Festival 2022

23rd Graham Greene International Festival 2022

A hundred years ago this autumn, Graham Greene went up to Oxford University to begin his undergraduate studies. Balliol College has had more than its fair share of famous alumni over the years, including our most recent departure from Number Ten, Boris Johnson. Nobody, whatever their politics, could accuse Classics scholar Boris of being boring.

Those more interested in the colourful life and times of Graham Greene, meanwhile, could never be bored by new research and insights into the writer and his prodigious output. Indeed, the Festival is an annual feast for those with an insatiable appetite for all things Greene. It’s also an ideal opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of Berkhamsted and clink glasses with fellow Greene fans. It’s where the future writer was born, where he went to school, and is therefore the most fitting place to host the Festival every year.

This year’s 2022 Festival covers such fertile ground as theatre, lost stories, espionage, films set in Mexico and Spain, the cyber age and surveillance, and psychopaths. As well as this intellectual sustenance, there is also the popular Festival Dinner on Saturday evening in the Old Hall of Berkhamsted School. We hope to see you there.

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.

We are sponsored by Greene King Ltd. and Berkhamsted Town Council, for which we are very grateful, and supported by Berkhamsted School.

Christopher Hull, Festival Director


The festival will take place 29 September to 2 October 2022.

Tickets for all events are available for purchase online at: www.grahamgreenebt.org/tickets

A Season Ticket to all events, including the films but excluding meals, is available for £122.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Programme of Events

Thursday 29 September

Afternoon session (£6)

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 (£27.50)

The Town Hall

5:30 – Opening Night Supper: 5:30 – meet for drinks at pay bar. 6:30 – waitress-served two-course supper with coffee; vegan/vegetarian option.

Evening film (£13)

The Civic Centre

8:00 – Film: Across the Bridge: (Arthur Rank,1957, 103 mins) British thriller directed by Ken Annakin and starring Rod SteigerDavid Knight and Bernard Lee. Plus introduction.


Friday 30 September

Morning session (£21)

The Town Hall

9:45 – Our Thespians in Havana: Filming ‘Our Man’ in early-Revolutionary Cuba: Festival Director Christopher Hull (Chester Uni) reveals the local sensitivities about how their island would be portrayed in Carol Reed’s production, just four months after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

10:45 – Break for tea and coffee

11:15 – Greene in the stalls: Theatre Director Svetlana Dimcovic reflects on Greene’s plays and their relevance to audiences today, recent revivals, and the power of Greene to make us feel he is in the stalls with us today.

Break for lunch

Afternoon session (£21)

The Town Hall

2:30 – Ian Fleming’s and Graham Greene’s Intertextual Thrillers: Lucas Townsend (Roehampton University) identifies the  remarkable similarities and surprises between their character types, plot directions, and recurrent symbols across their works.

3:30 – Break for tea and coffee

4:00 – Graham Greene, A Teller of Tales and The Mill – His First Story?: Philip Hormbrey uncovered two works in 2021, The Mill and A Dream, which he believes are Greene’s earliest publications. He tells the story that lies behind The Mill, of long forgotten poetry, and of ancestors, of dreams and of treasure.

Evening session (£13)

The Civic Centre

8:00 – Film: Monsignor Quixote: (Euston Films, 1987, 120 mins) Greene and Christopher Neame adapted the novel into a television film starring Alec Guinness and Leo McKern, plus several other notable actors including Ian Richardson and Graham Crowden. Plus introduction.


Saturday 1 October

Morning session (£22.50)

Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

9:45 – ‘What a life a bibliographer’s must be!’ (Graham Greene, 1964) – tracking down Greene’s writings: Jon Wise considers the early attempts from the 1940s to 1979 to construct a bibliography of Greene’s work. Mike Hill looks at his collaboration with Jon Wise to research and produce their definitive bibliography published in three volumes.

10:45 – Break for tea and coffee

11:15 – Imagining Greene for the Cyber Age: Author Ian Williams (ex-foreign correspondent for Channel 4 and NBC) asks how Greene would have handled the cyber age. The era of criminal hackers, social media, cyber warfare and pervasive surveillance would no doubt have provided plenty of material with which to explore the moral ambiguity and shifting loyalties that run through so much of Greene’s writing.

Break for lunch

Afternoon session (£30.50, including Birthday Toast)

Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

2:30 – Pinkie Brown, Psychopaths and A Plot to Kill: Prof David Wilson (leading criminologist, author and presenter of Channel 4 crime documentaries) discusses the murder of teacher Peter Farquhar by his former student Ben Field, through the lens of Brighton Rock, the character of Pinkie Brown and Psychopathy. Literary psychopaths can act as a template to understand and explain the behaviour of Field.

3:30 – Break for tea and coffee

4:00 – The Dangerous Edge of Spanish Holidays: Graham Greene, Leopoldo Durán and MI6: Carlos Villar Flor (La Rioja Uni) raises the intriguing possibility that Greene’s espionage work might have been behind his frequent travels around Spain with his old friend Father Durán.

5:15 – The Birthday Toast.

Evening session (£45)

Old Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

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


Sunday 2 October

Morning session (£21)

Old Hall and Careers Centre, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

Festival Director Christopher Hull

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 – Interview: Greene on Greene: An interview with Professor Richard Greene (Toronto University and author of the landmark biography Russian Roulette: The Life and Times of Graham Greene) about his researching and writing on Graham Greene.

11:00 – Break for tea and coffee

11:30 – Film: The Graham Greene Trilogy – Part One: England Made Me: (Arena, BBC, 60 mins). Plus introduction.

Lunch (£30)

Old Hall, Berkhamsted School

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


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

A Season Ticket to all events, including the films but excluding meals, is available for £122.

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

If you have any queries or problems purchasing your tickets, please contact: ticketing@grahamgreenebt.org 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).

Presented by the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust

(Charity Number 1064839). A member of the Berkhamsted Arts Trust. Patrons: Andrew Bourget, Jonathan A. Bourget, Nicholas Dennys, Louise Dennys, Lucy Saunders