Festival 2024

Welcome to the 25th Graham Greene International Festival 2024

This is a landmark year for us! The Graham Greene International Festival is being celebrated for the twenty-fifth time – a testament to the depth and infinite variety of the works of Graham Greene and to the enthusiasm of his readers!

 This year’s line-up is very exciting. A special guest is Lo Dagerman, the daughter of Stig Dagerman and Anita Björk, with whom Graham Greene had a love affair in the 1950s; she will speak about her parents’ literary and artistic legacies. Nigel West, the renowned historian of intelligence and security, will speak about Graham Greene’s role in SIS. The novelist and biographer Nicholas Shakespeare, author of an acclaimed new biography of the Bond-creator Ian Fleming, will discuss the relationship between Greene and Fleming. The historian Kevin Ruane has tracked down all sorts of new information about the elusive Dorothy Glover, with whom Greene had a romantic relationship in the 1940s.

We will hear from Andrew Biswell about how Graham Greene and other writers and artists saw the town of Brighton and turned it into a place of the imagination. Julia G. Young, an American historian, will speak about the enthusiasm of Greene and other anglophone writers for Mexico in the time of the Cristero Wars. A leading Canadian author, Randy Boyagoda, will speak of how an early reading of Greene affected his own (often comic) fiction.

Mike Hill will introduce screenings of two films: The Man Within (1947), an intriguing production which Greene hated, and The Fallen Idol (1948), which he loved and which is widely acclaimed as a masterpiece.

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.

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.

This event is supported by Berkhamsted School.

Richard Greene, Festival Director


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Thursday 3 October to Sunday 6 October 2024

Thursday 3 October

Afternoon session (£7)

Court House, beside St Peter’s Church

2.15     Graham Greene’s CommonA Battlefield Guide (two-mile woodland walk; includes uphill and uneven stretches and WWI trenches) led by Richard Shepherd, 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

Supper (TBC)

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.

The Civic Centre

Film (£14)

8.00        Film: The Man Within  or The Smugglers (Arthur Rank, 1947, 109 mins), written by Sydney and Muriel Box,  directed by Bernard Knowles, and starring Michael Redgrave, Richard Attenborough, and Joan Greenwood. Introduced by Mike Hill.

Friday 4 October

Morning session (£23) The Town Hall

9.45        Traveling the Lawless Roads: Anglophone Writers in Mexico, 1926-1946. Julia G. Young (Catholic University of America) will discuss how writers flocked to Mexico, and, describing the church-state conflict, provided a beautiful but distorted view of the country.

10.45     Break for tea and coffee

11.15     The Curious Case of Graham Greene’s Autobiographies – A Personal View. The bibliographer and historian Jon Wise will address the question of how Graham Greene came to write his autobiographies.

Break for lunch

 Afternoon session (£23) The Town Hall

2.30    Greene Intelligence: Graham at SIS. Nigel West, a leading expert on security and intelligence, will draw on archival research and conversations with Graham Greene’s contemporaries at SIS, including his brother-in-law Rodney Dennys, to understand the novelist’s role in the secret world.

3.30          Break for tea and coffee

4.00        Heaven Is Near and Its Aftermath – Swedish Actress Anita Björk and Writer Stig Dagerman. Lo Dagerman, a writer and editor, discusses the literary and artistic legacies of her parents. Her father was a leading Swedish writer and her mother an acclaimed actress, with whom Graham Greene had a relationship in the late 1950s.

Evening session (£14) The Civic Centre

8.00 Film: The Fallen Idol (London Film Productions, 1948, 95 mins.), the first collaboration between Graham Greene and the director Carol Reed, this universally admired film stars Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia Dresdel, and the boy actor Bobby Henrey in a suspenseful tale based on Greene’s short story, ‘The Basement Room’. Introduced by Mike Hill.

Saturday 5 October

Morning session (£25) Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

9.45        Me and My Girl”: Graham Greene’s Relationship with Dorothy Glover, 1938 to 1971. The historian Kevin Ruane  (Canterbury Christ Church University) pursues the facts about the elusive Dorothy Glover, a children’s writer and set designer with whom Graham Greene conducted an affair in the 1940s and to whom he remained quietly devoted until her death.

10.45     Break for tea and coffee

11.15     Our Man in Oshawa: Reading Graham Greene at the Right and Wrong Times in a Writer’s Life. Randy Boyagoda (University of Toronto), a professor and leading Canadian novelist discusses his own creative and often comic work in light of his reading of Graham Greene.

Break for lunch

Afternoon session (£34, including Birthday Toast) Deans’ Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

2.30        Visions of Brighton. Andrew Biswell (Manchester Metropolitan University) will speak on how the Brighton of Graham Greene’s novel and the two films adapting it compares with those of John Piper, Lord Alfred Douglas, and John Betjeman as a place of the imagination.

3.30        Break for tea and coffee

4.00        On the Rocks: The Intelligence, Literary and Personal Relationship of Ian Fleming and Graham Greene. The biographer and novelist Nicholas Shakespeare will tell us what he has learned about two great spy novelists in the course of writing an acclaimed new biography of Ian Fleming.

 5.15        The Birthday Toast.

 Evening session (price to be confirmed) Old Hall, Berkhamsted School (Castle Street)

8.00        Festival Dinner: three courses with wine and coffee: vegan/vegetarian option.


Sunday 6 October

Morning session (£23) Old Hall and Careers 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      The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen Revisited: Junzaburo Nishiwaki’s Postwar Engagement with Graham Greene.  The professor and critic Motonori Sato (Keio University) examines how a renowned Japanese poet turned to Greene’s example to establish himself as a global modernist poet

 11.00        Break for tea and coffee

11.30      Greene, Conrad, and the Dynamics of Hetero-biography. The professor and critic Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan (University of Haifa) will discuss blurring of boundary lines between fiction and autobiography especially with regard to Greene’s Congo diary.

Lunch (cost to be confirmed)

Old Hall, Berkhamsted School

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


Tickets will be available to purchase online at


A Season Ticket to all events, including the films but excluding meals, is available for £135.

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

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

ticketing@grahamgreenebt.org or phone 07491 674594


Become a Friend of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust at www.grahamgreenebt.org 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