An author talk with

Jessie Burton & Lucy Scholes as they discuss Penelope Mortimer’s SATURDAY LUNCH WITH THE BROWNINGS

Thursday 30th July 2020 at 7:00pm

This event has now passed

Free live streaming on

Thursday 30th July,
7pm BST 

To live stream on YouTube –

To live stream on Facebook Live –

To all our fellow book-lovers in Saffron Walden and beyond… Unconventional times calls for unconventional ways of providing you with author talks. We’re delighted to be teaming up with our parent bookshop Daunt Books, to bring you a free online live streaming event. 

By clicking on one of the links above at 7pm this Thursday; you can join Jessie Burton, author of ‘The Confession’, and literary critic Lucy Scholes, author of the introduction to the new Daunt Books edition of ‘Saturday Lunch with the Brownings’, as they discuss Penelope Mortimer’s legacy and the impact of her work on narratives about women and motherhood, as well as their own writing.


‘Madge never went down to breakfast. She refused, out of a strong feeling of self-preservation, to acknowledge its existence.’

‘What’s the plan?’, Madge Browning’s husband William asks her on Saturday, the compulsory weekly holiday they and their three children must spend together. If they can just make it through lunch, Madge’s picture of them as the perfect family, an image she has built their lives on, might survive. Unfortunately, Saturday Lunch with the Brownings is anything but peaceful.

From the apocalyptic scenes at the Brownings’, to a much-anticipated dinner party that goes horribly wrong, and a chilling drama that plays out behind the hospital curtains in a maternity ward, these twelve stories unerringly capture the tensions of domestic life with brutal precision and deliciously dark humour.

First published in 1960, Penelope Mortimer’s only collection of stories lays bare the fury and passion that lurk beneath the surface of everyday life. Saturday Lunch with the Brownings is a stylish and unsettling modern classic by one of the finest writers of the twentieth century.

‘None of these stories has dated; they are witty, despairing and sometimes horribly truthful.’ – The Times

‘Mortimer’s style, spare and singular, cuts through the decades like a scalpel . . . She is so good. I can’t think of a writer more attentive to emotional weather.’ – Rachel Cooke, Observer

‘Devastating on domestic atrophy, flawed people, feminine rage that can barely find its words, warring couples, gloom and glamour. Aggressively perfect.’ – Jessie Burton

‘No one knows better how to catalogue in easy narrative the minutiae of domestic life or how to undermine domestic life’s apparent security.’ – Sunday Times

‘Mortimer peels several layers of skin off the subjects of motherhood, marriage, and monogamy.’ – Nick Hornby