The 21st Graham Greene International Festival will be held in Berkhamsted from Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd September this year.
The theme for this year’s Festival is ‘Reflections on Greene’, emphasizing the reflective nature of Greene’s writing and also the nature of this event as an opportunity for comparing different responses to his oeuvre.
“Our programme of events could be compared to a veritable hall of mirrors,” observes Festival Director Dr Martyn Sampson, “plentiful in perspectives and diverse in points of view, in which Festival-goers can pursue all manner of different leads and ideas. As always, friendship is the foundation of the Festival, and it is our hope, as an organising team, that participants will enjoy all the fun of the fair, especially if they are visiting for the first time.”
The year 2019 is a significant one in the field of Graham Greene studies, marking as it does 60 years since the release of Carol Reed’s film adaptation of Greene’s classic novel Our Man in Havana, 60 years since Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba, and 500 years since the founding of the city of Havana itself. Our Man in Havana enjoys a fitting prominence in the Festival programme, with a screening of the film on the evening of 20 September and a talk entitled Our Woman in Havana: Reporting Castro’s Cuba by BBC foreign correspondent Sarah Rainsford on Saturday 21st September.
Other contributions include talks on The Quiet American, The Third Man, and Brighton Rock, with the BBC’s Mark Lawson interviewing Bryony Lavery and Esther Richardson on the latter in a contribution entitled Wrestling a Wonderful Story from out of a Book and onto the Stage. Meanwhile Sir Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats 2017–19 and former Secretary of State for Business, will be exploring the intrinsically political nature of Greene’s work in a talk on Politics and the Novel.
This year’s celebration also features a Festival first, with the launch of an innovative new writing prize for film reviews, in commemoration of Greene’s intimate involvement with the cinema as a writer and also a reviewer. The inaugural prize will be awarded at the 2020 Festival. There will also be an exhibition of prints by Bodenpress artists inspired by the work of Graham Greene.
Tickets, for individual sessions or the entire Festival, can be purchased in advance from the website of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust (http://grahamgreenebt.org/tickets). People under 21 and holders of a Dacorum Card have free entry to all Festival events apart from the meals. Proof of status will be required on the door.
Jonathan Steffen is a Trustee of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust and also the Trust’s Press & Marketing Officer.