ARTS CENTRE / SATURDAY 1st OCTOBER / 12.15 – 13.15
‘The Last Act of Love’
In the summer of 1990 – two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school – Cathy Rentzenbrink’s brother, Matty, was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out, suffering serious head injuries. He was left in a permanent vegetative state. Over the following years, Cathy and her parents took care of Matty – they built an extension onto the village pub where they lived and worked; they talked to him, fed him, bathed him, loved him. But there came a point at which it seemed the best thing they could do for Matty – and for themselves – was let him go.
Powerful, intimate and intensely moving, The Last Act of Love is a personal journey with universal resonance – a story of unconditional love, of grief, survival and the strength of the ties that bind. It’s a story that will speak to anyone who has lost someone close to them, to anyone who has fiercely loved a sibling, and to anyone who has ever wondered whether prolonging a loved one’s life might be more heartbreaking than saying goodbye.
A former Waterstones bookseller, Cathy is now Project Director of the charity Quick Reads and Associate Editor of The Bookseller magazine. She was also one of the Costa Prize judges this year.
The Unmumsy Mum
OPERA HOUSE / SAT 1st OCTOBER / 20.30 – 22.00
Sarah Turner the author of The Unmumsy Mum (the No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller book of the same-named blog for which she has won Best Writer and Best Baby Blog). Sarah has over 300,000 Facebook fans, 29,000 Instagram followers and over 15,000 Twitter followers. A very funny and readable book for parents who are after a more honest and less rose-tinted view of parenthood. However, it does tackle serious questions about not loving every second of motherhood and how to cope with difficult parenting moments.
Interviewing Sarah will be Naomi Frisby, one of the UK’s most successful literary bloggers.
Event sponsored by Le Gallais Estate Agents.
ARTS CENTRE (MRR) / SUNDAY 2nd OCTOBER / 10.30 – 11.30
‘Rides of Passage’
In 1994, father and son Arthur and Matt Lamy cycled 1000 kilometres coast to coast across France, from the Channel to the Mediterranean. In 2015 they decided to do it again. Rides of Passage is their story; two men, two cycles rides and 21 years of experience in between.
Chris Stone + Veterans
OPERA HOUSE STUDIO / SAT 1st OCTOBER / 18.45 – 20.15
BBC journalist and writer Chris Stone, is talking about his experience of co-writing three books by local WWII veterans. He will then talk to them about their experiences and their books. This will be followed by a Q&A session with the veterans Clive Kemp (Stinker’s Nine Lives, From Dunkirk to D-Day and Beyond), Bill Reynolds (Dangerous Driving, A Life Behind the Wheel) and Ken Trent (Bomb Doors Open, From East End boy to Lancaster Bomber Pilot). All will be available to sign copies of their books at the end of the talk.
ARTS CENTRE/THURS SEPT 29 18.00 – 19.45
Guy Burgess was the most important, complex and fascinating of ‘The Cambridge Spies’ – Maclean, Philby, Blunt – all brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union. An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gaining access to thousands of highly sensitive secret documents which he passed to his Russian handlers.
In this first full biography, Andrew Lownie shows us how even Burgess’s chaotic personal life of drunken philandering did nothing to stop his penetration and betrayal of the British Intelligence Service. Even when he was under suspicion, the fabled charm which had enabled many close personal relationships with influential Establishment figures (including Winston Churchill) prevented his exposure as a spy for many years.
Through interviews with more than a hundred people who knew Burgess personally, many of whom have never spoken about him before, and the discovery of hitherto secret files, Stalin’s Englishman brilliantly unravels the many lives of Guy Burgess in all their intriguing, chilling, colourful, tragi-comic wonder.