Festival 2023

24th Graham Greene International Festival 2023


The 2023 festival will take place from the 28th September to 1st October 2023. It will be directed by Professor Richard Greene. Here is the programme.

Thursday 28 September

Afternoon Session (£6)

Court House beside St Peter’s Church

2.15 ‘Graham Greene’s Common: A Battlefield Guide’. A two-mile woodland walk which includes uphill and uneven stretches and WW1 trenches led by Richard Shepherd and Judy Mead with readings from A Sort of Life and The Human Factor.

Evening Sessions

The Town Hall

Supper (price to be announced)

5.30 Opening Night Supper: drinks followed by two-course supper; vegan/vegetarian options available.

The Civic Centre

Film (£13)

8.00 The End of the Affair (1999) Introduced by Quentin Falk.

Friday 29 September

Morning Session (£21)

The Town Hall

9.45 ‘Graham Greene: Adapting for the Cinema’. Shirley Day will discuss how Greene’s works were adapted for the screen and how he adapted the works of others.

10.45 Break for refreshments

11.15 ‘Who was the real Kim Philby?’: Scott Newton will consider how the smiling villain of modern British history may be understood as a more nuanced and sympathetic figure than conventional wisdom has allowed.

Break for lunch

Afternoon Session (£21)

2.30 Interview: Jon Wise interviews Nick Dennys who was Graham Greene’s nephew. As a prominent bookseller, Nick Dennys handled the transfer of his uncle’s books and archives to American universities and has rare insights into how his uncle’s mind worked.

3.30 Break for refreshments

4.00 ‘From Greene to ‘Greene’: The Challenges of Biographical Fiction’: Jay Parini, a leading poet, biographer and novelist discusses his forthcoming novel which imagines Graham Greene in his wartime posting as MI6 officer in Sierra Leone.

Evening Session

The Civic Centre

Film (£13)

8.00 The Quiet American (1958). Introduced by Mike Hill.

Saturday 30 September

Morning Session (£21)

Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School

9.45 ‘Shooting Alden Pyle: Graham Greene’s The Quiet American on the Big Screen’. Kevin Ruane will consider the two cinematic treatments of Graham Greene’s 1955 novel.

10.45 Break for refreshments

11.15 ‘The Real Macario: Through the Mexican Archives after Graham Greene’s ‘Whisky Priest”. Matthew Butler will discuss how Father Macario Aguado left behind a rich, clandestine correspondence.

Break for lunch

Afternoon Session (£30, includes the Birthday Toast)

Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School

2.30 ‘Edith and Kim’: Charlotte Philby will discuss her new novel based on her grandfather’s friendship with Edith Tudor-Hart, who introduced him to his controller.

3.30 Break for refreshments.

4.00 ‘My Man in Antibes’: Michael Mewshaw, celebrated author of eleven novels and eleven non-fiction works, knew Graham Greene for many years and will be speaking about his new memoir of the man.

5.15 The Birthday Toast.

Evening Session (price to be announced)

Old Hall, Berkhamsted School

8.00 Festival Dinner: three courses with wine and coffee; vegan and vegetarian options available.

Sunday 1st October

Morning Session (£21)

Old Hall and Careers Centre, Berkhamsted School

9.00 A tour of the school archives, including the Exhibition Room, the ‘green baize door’ and the School Chapel.

10.00 ‘Guarding the Fourth Power: Fictional representations of Journalistic (Mal)Practice in Graham Greene’s Fiction’. Beatriz Valverde  Jiminez will discuss how Graham Greene’s fiction becomes essential in our understanding of contemporary information control and dissemination.

11.00 Break for refreshments

11.30 ‘Literary Giants in a War of Words’: Creina Mansfield and Mike Hill will describe the relationship between the two authors from its happy start to a very public falling out.

Lunch (price to be announced)

Old Hall, Berkhamsted School

1.00 Farewell lunch: two-course cold buffet, wine and coffee; vegan and vegetarian options available.


The Festival booking office will be open in due course for advance bookings. Please note that festival season tickets will be available which carry a reduction over the cost of individual sessions. Friends of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust also enjoy reductions in ticket prices.

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


Festival Director Richard Greene writes:

Eighty years ago, Graham Greene was working at the headquarters of MI6 in London. His superior and drinking companion was the double-agent Kim Philby. At this year’s Festival we will be thinking a good deal about that friendship, as we will have a presentation from Kim’s granddaughter the novelist Charlotte Philby, and a discussion of his career by the historian Scott Newton.

This year’s line-up includes two top American authors, Michael Mewshaw who has written a memoir of Graham Greene, and Jay Parini who has written a novel about him.

The historian Matthew Butler will speak to us about the real ‘whisky priest’ who inspired The Power and the Glory and who left behind a surprising collection of letters.

We will watch the 1958 film of The Quiet American and hear from the historian Kevin Ruane on its making, and from Shirley Day on Graham Greene and film adaptation.

Creina Mansfield and Mike Hill will try to unravel the quarrel between Graham Greene and Anthony Burgess.  Jon Wise will interview Graham Greene’s nephew the bookseller Nick Dennys.

These are just a few of the things happening this year.  As always, there is also the popular Festival Dinner on Saturday evening in the Old Hall of Berkhamsted School. We hope to see you there.

On the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust website 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 via the website. Season Tickets, which offer a discount, are available for those who plan to attend all talks and films.

Sponsored by Greene King Ltd. Supported by Berkhamsted School.

Richard Greene, Festival Director