Festival 2018

Graham Greene International Festival 2018: Sneak preview!

Hello from Bristol, where I am busy planning the festival for 2018. This promises to be a wonderful event and a little different in some ways from previous line-ups. We have, for example, a singer/songwriter who has produced some brilliant, thoughtful tracks on Greene – and whose name I shall release in the next May ASON! We also have two amazing films, May We Borrow Your Husband? (1986), starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Attenborough, and Under the Garden (1976) – see below. The programme is nearly full, but I do not wish to give too much away too soon, therefore I shall tantalise your taste-buds with the names of two speakers: Professor Mark Bosco S.J. of Georgetown University will deliver a talk, as will festival favourite, Emeritus Professor François Gallix of Paris IV-Sorbonne; the subjects that they shall address shall also follow in the May ASON, when I shall include the line-up for the festival in full.

Martyn Sampson – Festival Director 2018


The Film Nights, held on the Thursday and Friday nights, are a popular, yearly feature of the Graham Greene International Festival. To understand Greene is to understand the central part that film played in his life, as a critic during his ‘mornings in the dark’, to the many translations of his work, as Quentin Falk notes, ‘more than any other major novelist of the twentieth century’.

Next September’s festival will feature two films which are previewed below by Mike Hill:

This year’s Festival films are both based on Greene short stories written in the early 1960s, but provide fascinating contrasts.

‘Under the Garden’ seems to have originated in a dream, and the story has a pervading and bewitching feel of fantasy – ironically, it was first published in a story collection called A Sense of Reality (1963). The story is so long it really qualifies as a novella, and when Thames Television came to adapt it for the small screen in its Shades of Greene series in 1976, the problem was how to fit the story into 50 minutes. The TV film is a triumph, Greene’s own favourite of the whole series and starring those great British character actors Denholm Elliott and Arthur Lowe. A treat not to be missed.

‘May We Borrow Your Husband?’ was first published in 1962, and although much shorter than ‘Under the Garden’, it’s a substantial short story which formed the title story in Greene’s 1967 anthology featuring ‘comedies of the sexual life’. This story originated not in a dream but in a conversation overheard in Antibes, and has autobiographical overtones in featuring a writer engaged in producing a biography of the Earl of Rochester. The film version of the story dates from 1986, when Yorkshire Television commissioned Dirk Bogarde to write the screenplay and star. The result is a two-hour film which in particular expands Bogarde’s own role and is more explicit than the original story. A real contrast to ‘Under the Garden’.




The 20th Graham Greene International Festival will take place in Berkhamsted, Thursday 20th September to Sunday 23rd September 2018.  Put those dates in your diary NOW. Next year we welcome a new Festival Director, Dr. Martyn Sampson (pictured right).

Martyn has been a festival regular for several years. We take this opportunity to thank our outgoing director Mike Hill for five wonderful festivals. But don’t despair. Mike’s distinctive Yorkshire vowel  sounds will still be much in evidence at future festivals.

Please keep checking this page regularly in the coming months to learn about the upcoming festival. If you will be a newcomer, welcome to a very friendly event, which is truly international in flavour with visitors coming to Berkhamsted, literally from all over the world.

And if you are a regular, please spread the word among friends and family.


If you were able to attend, here are some memories of the 2017 Graham Greene Festival: