What’s On: Friday 16th August

Dr Jan Graffius

Curator, Stonyhurst College

11.00am, Top Refectory

£6.50 Talk Only, or £12.50 Talk and Tour of the College

Alternative, Subversive and Revolutionary’: four centuries of poetry, drama and literature associated with Stonyhurst College’

Dr Janet Graffius has been Curator of Collections and Historic Libraries at Stonyhurst since 2001. She studied Art History at St Andrews University, and has worked with major public museums and collections since 1983, including the British Council and the National Trust. She has published widely in Britain, Europe and America on various aspects of the College Collections and Libraries from medieval manuscripts and vestments, to Shakespeare and Jesuit Drama in The Times Literary Supplement, through to her more recent conservation work with Oscar Romero’s relics in El Salvador, for which she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of London. Her specific area of research relates to the use and significance of relics and English Catholic material culture in the Early Modern period, which was the subject of her PhD at Aberdeen University, and for which work she was elected as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. She has appeared on a number of television programmes, including the BBC Treasures of Heaven with Andrew Graham-Dixon, and on a Radio 4 series about Shakespeare with Dr Neil MacGregor of the National Gallery, among many other programmes. She has curated a number of exhibitions in Britain, as well as in France, Italy and the US, and lectures nationally and internationally on a variety of cultural, ethnographic, artistic and literary subjects relating to the College’s famous historic Collections and Libraries.

 

Nigel Womack

Poet, Author and Hairdresser

11.30am, Long Room

£6.50

 

Fulfilling Your Ambition

Nigel Womack has been a professional hairdresser for forty-six years. Nigel has owned two, thriving, town centre salons since 1974, but his creativity does not stop at hairdressing. Since the age of fifteen he has enjoyed writing a wide genre of literature. Most recently, Nigel has written and published the children’s fictional tale, ‘The Angry Giant’. This initial publication is to be followed every six months with further tales from the enchanted, magical land of ‘Pawland’.

Nigel Womack’s first publication has received successful reviews and a nomination for ‘The People’s Book Prize’ in Fleet Street, London.

Nigel’s other genres include ‘Tales from the Washbasin’, due to be released in September 2019 and ‘Hannah’ a tragic narrative of a little girl, sending messages through poetry, to her parents from heaven.

Nigel is also a keen pianist and songwriter, who has composed a variety of musical arrangements over the years.

When Nigel is not creating he can also be found on long bike rides, climbing mountains or keeping fit in the gym or swimming pool.

 

Neil White

Crime Author

12.00pm, Bayley Room

£6.50

How Can Crime Fiction Survive in a Changing World?

Neil White is the author of twelve thrillers, all set in the North West of England. His fifth book, ‘Cold Kill’, spent five weeks at number one in the e-book charts in 2011 and was the third biggest selling e-book of that year. As well as a bestselling thriller writer, Neil is also a criminal lawyer, still practising as a solicitor in the North West.

 

Neil will explore how changing social trends affect the thrillers we read.

Ann Widdecombe

Former Politician and Author

1.00pm, Academy Room

£15.00

Strictly Ann

Sailing dangerously close to National Treasure status, one of the most outspoken politicians of our time embarks on her first ever national tour. Entertaining, enlightening and as controversial as you would expect, Margaret Thatcher and Craig Revel Horwood collide as Ann lifts the lid on life in Westminster and shares behind-the-scenes gossip from some of the nation’s best-loved programmes, including Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and Celebrity Big Brother.

Andy Mulligan

Adult Novelist

1.30pm, Bayley Room

£6.50

Train Man – Turning Things Around

Best known for his young adult fiction – and ‘Trash’ in particular – Andy is a prolific author writing radio plays and screenplays as well as prose-fiction. He has won The Guardian Children’s Fiction prize, and been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. His books have been translated into thirty-two languages, and his first adult novel – ‘Train Man’ – was published earlier this month. It tells the seemingly sad, and even morbid story of a man on his way to commit suicide. Convinced that life can only get worse, why not end it all on the tracks at Crewe? – Crewe Station has long platforms, so access to the rails should be easy. However, most train journeys are about unexpected delays. One is obliged to make connections, and the journey turns into one of gradual optimism. Andy will be reading from the book and discussing how it came to be written. “I seem to have run into the so-called ‘up-lit’ genre,’ says Andy. ‘That wasn’t my intention: I just can’t do miserable endings.”

Andy worked as a theatre director initially, before travels in Asia prompted him to retrain as a teacher. He has taught English and drama in India, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines and the UK. He now lives in England, and is writing full time.

Andy travels widely, visiting schools around the world. His new children’s book is at the editing stage, and he is engaged in a wide range of research projects and commissions.

Dr Catherine Robinson

Stonyhurst Teacher and Published Author

2.30pm, Long Room

£6.50

From Fact into Fiction

“Write what you know”, is the advice to budding authors – but how does fact become entertaining fiction – and where is the line between the two? In these days of fake news, can fiction actually bring us closer to the universal truths of humanity ?

Catherine has recently been shortlisted for the national Comedy Women in Print Award.

Dr Martin Richardson

Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Durham and architect of Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion

2.30pm, Top Refectory

£8.00

Harry Potter’s Moral Messages

Triple Durham graduate, Martin Richardson is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Durham.  He is the architect of Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion, the first university module of its kind in Europe. As well as his writings and public lectures, Martin regularly gives interviews on the Potterverse to media outlets around the world.

A seed planted by a chance comment in Austria when he was describing Durham at a meeting sponsored by the EU led to Martin’s Magical Module.  Right from the start his interest in Potter was linked to its connections with the University.  A link made all the stronger when Durham Cathedral was used to film scenes for the first two films. It is also linked to aspects of his childhood: teachers in gowns; the importance of sport; houses; prefects; traditional food; steam trains; and even the weather!

Reading and re-reading; watching and re-watching; discussing and thinking about all things Potter with the Harry Potter generation, the idea of planning and teaching a module on the magical world grew.  Whilst the decision to open with a Sorting Ceremony in the Great Hall of Durham Castle proved inspired, it also brought with it the two-edged sword of global publicity.

Though initially only an idea, and fearful that the module might prove commonplace, over the past ten years it has become increasingly clear that the Potterverse is not only rich in potential, it is also rich in importance.  The moral messages embedded in and inspired by the text are deeply significant for us all.  Though initially dismissed by some as trite and derivative, the impact of the series is unprecedented; and as the module moves into its second decade, the time is right to reflect on this literary phenomenon.

David Hatton

Author

3.00pm, Bayley Room

£6.50

The Return – 9/11 Fiction

David will explore the art of writing about real-life tragic events as a piece of fiction and the challenges of balancing a thrilling storyline, whilst remaining sensitive to the subject at hand. He will read a passage from his own debut book, The Return, which follows the story of a family torn apart by its patriarch who faked his death in the 9/11 tragedy and returns a decade on to claim his life insurance. He will also read an exert from his brand new novel, The Medium, which follows the story of atheist, Michael Walker, who is approached by a psychic who claims to know the whereabouts of his missing wife; can Michael widen his belief system in the quest to find the love of his life?

Samantha Leach

A former Stonyhurst pupil and English teacher

3.45pm, Top Refectory

£8.00

From Hogwarts to Hobbiton: A Musical Journey

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”

(Professor Dumbledore, The Philosopher’s Stone)

Sam Leach is an English Teacher and former Stonyhurst pupil who had the privilege of studying under Dr Martin Richardson at Durham University, where she opted for the famous Harry Potter module and embarked on a dissertation on Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, looking at the music composed for both series.

The excitement surrounding The Lord of the Rings films was immense. By all logic, The Lord of the Rings should never have been filmed, especially not as a nine hour trilogy, which was shot in its entirety over fifteen consecutive months. The author’s complex literary structure required a worthy musical equivalent. Thus it was crucial that Howard Shore managed to match the visual feast of Peter Jackson’s films, by vividly evoking the imagery of Middle-earth, a world where good and evil collide vehemently with sword and fire, and where the courage of even one person, no matter how small, will ‘shape the fortunes of all’. His musical tapestry of histories, cultures, languages and principles is undoubtedly every bit as complex as the world it describes.

All of the composers for the Harry Potter series were tasked with the privilege of writing the music for an unquenchable literary phenomenon. The scores are an intricately woven set of themes of impressive complexity, with each composer bringing a different dimension to Rowling’s oeuvre. Arguably the music is particularly striking for its smooth beauty, which rather spectacularly manages to remain even when illustrating scenes dripping with evil or laden with pain. The music manages brilliantly to suggest the wonder and enchantment of magic, the joys and fears of growing up and the struggle for good to triumph over evil. From the hauntingly beautiful ‘Harry in Winter’ to the tear-inducing and flawlessly understated ‘Dumbledore’s Farewell’, the score is successful in its attempt to convey the full library of emotions.

Jenn Ashworth

British Novelist

4.00pm, Long Room

£6.50

Writing Lancashire: Place as Character in the Novels of Jenn Ashworth

Jenn Ashworth was born in 1982 in Preston. She studied English at Cambridge and since then has gained an MA from Manchester University, trained as a librarian and run a prison library in Lancashire. She now lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was published in 2009 and won a Betty Trask Award. Her second, Cold Light, was published by Sceptre in 2011 and she was chosen by BBC’s The Culture Show as one of the twelve Best New British Novelists. Her most recent novels are The Friday Gospels and Fell. Focusing on her own published novels – all of which have been set in Lancashire – and the inspiration, research and writing process behind them, Jenn will give readings from her work and talk about what it is to write about Lancashire.

Andy Mulligan

Children’s Novelist

4.30pm, Bayley Room

£6.50

Children’s Fiction – Serious Stuff

Best known for his young adult fiction – and ‘Trash’ in particular – Andy is a prolific author writing radio plays and screenplays as well as prose-fiction. He has won The Guardian Children’s Fiction prize, and been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. In this event, Andy will be reading from his most recent children’s novel, DOG, and discussing the imperative to blend comedy and entertainment with something substantial. “I think all my books are serious,” says Andy. “I write about children who face the difficulties and dangers of this frightening world. That can be a ten year-old trash-picker in Rio, or a year-7 English boy who feels friendless and desperate.”

Andy worked as a theatre director initially, before travels in Asia prompted him to retrain as a teacher. He has taught English and drama in India, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines and the UK. He now lives in England, and is writing full time. He travels widely, visiting schools around the world. His new children’s book is at the editing stage, and he is engaged in a wide range of research projects and commissions.

To see all tickets for the weekend, including tickets to the Old Chapel Museum please visit: https://www.seetickets.com/tour/stonyhurst-literature-film-festival