Festival 2017

facebook-logoCheck out our Festival Facebook and Twitter pages


Download our Festival Street Poster




The online ticketing system for the 2017 Festival is now functioning normally.




LOUISE DOUGHTY is the author of eight novels, one work of non-fiction and five plays for radio. Her latest book, Black Water, out now from Faber & Faber UK, was nominated as one of the New York Times Book Review Notable Books of 2016 and one American review called it: ‘a novel comparable to Graham Greene’s masterpiece The Quiet American in its taut exploration of morality on a geopolitical and personal scale.’ Her previous book was the top ten bestseller Apple Tree Yard, shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger Award and the National Book Award Thriller of the Year and sold in twenty-eight languages worldwide.  A four-part TV adaptation with Emily Watson in the lead role was recently broadcast on Sunday nights on BBC1.

FinalstripyHer sixth novel, Whatever You Love, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also won awards for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her popular newspaper column. She is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers and broadcasts regularly for the BBC and has been the judge for many prizes and awards including the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award.  She lives in London.


TIM HETHERINGTON was born and raised in Middlesbrough. He studied Photography at Bournemouth & Poole College and now teaches the subject at Suffolk New College where is also a Corporation Member. Tim lived and worked in Czechoslovakia for two years in the early 1990s – as English teacher, newspaper photographer and university tutor. He also worked in refugee camps in Croatia during the Balkan conflict – as a volunteer and as a photographer.

PortraitTim’s freelance commissions include Arts Council funding to work for a year with Middlesbrough Football Club, British Council exchange to Havana in Cuba, a commissioned installation from the North Tees Health Authority, and working for a range of football titles including ‘Manchester United’ and ‘England’ magazines. He moved to Suffolk in the late 1990’s to start a family – three boys, one lovely wife and two dogs. Tim started producing illustrative images for a range of book publishers, including Random House and Penguin. He is Senior External Moderator for the University of the Arts London – visiting colleges nationwide to advise on their provision of Creative Media courses


ANDREW LOWNIE has been a journalist and Cambridge History Fellow but most of his career has been spent in publishing where he has run his own literary agency since 1988. His books include a biography of John Buchan and literary guide to Edinburgh and forthcoming joint life of Dickie and Edwina 16AndrewMountbatten. He was part of the six man team that set up the Spy Museum in Washington and has written widely on intelligence matters. His acclaimed  Stalin’s Englishman: The lives of Guy Burgess won the St Ermin’s Hotel Intelligence Book of the Year and has been optioned as both a drama and a BBC documentary.


KEVIN RUANE is Professor of Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. He is currently working on a book entitled Graham Greene’s Vietnam War, an expansion of a talk he gave at the 2012 Greene Festival and an article he published that same year in the journal History – ‘The Hidden kevin-ruane-2History of Graham Greene’s Vietnam War: The Quiet American in Fact and Fiction’. His most recent book is rather removed from Greene – Churchill and the Bomb in War and Peace, which was published by Bloomsbury in September 2016 to much acclaim BBC History Magazine named it as one of their Books of 2016.


PETER JAMES is one of the UK’s most treasured crime and thriller novelists. His Roy Grace detective novels have sold over 18 million copies worldwide in total. The series is now published in 37 territories. Peter’s Roy Grace novels had 11 consecutive Sunday Times No 1s. In the Autumn of 2012, Not Dead Yet toppled the 50 Shades Of Grey trilogy off the No 1 paperback fiction slot, ending its 25 week domination of the chart.

Peter James author photoPeter James, an established film producer, was educated at Charterhouse then at film school. He has produced numerous films, including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino. He has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brighton in recognition of his services to literature and the community. He hold many charitable posts. Peter has also been two-times Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and has won many literary awards, including the publicly voted ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards People’s Bestseller Dagger and he was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. As popular internationally as in the UK, he won the US Barry Award, for Best British Crime Novel in 2012. More recently, in 2015, he was voted by WH Smith readers as The Best Crime Author of All Time while in 2016 he received The Crime Writers Association Diamond Dagger Award, an award to mark sustained excellence and significant contributions to crime writing.

Born and brought up in Brighton, Peter divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill, London and Sussex.


PROFESSOR MICHAEL MEEUWIS was born in 1968 and studied African History and Philology at Ghent University and at the Universities of Amsterdam and Antwerp. He obtained his PhD in 1997, a sociolinguistic-ethnographic study of the Congolese community in Belgium. Since 2002 he has been 12DSC09523Full Professor at the Department of African Languages and Cultures of Ghent University, where he teaches, among other topics, on the subject of the missionary and colonial history of the Belgian Congo and its relation to the production of Western cultural and linguistic knowledge of Central Africa.




PIERRE JOANNON, historian, and one of the foremost specialists in France on the subject of Ireland, is author of many books including Histoire de l’Irlande et des Irlandais (2006 and 2009) and Il était une fois Dublin (2013), and of the only French biographies of Michael Collins and John Hume. Founder of the Ireland Fund of France, he has been Honorary Consul General of Ireland in the South of France since 1973. Awarded Honorary Doctorates by the DSC_0087National University of Ireland and by the University of Ulster, he received one of the first annual Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish Abroad for his commitment to strengthening Franco-Irish relations (2012).

Pierre was a personal friend of Graham Greene from 1971 to 1991.





CREINA MANSFIELD teaches English literature. She has a special interest in the modern novel and occasionally writes fiction herself.


THE REVEREND GILES FRASER is the parish priest at St Mary’s, Newington, in south London. He came to national prominence when he resigned his position at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in response to the ‘Occupy London’ protest there. He is also a journalist and broadcaster – he writes a weekly column thfor the Guardian, appears from time to time on television, and is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 4, including Thought for the Day and The Moral Maze.



MIKE HILL Hill is a former schoolteacher, who currently edits A Sort of Newsletter, the quarterly magazine of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust. With Jon Wise, he has co-written two books on the writings of Graham Greene. This will also be his fifth year as Festival Director.MHill photo






Below is a summary of the programme for the 2017 Graham Greene International Festival. A flyer, giving full details of the event including meals, social events and ticket pricing can be downloaded using this link:




Programme Digest
Thursday 21 September
Court House & Berkhamsted Common
2.15pm :  Graham Greene’s Common– guided walk, with readings, led by Brian Shepherd.
The Town Hall
5.15 for 6.00: Drinks and Film Supper
7.15 for 7.30: Berkhamsted Town Hall: Film- The Fugitive (based on The Power and the Glory). Introduced by Mike Hill.
Friday 22 September
The Town Hall
9.45-10.45am: The Five Lives of the Congo Journal – a talk by Professor Michael Meeuwis on the diary Greene kept when he went to the Belgian Congo.

11.15am-12.15pm: The Priesthood and Graham Greene’s writing. The Reverend Giles Fraser is interviewed by Mike Hill on the nature of the priesthood and how it is represented in Greene’s writings.
2.30-3.30: Our Man in Hanoi: the strange and enduring friendship of Graham Greene and confidential agent Trevor Wilson: a talk by Professor Kevin Ruane

4.00-5.00: Brighton and Beyond: Writing Modern Crime Fiction: a talk by best-selling novelistPeter James
The Civic Centre
7.30-9.45: Film night: Confidential Agent. Introduced by Mike Hill.
Saturday 23 September
Deans’ Hall
9.45-10.45: Guy Burgess, Soviet Spy, and Graham Greene: a talk by Andrew Lownie, literary agent and biographer of Burgess.
11.15-12.15: Judging a book by its cover: Tim Hetherington, designer of the Vintage Greene book covers, is interviewed by Mike Hill about his work.
2.30-3.30:Writing Modern Fiction: best-selling novelist Louise Doughty is interviewed about her work and the craft of writing fiction by Dr Creina Mansfield.
4.00-5.00: Graham Greene and the Honorary Consul: a talk by Pierre Joannon, formerly Irish Honorary Consul in Nice, about the Graham Greene he knew.
5.15: The Birthday Toast: by Pierre Joannon.
Old Hall
7.45 Buffet Supper
Sunday 24 September
9.00am: Outside Old Hall: a tour of the school archives, including a look at the Exhibition Room, the green baize door, Old Hall and the school chapel.
VIth Form Centre,, Castle Street
9.45-11.00:David Pearce on Graham Greene: a tribute to the late David Pearce, captured on radio and film talking about Graham Greene.
11.30-12.45pm: ‘Vivat Bristowa': Graham Greene, Berkhamsted and the unfinished novel: a talk by Mike Hill.
Old Hall
1.00 Farewell Lunch.
In addition…
• Greene exhibitions
• Festival bookstall
• Richard Frost’s bookstall



Confirmed speakers for this year’s festival now also include the Anglican priest, journalist and broadcaster the Reverend Giles Fraser, who will discuss the nature of the priesthood in the context of Graham Greene’s portrayal of priests in his work. In a companion piece to our session with author Louise Doughty, bestselling novelist Peter James will be speaking on writing modern crime fiction; a fan of Brighton Rock, Peter has written, among much else, a series of Roy Grace detective novels, set in Brighton.

Adding to the ‘writerly’ strand of this year’s festival will also be Andrew Lownie, author of an award-winning biography of Guy Burgess, who will discuss Burgess and the Cambridge spy circle, with reference to Greene’s own involvement with intelligence work. There will be a tribute in words and images to the late David Pearce. Our second film is now confirmed as the 1947 Hollywood version of The Power and the Glory – The Fugitive, directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda. And we hope to have a talk by someone who knew Greene in the South of France.
All that and more will be confirmed when the full programme for this year’s festival is released in May, when the box office will also open: full details will appear on this website, and in a ‘flyer’ to be available in and around Berkhamsted and sent out with the May issue of ASON.
September will soon be upon us …
Mike Hill (Festival Director)



Planning for this year’s Graham Greene International Festival, which takes place in Berkhamsted from 21 to 24 September, is now well-advanced. The aim, as ever, will be to do justice to the wide sweep of Greene’s work and life, and the continued high level of interest in him from readers, writers and academics. Novelist Louise Doughty, whose writing has been compared to Greene’s, will be interviewed about her career and about Greene. Tim Hetherington will reflect on his task in designing front covers for the Vintage paperback editions of Greene’s work. We will be updated on the researches of Professors Kevin Ruane and Michael Meeuwis on Greene in, respectively, Vietnam and the Congo. Neil Sinyard will give festival-goers another witty and erudite talk on an aspect of Greene and film, and Confidential Agent (1945) will be one of the Greene films to be shown. There is much more to come, and the GGBT website will give further details in the weeks ahead. The full programme will be announced early in May, when tickets will become available for events. For those coming to the Festival from elsewhere in the UK or the world, book your accommodation in Berkhamsted now.

Mike Hill (Festival Director)



ngu-118th Graham Greene International Festival 2016

 Jonathan Steffen   


Every year, on or near the date of Graham Greene’s birth, a little pocket of Greeneland appears in the writer’s native Berkhamsted. Thedennys-etc tidy and well-heeled town with its elegant high street and eminent school becomes a temporary home to what the Oxford Living Dictionary defines as “The seedy, politically unstable and dangerous world in the novels of Graham Greene.” Alienation and adultery, bullying and betrayal, Communism and Catholicism, double-dealing and despair, espionage and existential angst – one needs no more letters of the alphabet to evoke the unique fictional world created by this astonishingly well-read and well-travelled writer, whose works are as popular now as when they first began to appear in the early decades of the 20th century.

shepard-2In the year that saw Graham Greene’s school celebrate the 475th anniversary of its foundation, the Graham Greene International Festival was staged in Berkhamsted for the 18th time. Under the able direction of Mike Hill – co-author with Jon Wise of The Works of Graham Greene: A Reader’s Bibliography and Guide – the 2016 programme was comprehensive, varied and wide-ranging. The traditional screening of a Graham Greene film (in this case, The Third Man) was complemented by a viewing of two of Greene’s short stories that had been dramatized for television by Thames TV in the 1970s. Scholarly analyses of Greene’s work were supplemented by ‘book club’ discussion groups, in which sixth-formers from Berkhamsted School participated with enthusiasm and an impressive working knowledge of the works under scrutiny. Nickmcdonnell Warburton, who recently adapted Greene’s novels The Honorary Consul and The Power and the Glory for BBC Radio Four, reflected on the challenges of the process of reworking fiction for the air waves, while Lord Roy Hattersley gave a sparkling and provocative talk on Catholic writers in Britain, with special reference to Graham Greene. Greene’s daughter Caroline Bourget and his nephew Nick Dennys shared their personal recollections of the great writer, and Prof. Neil Sinyard concluded the festival with his now traditional analysis of Greene’s work for hattersleythe big screen, peppering it as ever with memorable insights and hilarious anecdotes.

adamsonExperts and enthusiasts, readers and re-readers enjoyed the high quality of the festival programme as much as the discussions it inspired. The only shadow cast over the event (which took place in brilliant autumn sunshine throughout) was the serious illness of David Pearce, former Housemaster of Berkhamsted School, joint founder of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust, former Director of the Graham Greene International Festival, and a fine poet in his own right. At the traditional birthday toast to Graham Greene, glasses were raised to David too, and our thoughts remain with him and his family.

Jonathan Steffen

Jonathan Steffen is a poet, songwriter, essayist, short story writer and literary translator. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary magazines, including Poem for the Day 1, The Book of Love & Loss, The Spectator, the London Magazine, Acumen and Poetry Salzburg. An English graduate of Cambridge University, Jonathan is a member of King’s College and St. John’s College. He lives and works in Cambridge, where he operates an editorial agency. More information: www.jonathansteffen.com.

        ramon rtsinyard-rollinson