Festival 2021


When the Festival was first held – back in 1998 – Tony Blair was in his second year as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was a journalist, and Norman Sherry was still six years away from publishing the third and final volume of his Greene biography. We have come a long way since then. Who would have bet in 1998 that the programme for the 22nd Festival would take place in 2021? But here we are. Last year’s Festival had to be cancelled because of the virus emergency, but I’m delighted to have been able to keep most of that programme in place for 2021.

I hope you like the look of this year’s offerings – a mixture of some familiar faces and a number of new ones. I’ve tried in particular to focus on Graham Greene’s own writings, and include elements that are as accessible to those completely new to Greene as to seasoned fans; to reflect the myriad adaptations of Greene that continue to appear; to mark the publication of Richard Greene’s landmark biography; and to involve Greene’s own family – always a really important part of our annual gatherings. Sign yourself up for tickets, encourage newcomers to join us, and let’s renew our friendships in Berkhamsted in September/October. See you then.

Below you will find further details of the talks, interviews, films, tours and speakers, the online ticketing service, and information on any changes that may arise. Tickets will be on sale at the door for all events other than the meals, but it would be preferable if you could book in advance on our Tickets page. Season Tickets, which offer a discount, are available for those who plan to attend all talks and films.

Supported by Berkhamsted School.

Mike Hill, Festival Director

Thursday 30 September–Sunday 3 October 2021


Programme of Events

All events will be held in Berkhamsted

Thursday 30 September

Afternoon session

Court House, beside St Peter’s Church

2:15 – Graham Greene’s Common: A guided walk (under three miles; includes uphill stretches and WWI trenches) led by Richard Shepherd and Judy Mead, with readings from A Sort of Life and The Human Factor. Assemble outside the Court House for introduction. Cars/lifts and stout walking shoes required for the start of the walk at Inns of Court War Memorial, New Road Car Park. If wet, illustrated talk with readings in the Court House.

Evening session

The Town Hall

5.15 Opening Night Supper: 5.15 meet for drinks at pay bar, 6.00 waitress-served two course supper with coffee; vegan/vegetarian option.

Town Hall

7.45 Film: The Stranger’s Hand (British Lion, 1954, 82 minutes), directed by Mario Soldati and starring Trevor Howard and Alida Valli. Introduced by Mike Hill.

Friday 1 October

Morning session

The Town Hall

9:45 – Guns for Sale: Greene’s ‘A Gun for Sale’ in context: a talk by Mike Hill

10:45 – Break for tea and coffee

11:15 – Graham Greene: A Good Read: Birthplace Trustee Dr Creina Mansfield, Baroness Claire Fox of the Academy of Ideas and playwright Nick Warburton discuss the novels The Quiet American, The Confidential Agent and The Heart of the Matter.

Break for lunch

12:45 – Berkhamsted: The Greene Guide: a guided walk of approximately one hour, led and with readings by Richard Shepherd, Judy Mead and Linda Williams. Meet outside the rear entrance to Berkhamsted Railway Station (the platform 4 exit) for introduction. If wet, there will be an illustrated talk with readings in the Town Hall.

Afternoon session

The Town Hall

2:15 – Graham Greene Studies 2: a launch of the new publication by Professor Donna Gessell of the University of North Georgia and Dr Jon Wise.

2:30 – Cuban Rhythms: a musical version of Our Man in Havana: playwright Richard Hough and composer Ben Morales Frost interviewed by Mike Hill.

3:30 – Break for tea and coffee

4:00 – ‘His very personal religion of man’: the reception of Graham Greene’s novels in state socialist Romania: a talk by Dr Andrei Gorzo of the National University of Theatre and Film, Bucharest.

Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School

4:45 – Reading ‘The Power and the Glory: a talk by Dermot Gilvary to Sixth Form English students. (Not open to other Festival attendees.)

Evening session

The Civic Centre

8:00 – Film: The Power and the Glory (CBS, 1961, 90 minutes) directed by Marc Daniels and starring Laurence Olivier and George C. Scott. Introduced by Mike Hill.

Saturday 2 October

Morning session

Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

9:45 – Graham Greene: Life and After the Life: a talk by Professor Richard Greene of the University of Toronto. The David Pearce Memorial Talk.

10:45 – Break for tea and coffee

11:15 – A Splinter of Ice: playwright Ben Brown interviewed by Birthplace Trustee Dr Jon Wise on his play about Graham Greene and Kim Philby.

Break for lunch

Afternoon session

Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

£26, including Birthday Toast

2:30 – The Captain and the Enemy. Greene’s last published novel and the complex problems of a film adaptation: a talk by novelist and screenplay writer William Boyd.

3:30 – Break for tea and coffee

4:00 – Graham Greene on Stage: A German Perspective: a talk and readings by actress, translator and director Maria Jany.

5:15 – The Birthday Toast by Andrew and Jonathan Bourget, Graham Greene’s grandsons.

Evening session

Old Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

8:00 – Festival Dinner: three courses with wine and coffee: vegan/vegetarian option.

Sunday 3 October

Morning session

Sixth Form Centre, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

9:00 – A tour of the School Archives: including a look at the Exhibition Room, the green baize door, Old Hall and the School Chapel. (Meet outside Old Hall)

10:00 – ‘Every Night Something Awful’: Basil Dean and Graham Greene: a talk by Dr Creina Mansfield.

11:00 – Break for tea and coffee

11:30 – ‘Remembering Caroline and Graham’: Mike Hill interviews Graham Greene’s grandsons Andrew and Jonathan Bourget about their mother and grandfather.


Old Hall

1:00 – Farewell Lunch: two course cold buffet, wine and coffee; vegan/vegetarian option.

During the day on Friday and Saturday, there will be a Festival bookstall and Richard Frost’s bookstall, with a large selection of books by and about Graham Greene.

A free Festival brochure will be available during the Festival. It will include a full Festival programme, details of speakers and more.

Festival Director: Mike Hill


Tickets are available to purchase at www.grahamgreenebt.org/tickets

A Season Ticket to all events, including the films but excluding meals, is available for £115.

There is free admission to Festival events (excluding meals) for under 21s.

If you have any queries or problems with tickets, please contact:


or phone 07491 674594


Become a Friend of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust at www.grahamgreenebt.org/membership and receive a quarterly newsletter and a Festival discount of £2 per event (for up to five events).