The Alderney Literary Festival 2019

A Fabulous weekend in Alderney at the 2019 literary Festival.

An inspiring, informative and intimate event.

Here’s some of the talks we went to ……

Clash of Empires: Rome against Macedon, 200 BC – with Ben Kane

Everyone knows of Julius Caesar and the emperors, of gladiators and the legions, or of the Olympic Games, the Parthenon and the Battle of Thermopylae. Few are aware, however, of the pivotal clash between Rome and Greece in the late third century BC, a war that lasted just three years. Ben will shine a spotlight on the little-known events of 200-197 BC, and the fascinating characters who lived through them.

Blood & Sand: Suez, Hungary, and the Crisis that Shook the World – with Alex von Tunzelmann

In 1956, there were simultaneous crises in Suez – where Britain and France invaded Egypt under false pretences of peacekeeping – and Hungary – where the Soviet Union invaded to quell an uprising against communist rule. Tracing the story through the experience of the British prime minister Anthony Eden, Alex von Tunzelmann shows how the two crises pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.

AD69 – The Year of Four Emperors that redefined Rome – with Anthony Riches

In AD68, the reign of the Julio-Claudians that had spanned almost a hundred years and five emperors staggered to an untidy end with the suicide of Nero. What was to follow over the next 12 months would bring the empire to its knees – but from the ashes of a continent spanning civil war would arise the makings of a refreshed model of imperial governance that would last another century, and make possible a golden age of Roman dominance.

When New York was really new – with Francis Spufford

“How do you imagine your way into a city when nothing is left of it except some gravestones and a ring of iron railings? Francis Spufford’s award-winning 2016 novel Golden Hill was set in the Manhattan of 1746, a little frontier town whose streets gave way to farmland at around the point where the Brooklyn Bridge on-ramp comes ashore today. Now the glass towers of the financial district stand there. As the author explains, to write the book he had to peel back the skyscrapers and unwind two and a half centuries of frantic change. Join him on the journey back to a time when Broadway was ’the Broad Way’, the tallest buildings were church spires, and New Yorkers were loudly loyal to King George II. But a time, too, when the modern world was coming to life for the first time: a mirror, far away, in which we can recognise ourselves.”

Deadly Queens, Blood and Scandal: the Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots – with Kate Williams

Bestselling historian and broadcaster, Kate Williams, tells the story of Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I – of Mary’s eventual betrayal, by forces around her, by herself and by her `cousin’, examining letters and archives to create an electrifying new perspective on Mary and on Elizabeth and, ultimately, on the great sacrifices a woman must make to be a queen.

Heroes, Villains and Despots: writing crime fiction set in a Dictatorship – with Mark Oldfield

The 31st March 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil war. But its shadow continues to haunt Spain today. Mark Oldfield examines the criminal legacy of Franco’s rule following the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 and talks about some of the darkest aspects that have found their way into his trilogy.

Hitler’s British Isles: the real story of the occupied Channel Islands – with Duncan Barrett

Based on interviews with over a hundred islanders who lived through it, Duncan Barrett provides true-life recollections from Channel Islanders who were the only British subjects to live under Nazi rule in WWII.