Public Speaking

Talks in detail


Around the World in 30 Books

IN a writing career spanning forty years, former Daily Telegraph journalist and war correspondent Wendy Holden has written more than thirty books on everything from the Holocaust to fiction to canine capers. Ten of her books have become international bestsellers. Along the way she has worked with celebrities and animals, survivors of war and those who have suffered injustice or shown great courage.


In this fascinating and entertaining talk, Wendy takes her audience around the world via an illuminating Powerpoint presentation of her thirty favourite books. From her first about the controversial Irish abortion case to her latest on an indefatigable octogenarian known as ‘the Mother Teresa of Africa,’ Wendy speaks of her subjects with great humour and warmth.


Her many clients have included Goldie Hawn, Deana Martin, and Barbara Sinatra. She wrote the book of the film The Full Monty, penned the memoir of the only woman in the French Foreign Legion (soon to be made into a film) and worked alongside Uggie the Jack Russell from the movie The Artist, and Haatchi & Little B, that adorable disabled dog and boy whose story became a Number One bestseller. As the author of Born Survivors, the true story of three young mothers who hid their pregnancies from the Nazis and gave birth in the camps, she has become an international public speaker, addressing everyone from schoolchildren to members of the Senate and at the House of Lords.


One of her most popular talks, Around the World in 30 Books gives a remarkable insight into the life and work of one of our most prolific and sought after writers.


Born Survivors

Wendy’s international bestseller Born Survivors has touched hearts around the world. Published in 22 countries and translated into 16 languages, it tells the remarkable story of three young mothers who defied the Nazis to give birth in concentration and slave labour camps towards the end of the Second World War. All three mothers and their babies survived, although their husbands and most of their families perished. In spite of the stark horrors of war, this is a redemptive story, full of courage and hope, telling of the kindness of strangers and the ferocity of a mother’s love.


Heroines of War

As the bestselling author of several books about remarkable women during wartime, in Heroines of War Wendy Holden tells the true story of the only woman in the French Foreign Legion as told in her book Tomorrow to be Brave, as well as that of a brave female Jewish spy as recounted in her book Behind Enemy Lines. The experience of war changed these women’s lives forever and forced them to behave in extraordinary ways with courage, defiance and hope. A fascinating examination of the resilience of the human spirit, and how we are each capable of doing something out of the ordinary.


Shell Shock: The history of PTSD and its effects on modern day psychology

We are all familiar with counselling and psychotherapy but few may appreciate that it was the aftermath of the First World War that allowed it to develop so rapidly. Faced with thousands of young men returning from the trenches rendered insensible with ‘shell shock’, the government desperately enlisted as many doctors as they could to unravel the conundrum and so the ‘talking therapies’ began. From the writings of war poet Siegfried Sassoon to the diaries of soldiers in the first Gulf War, Wendy examines the effects of battle on the mind and how its treatment shapes modern day thinking.


Five Minutes of Amazing

In Five Minutes of Amazing, Wendy tells the inspirational story of former British soldier Chris Graham who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in his thirties, a disease that killed three members of his family. Instead of giving up, he got married, had a child and cycled solo 16,000 miles around North America to raise money for research. His new wife Victoria refused to give up on him and told him she’d rather have ‘five minutes of amazing’ than a lifetime without him. Chris’s invaluable contribution to research continues by being a human guinea pig. This helps to keep him positive as the symptoms take hold.


An Author’s Perspective on Publishing

As someone who has had more than thirty books published, from compelling war stories to canine escapades, by different publishers all over the world, Wendy has a unique perspective on the industry and how it impacts on an author’s life. Wendy explains how she approaches each new project, from discovering it, through the research and finally to publication and beyond. Through a combination of hilarious and alarming anecdotes, she details how the business has changed from the days before social networking and aggressive marketing to the point that the promotion of a book now takes up almost as much time as writing it. A fascinating insight into the complex mental and commercial processes involved as well as a telling glimpse of the dedication to storytelling on a grand scale.


Sinatra and Martin: Inside the Rat Pack

Through her relationship with Barbara Sinatra, the widow of Frank, and Deana Martin, the daughter of Dean, with whom she wrote the bestselling memoirs Lady Blue Eyes and Memories Are Made of This, Wendy tells the warts-and-all stories of what it was like to live with these two singing legends and leaders of the infamous Rat Pack. Barbara was a showgirl in Las Vegas who was married to Zeppo Marx - until the charismatic Frank Sinatra moved next door. Her on-off romance with ‘Ole Blue Eyes got off to a rocky start but endured for twenty-three years until Frank died in her arms. Deana Martin was virtually abandoned by her father as a baby when he left his alcoholic wife and four children for the new love of his life. Desperate for affection, Deana eventually moved in with him and his new family and spent the rest of her life vying for his attention. In spite of their flawed and mercurial characters, these two men were adored by the women in their lives to the end and are remembered with deep affection.


Golden Moments of Joy and Mindfulness

Goldie Hawn is best known as a comedic actress and Hollywood icon but she also has a serious side. Passionate about children’s welfare and especially how to teach them techniques to handle stress, she has set up MindUp, a programme in schools worldwide to teach the basic techniques of mindfulness. Having co-written Goldie’s New York Times bestselling autobiography A Lotus Grows in the Mud with her, Wendy was enlisted to research and co-write 10 Mindful Minutes, an international bestseller that teaches parents the same techniques of focusing on positive feelings and living healthier happier lives. They also worked on a third book together - about joy – exploring what we can all do to find the happiness we seek. In practicing gratitude, humility, and forgiveness, we can all discover our inner Goldie.


Animal Rescue – How Dogs Save Us

‘Little B’ was a shy young boy, afraid to go out because of his disabilities. That was until Haatchi, a huge three-legged rescue dog came into his life and completely changed his world. Uggie the Jack Russell was saved from a kill shelter in California and trained by his new owner to be an animal actor. At the twilight of his career, when he thought his chance at stardom was over, he was picked for the supporting role in the Oscar-winning movie The Artist and the rest, as they say, is history. Mr Scraps was one of the thousands of dogs orphaned and made homeless by the London Blitz. Roaming the burning streets frightened and confused, he was saved by a kind fireman to become one of the first ever search and rescue dogs. Reading from her books Haatchi & Little B, Uggie: My Story, and Mr Scraps, lifelong dog lover Wendy Holden brings these three plucky animals to life and shows how – when rescued by humans – animals show their love and gratitude in the most remarkable ways.


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