Bow Books - Royston's new independent bookshop - welcomed author Hafida Latta last week for a talk on life in Tunisia.

Hafida, who lives in Royston, appeared at the bookshop's Folio Lounge to promote her two new books.

She read extracts from her autobiography 'A Daughter of Kairouan' and also promoted 'The Tunisian Cookbook', in which she celebrates healthy cuisine from Carthage to Kairouan.

Hafida was born in Kairouan in north Tunisia in 1944, and was brought up in the house of her grandfather who was a writer, poet and social reformer.

She spent her childhood in the company of a widowed mother, grandmother and invalid aunt, and cultivated two different interests - academic knowledge and a love of family life represented by the different aspects of food.

At an early age Hafida shopped and her grandmother cooked, and the family sat around talking about food and the different tastes, aromas, spices and health benefits of the various ingredients.

Hafida described how in her family recipes were shared, cherished and passed down through the generations.

She went on to marry a British diplomat, and experienced international cuisine, joining women's groups and clubs in Karachi, Pakistan, in Beirut in the Lebanon, in Amman in Jordan and in Alcossebre in Spain.

Hafida continues to study, compare and compile the diets and recipes that she encountered as an expat.


Her lifelong love of food and Mediterranean culinary traditions led to her writing her first cookbook, celebrating healthy eating and all the traditions surrounding it.

Paul Bowes, proprietor of Bow Books, said: "Everyone was engrossed in hearing Hafida’s amazing life story, while equally enjoying the Tunisian food samples that she had prepared for us, which were made even more special when she explained the many healthy benefits."

Hafida's parting words to the attendees were: "Enjoy your food in the company of friends."

Bow Books in Angel Pavement is Royston's first independent bookshop in 30 years.

Before opening the shop, Paul Bowes ran the Book Castle bookshop in Dunstable for several years, and wanted to bring the same service to Royston.

For information and opening times visit