talk about the importance of life stories.
I have been privileged in interviewing amazing people, many famous like Peggy Seeger, Roger Bannister but also many inspirational people who are not well known but have achieved amazing things. The eight years I have been writing this series has impressed on me the importance of storytelling. It makes waves in special places. Oxfordfolio* published Oxford Castaways 2 on behalf of Vale House which cares for people with terminal mental illness like Alzheimer’s . Thanks to its founding chairwoman Gillian Cox, I made the link with storytelling.

Oxford Art Forum : May 11 @6pm @ the Phoenix Picture House. I will introduce Never Sorrythe mostly biographical film about the radical Chinese artist Ai Weiwei whose career began with the Stars. AiWeiwei film ad with press release (2)

WI talks etc

Hook Norton WI : Tuesday 19 January @2pmt
Sunningwell WI : Thursday 11 February @2pm
Harwell Evergreens : Thursday 19 May @ 2.30pm

Talking about Brushstrokes in Time and Oxfordshire Limited Edition on Local TV

With Linora on  That's Oxford TV

Chatting with Eve Ahmed and Linora Lawrence on That’s TV’‘s Talk Oxford. As well as talking about Brushstrokes in Time, we promoted our friend Gina Clay’s lovely and useful book ‘Don’t let them tell you how to Grieve‘ which I give to people who have suffered a bereavement. Linora was fascinating on early Jewish history in Oxford.


Part 2

The launch of ‘I Love You All’

Tim Metcalfe, before his tenure as editor of Oxfordshire Limited Edition came to an end, agreed to send Trevor Cowlett to Oxtopia . My April 2015 Castaway was not famous like castaways  Sir Roger Bannister or  Peggy Seeger  but is the director of a village choir –  the  Kennington and District Choir.  But Trevor Cowlett’s story is an unusual one. Throughout all the difficulties of his life a driving passion has sustained him, music. Now in his eighties and on dialysis, Trevor still teaches 60 students a week. His amateur choir faces their biggest ever challenge  on Sunday April 19 when they will sing Duruflés Requiem in Exeter College Chapel. The choir’s concerts are always un-ticketed but donations are requested. Over its 40 years, the choir has raised £430,000 for good causes, local, national and international.  Click on the pdf to read his story.Trevor Cowlett.

 In recognition of the choir’s contribution, I have written ‘I Love You All’, ( Trevor’s words) the story of the choir told in a chorus of voices. I drew on the experience  gained from writing the castaway series…biography with a twist!  In the case of ‘I Love You All‘  I asked choir members, soloists, pianists and Trevor himself to talk about their lives and how music has come to play an important part in them.   140 people ( A Full House) attended the launch  in Kennington Village Centre  on May 2. Some of the ‘voices’ in the book queued for Trevor to sign their copy. Ali Jones interviewed Trevor and I on Radio Oxford. Here is the link. Forward to 1.10 pm.

I Love You All is available from Blackwell (Oxford), Mostly Book (Abingdon) and from choir members. Any problems contact me on

T . i-love-you-all-cover…..  Trevor , Nia and Yasmin   The author of I love You All!

Mezzopiano are coming to Kennington on March7

Smoke and Mirrors Flier A4 V1

The talented Nia Williams has written the musical Smoke and Mirrors about twins born into poverty in Berlin in 1900, who become separated when fleeing Berlin and the Nazis. One finishes up in California, where she becomes involved in the war effort. The other goes to Paris where her story becomes entwined with the jazz age and the subsequent occupation by the Nazis. Rebecca sings the parts of both sisters, two very different characters, as well as singing in three languages — German, French and English — and being on stage throughout the entire piece, with no interval: a huge challenge. I saw her impressive performance at the Old Fire Station. If you live in Oxfordshire, see for yourself on March 7@ Kennington Village Centre. You can read their story on this castaway Pdf.Mezzopiano

Oxtopian Event

Weimin sketching at the Albion Beatnik  Albion poster Sketch at the Albion Beatnik  me  James and victor at the Beatnik Bookshop

Speaking at the quirky and fun Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Walton Street, Oxford

Wednesday December 10  2014 @ 7.30pm

Among the castaways  present were illustrator of Winnie the Witch, Korky Paul, Victor Glynn the film producer (of among other things some Mike Leigh films) Joanna Harrison of The Snowman and the Snowdog.  Weimin He artist in residence at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter  sketched . I told the story of the creation of Oxtopia & James Harrison of Oxfordfolio interviewed the castaways present. Documentary film maker Dai Richards and wood turner Richard Shock were also there.

Music CD by castaway composer Beatrix Forbes

By |November 27th, 2014|Events|0 Comments

Oxtopia came to Kennington

Gillian James and I KenningtonFOKL Gala Night OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Saturday November 15 Kennington Village Centre

Cabaret style Gala Night  for 100 people in Kennington Village Centre.

A full Kennington Village Centre hummed with controversial discussion as everyone debated the kind of society they would like to create on Sylvia Vetta’s mythical  island of Oxtopia. What aspects of life in Oxford and Oxfordshire would they like to recreate and what do they want to leave behind?

The Oxtopian Gala Night was a fundraiser for the Friends of Kennington Library (FOKL). ( Oxfordshire County Council in non- Oxtopian style  declared Kennington library a community library so FOKL have to fund 4.5 hours  of staffing per week in order to have a professional in charge and provide 7.5 hours volunteer hours to assist  the library manager)

FOKL’s president is Korky Paul the illustrator of the Winnie the Witch books. Korky kicked off the debate with Helen Peacocke, the  food writer of The Oxford Times, Euton Daley who was for 23 years the director of Pegasus Theatre,  Ray Foulk, the award winning green architect and founder of the Isle of Wight Festival (Ray brought Bob Dylan to England).The fourth speaker was  Nancy Hunt of the Nasio Trust. Nancy had hot footed it from the NAT West Venus awards where she had been presented with the award for most inspirational woman in Oxfordshire .

Among the other Oxford Castaways present whom Sylvia has had the privilege of interviewing was documentary film maker Dai Richard,  local film maker and web designer Philip Hind and children’s writer and art director of the film  Snowman and the Snowdog, Joanna Harrison. Joanna also designed the cover of Oxford Castaways 2 which was produced by Oxfordfolio in part to promote Vale House the first home to specialise in the care of people with dementia. Gillian Cox was the founding chairwoman of Vale House and she headed up a table. To see images click on the link…

By |November 19th, 2014|Events|0 Comments

To buy copies of Oxford Castaways 2
Go to
and click on the cover image.