I’m off to Graham Greene’s birthplace Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire (immortalised in his Kierkegaard-epigraphed first autobiography A Sort of Life) for the Graham Greene Festival 2012 which takes placethis weekend.
I’ve won the screenplay and fiction categories of this year’s creative writing awards, for my short film script ‘Sir Joshua’s Macaw’ and short story ‘For Whom H.R Tolls’ but this festival, which is only a half-hour train ride from London, is well worth the attention of any Greene fans in the Home Counties. The always interesting line up of talks and screenings this year notably includes Jack Gold introducing hissuspenseful 1988 Greene film The Tenth Man, and the book launch by Jon Wise and Mike Hill of their opus The Works of Graham Greene: A Reader’s Bibliography and Guide (London and New York: Continuum, 2012, 416 pages), which is the first thoroughgoing bibliography of his work since 1979. As it not only covers the full dizzying gamut of his work across such diverse fields as fiction, poetry, drama, travel writing, autobiography, essays and journalism, but also includes his published letters, major interviews and film adaptations, as well as surveying unpublished works in his archives and offering an extensive commentary with an imposing index, this looks set to become the definitive reference work for academia.
Thursday 27 September
16.30 – 18.00 A Festival Event for Berkhamsted School’s Sixth Form
Old Hall, Berkhamsted School
Sixth-form event with Neil Sinyard speaking to English A-level students. This event includes the announcement of the titles for the GGBT Creative Writing Awards for 2013.
17.30 – 19.15 Social Gathering and Buffet Supper at The Gatsby
Two courses and a glass of wine; vegetarian alternative.
Please order on the Ticket Application Form and pay by Friday 21st September if you intend to be present.
The restaurant is under The Rex cinema on the High Street.
19.30 – 21.45 Film Night at The Rex Cinema
Film: The Human Factor (1979)
115 mins; UK; Director: Otto Preminger. Starring Richard Attenborough, Nicol Williamson, John Gielgud, and Derek Jacobi. Classification: 15.
Introduced by Richard Combs
Friday 28 September
Talks at the Town Hall, Berkhamsted
9.45 – 11.00 Researching Greene: PhD scholars discuss their work on Graham Greene. Contributors include Creina Mansfield, Martyn Sampson and Sarah Prescott
11.00 – 11.30 Break for tea and coffee
11.30 – 12.45 Professor Kevin Ruane
“The Hidden History of Graham Greene’s Vietnam war.”
12.45 Break for Lunch
14.15 – 15.30 Professor François Gallix
“Greene, Spies and MI6″
15.30 Break for tea and coffee
16.00 – 17.30 Professor Adam Piette
“The Third Man, Underground Intelligence and the Freudian Cold War.”
Evening Session: Civic Centre, Berkhamsted
19.30 – 22.00 Film: The Tenth Man (1988)
(100 minutes, UK; Director Jack Gold, starring Anthony Hopkins, Kristin Scott Thomas and Derek Jacobi)
With an introduction by Jack Gold who will also lead a post-film discussion.
Saturday 29 September
Talks and Events in Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School
9.45 – 11.00 Ian Thomson
“Graham Greene in Tallin”
11.00 Break for tea and coffee
11.30 – 12.45 Dr Christopher Hull
“Sex, Drugs and Communism: Greene’s visits to Cuba”
12.45. Break for Lunch
14.15 – 15.15 Professor Peter Evans
“Belgravia, Vienna, Havana: Carol Reed in Greeneland”
15.15 Break for tea and coffee
15.45 – 16.45 Screening: “Dangerous Edge: A Life of Graham Greene” (2012)
A UK Premier screening.
Introduced by Prof. Thomas O’Connor
This is the first American-produced documentary on Greene and includes interviews with scholars, writers, critics and spies. The film is narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi, and the voice of Greene is provided by Bill Nighy.
Early Evening Session
18.15 – 18.30 Book Launch
Dr Jon Wise and Mike Hill present The Works of Graham Greene
18.30 Birthday Toast
Proposed by the Principal of Berkhamsted School, Mark Steed
18.45 – 19.45 Quentin Falk
“Film adaptations of Greene”: An illustrated talk.
Late Evening Session
After-dinner speaker: Clive Francis
Saturday 29 September Alternative Event
9.45 – 15.45 A Creative Writing Workshop in Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School
A practical one-day course on Prose Fiction and Screenplay led by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone and William Ivory. The morning sessions will be plenary. In the afternoon session delegates will select either Prose Fiction or Screenplay. Delegates will need to bring their own writing paper and pens or pencils. There will be breaks for tea or coffee, but lunch is not included.
Character and plot in prose-fiction: The Basement Room
F Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Character is plot, plot is character.” Is this true for all writers? Characters need to carry the movement of a writer’s ideas, themes, situations and events, so do they drive the plot or does the plot drive them? Or is this simply a matter of what the writer thinks of first? Through an exploration of Greene’s short story, The Basement Room, in conjunction with excerpts from other short stories, we will explore these questions and begin to build some tools necessary for the development of convincing characters.
How Character Drives Plot in Screenplay: The Third Man
What is the rôle of character in creative writing? Is character merely the personification of the writer’s need to tell story? Or, is character, in fact, the embodiment of the story’s theme and the primary driving force in establishing the plot required to tell that story? Holly Martins and Harry Lime are the diametrically opposed sides of Greene’s character. So, how he manoeuvres them, how he makes them behave and the plot he creates in order to reveal who they are, must expose what he believes as a writer and why he wrote The Third Man.
Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone’s first novel was Home (Social Disease, 2008); she teaches Creative Writing at City University (London), and she is a partner of Apis Books, an independent publishing company for shorter fiction. William Ivory wrote Made in Dagenham (UK, 2010), which was nominated for a BAFTA Award; and The Sins, for which he won The Edgar Allan Poe Award in New York presented by The Crime Writers Association of America for Best TV Drama Series. Advance booking is essential to guarantee a place on the Creative Writing Workshop.
Sunday 30 September
Talks in Newcroft, Berkhamsted School
9.00 – 9.45 David Pearce
Founding Trustee and former director of the Festival: who better to show you around?
Prior registration is essential. Meet outside Old Hall for a tour of the School.
10.05 – 11.00 Dr Brigitte Timmermann
“Though never intended for publication, it had to start as a story”. The Third Man – A comparative text analysis
11.00 Break for tea and coffee
11.30 – 12.45 Professor Neil Sinyard
“Temple of Doom: some reflections on Graham Greene, Wee Willie Winkie and the Shirley Temple controversy.”
13.00 – 14.30 Farewell Lunch in Old Hall
Buffet lunch with wine