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Christmas by Candlelight

Lichfield Cathedral Choir presents an evening of Christmas music with that unique Lichfield flavour. Celebrate the peace and joy of Christmas with our varied programme of much-loved carols.

Saturday 15 December 19:30
Tickets £15
*Special Offer!* 20% off when you buy 5 tickets or more. Please call 01543 306150 to book this option.

Cathedral Illuminated

Sponsored by Keelys LLP
The multi-award winning Cathedral Illuminated is back. Each year the team at Luxmuralis create a bespoke stunning set of illuminations all around the Cathedral including both outside and inside.

In-keeping with the Cathedral’s year long theme of ‘Imagine Peace’, this Christmas Luxmuralis presents ‘Peace on Earth’. 

2017 was a sell out so be sure to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

17 - 22 December (excluding 19 December) 
Tickets Child £4.00 (under 3s free), Adult £6.00, Family £15.00 (2 adults and up to 2 children)

Tristan Rutherford: Travel Writing

Tristan Rutherford is a multiple award winning author whose work appears in The Times, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

Growing up in Lichfield and the Bahamas, Tristan set foot in over 50 countries before the age of 25. A decade in the travel writing industry took him further still, with extended forays to Albania, Syria, Argentina, Western China and Eastern Turkey. Until re-settling in Lichfield very recently, he has split his time between Nice and Istanbul writing guidebooks for National Geographic, Time Out, Frommer's and DK among others. He is a proud member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.

Tristan also lectures in travel journalism at several universities including Central Saint Martins and Kingston University in London, and Galatasaray University in Istanbul.

March 7 10:00
​Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)
 

Jon Butterworth: A Map of the Invisible: Journies with Particle Physics

What is the universe really made of?
How do we know?
Follow the map of the invisible to find out...

Over the last sixty years, scientists around the world have worked together to create the ‘Standard Model' of elementary particles: a theoretical map of the basic building blocks of the universe. With the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, the map as we know it was completed, but also extended into strange new territory.

After shrinking us down to the size of a subatomic particle, pioneering physicist Jon Butterworth takes us on board his research vessel for a journey in search of atoms and quarks, electrons and neutrinos, and the forces that shape the universe. Step by step, discovery by discovery, we journey into the world of the unseen, from the atom to black holes and dark matter, and beyond, to the outer reaches of the cosmos and the frontiers of human knowledge.

Jon Butterworth is recognised as one of the great scientists andscience writers of today.

Thursday 7 March 11:45
Tickets £11 (Carer and Essential Companion £5.50)

 

Jennifer Potter: The Jamestown Brides

In 1621, fifty-six English women crossed the Atlantic in response to the Virginia Company of London's call for maids 'young and uncorrupt' to make wives for the planters of its new colony in Virginia. The English had settled there just fourteen years previously and the company hoped to root its unruly menfolk to the land with ties of family and children.

While the women travelled of their own accord, the company was in effect selling them at a profit for a bride price of 150 lbs of tobacco for each woman sold. The rewards would flow to investors in the near-bankrupt company. But what did the women want from the enterprise? Why did they agree to make the dangerous crossing to a wild and dangerous land, where six out of seven European settlers died within their first few years - from dysentery, typhoid, salt water poisoning and periodic skirmishes with the native population? And what happened to them in the end?

Delving into company records and original sources on both sides of the Atlantic, Jennifer Potter tracks these forgotten women of America’s early history as they travel from their homes in England into a perilous and uncertain future.

Thursday 7 March 13:30
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)
 

Anna Beer: Patriot or Traitor: The Life & Death of Sir Walter Raleigh

29th October 2018 marked four hundred years to the day since one of the most charismatic and controversial figures in English history was executed in Old Palace Yard, Westminster.

Sir Walter Ralegh was an adventurer, a poet and a writer. A man who loved maps, words and silk stockings as much as he could successfully steer a fleet of ships; his social quickwittedness and charm propelled him to become one of the most successful in the Tudor court. It wasn’t long before Ralegh was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth; one of the trusted few permitted to enter The Privy Chamber, the sacred place where she would take refuge from all others. The Queen did not just trust Sir Walter, she depended on him, exploiting his particular set of skills in war and peace, in England and far away shores. So how could a man once considered favourite find himself consigned to the Tower by her successor? Should his legacy be fame or infamy?

In this history that unfolds with all the pace of contemporary drama, historian Anna Beer seeks to uncover the truth about this problematic national hero who in his own lifetime polarised opinion, and whose legacy remains profoundly controversial to this day.

Thursday 7 March 15:00
Tickets £11 (Carer and Essential Companion £5.50)
 

Piers Brendon: Churchill's Bestiary: His Life Through Animals

Winston Churchill was known for his great love for and admiration of animals. In fact, one of Churchill’s key characteristics was his fascination with the animal kingdom – creatures of all sorts were a crucial element in his existence. He was amused, intrigued and enchanted by, sometimes even besotted with a vast menagerie, from his pet budgerigar, dogs, cats, fish, butterflies, to his own lion, leopard and white kangaroos kept at London Zoo, and even more unusual species. Dwelling amid flora and fauna was Churchill’s ideal form of existence – ‘The world would be better off if it were inhabited only by animals’ – and he signed his letters home as a boy ‘The Pussy Cat’.

Dr Piers Brendon looks deeper into Churchill’s love of the animal kingdom, and at how animals played such a large part in his everyday life. We encounter the paradox of the animal-lovinghunter: he hunts foxes yet keeps them as pets, he likes fishing but loves fish; along with the man who used analogies to animals time and time again in his speeches and writings. The picture that emerges shows another side to the great man, showcasing his wit, wisdom and wayward genius from a different perspective and shedding new and fascinating light on the man voted The Greatest
Briton.

Thursday 7 March 17:00
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)

 

Michael Clarke: The Challenge of Defending Britain

A matter of weeks before Brexit officially happens, Michael Clarke looks at the transition of the British defence policy against a backdrop of uncertain change and ever unstable world politics.

Drawing on the most up to date information he examines all the elements that go to make up Britain's defence policy as it goes through the most significant transition since the end of the Cold War in 1991. By analyzing the costs of defence, the equipment issues, the personnel, the technical and intelligence back-up for it, and the strategies to employ military forces, Michael sets out a guide to understanding an area of policy that many people find baffling.

Michael Clarke is Professor of Defence Studies and a vice president of the Royal United Services Institute.

Thursday 7 March 18:30
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)
 

Alex Hibbert: Polar Eskimo

In December of 2013, Alex Hibbert led an international quartet of polar explorers to the extreme north of Arctic Greenland.

After a huge storm destroyed their intended route to the North Pole in the darkness of winter, instead of retreating, they decided to explore the beautiful but unforgiving region of Avanerriaq, the home of the Polar Eskimos. What followed was six months of harsh education, gripping adventure and twenty unruly sled dogs.

Alex Hibbert tells the story of keeping a team of twenty-somethings alive in the unforgiving barren icefields of the polar north and the fears, thrills and kindness that living with the most traditional community of Inuit on Earth can provide.

Friday 8 March 10:00
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion)
 

Sharif Gemie: The Hippie Trail: A History

This is the first history of the Hippie Trail. It records the joys and pains of budget travel to Kathmandu, India, Afghanistan and other 'points east' in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dr Sharif Gemie is a historian of modern Europe. He has mainly researched on minority peoples, including refugees, Muslims in Europe, Bretons and Galicians.

Here, he shares his analysis of the motivations and the experiences of hundreds of thousands of hippies who travelled eastwards and highlights key questions: were the travellers simply motivated by a search for drugs? Did they encounter love or sexual freedom on the road? Were they basically just tourists? Did they resemble pilgrims?

Represented in many different guises for film and literature over the years, this is the real story of this iconic movement of 1960s counterculture.

Friday 8 March 11:45
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)
 

Alba Arikha: Where to Find Me

Alba Arikha was born and raised in Paris, in an artistic household. Her father was the painter Avigdor Arikha, her mother is the poet Anne Atik. Her godfather none other than playwright Samuel Beckett. She studied the piano for many years before turning to writing and now splits her time between her books and performing as a singer-songwriter.

Her memoir, Major/Minor, about her adolescence in Paris, was shortlisted for the Spear’s Award and selected among the best books of 2012 by The New Yorker. Her last book, a narrative poem, Soon, was set to music and performed as an opera at the Riverside Studios, London.

Where To Find Me is an inspiring account of how to face and overcome the effects of loss and tragedy in our daily life. Hannah Karalis, a teenager living with her family in 1980s Notting Hill, becomes fascinated by her neighbour, Flora Dobbs, an enigmatic elderly woman who has clearly had an interesting past – but the improbable friendship that the two strike up is abruptly cut short by Flora’s sudden departure from the neighbourhood. Eighteen years later, Hannah is astonished to receive a black notebook, which sets her on a quest to discover the truth and to confront the ghosts of an unresolved past.

Friday 8 March 15:00
Tickets £10 (Carers and Essential Companions £5)
 

Kapka Kassabova: Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe

Shortlisted for The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2017

When Kapka Kassabova was a child, the border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece was rumoured to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall so it swarmed with soldiers, spies and fugitives. On holidays close to the border on the Black Sea coast, she remembers
playing on the beach, only miles from where an electrified fence bristled, its barbs pointing inwards toward the enemy: the holiday-makers, the potential escapees.

Today, this densely forested landscape is no longer heavily militarised, but it is scarred by its past. In Border, Kapka Kassabova sets out on a journey to meet the people of this triple border - Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, and the latest wave of refugees fleeing conflict further afield. She discovers a region that has been shaped by the successive forces of history,and by the ancient legacy of myths and legends. Exploring this enigmatic region in the company of border guards and treasure hunters, entrepreneurs and botanists, psychic healers and ritual fire-walkers, refugees and smugglers, she traces the physical and psychological borders that criss-cross its villages and mountains, and goes in search of the stories that will unlock its secrets.

Friday 8 March 16:45
Tickets £10 (Carers and Essential Companions £5)
 

Caroline Taggart and Diana Craig in conversation: The Perfect Words

Round off the week and head into the Festival weekend with an evening that delves into the history of our most well known quotations, phrases and rhymes. Authors Caroline Taggart and Diana Craig take us on a light-hearted journey through the quirks of the English language and provide us with the perfect words to draw upon for whatever situation we find ourselves in. In All That Glisters Caroline Taggart presents some of the pithiest, wisest and most fascinating quotations we should all know, detailing where the quotation has come from and why it may be useful when searching for an elegant or informed line to illustrate a point, spice up conversation or impress one’s friends. In Ring A Ring O’Roses, Diana Craig takes the reader on a journey into the weird and wonderful world of nursery rhymes. It delves beneath the surface of the verses to interpret their meaning and reveal their historical origins. ​Friday 8 March 18:15 ​Tickets £10 (Carers and Essential Companion £5)  

Maggie Andrews & Janis Lomas: A History of Women in 100 Objects

The history of the world has been told in objects. But what about the objects that tell the history of women? What are the items that symbolise the journey of women from second-class citizens with no legal rights, no vote and no official status to the powerful people they are today? And what are the objects that still oppress women, even now? From the corset to the contraceptive pill, the bones of the first woman to Rosa Parks's mugshot and the iconic Mary Quant cape, A History of Women in 100 Objects documents the developing role of women in society through the lens of the inanimate objects that touched women's lives, were created by women or that at some time – perhaps even
still – oppressed them.

Historians Maggie Andrews and Janis Lomas round off our celebration of International Women’s Day with their tale of women and womanhood.

Friday 8 March 19:45
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)
 

Katherine Connelly: A Suffragette in America: E. Sylvia Pankhurst

Writer, historian and expert on Sylvia Pankhurst, Katherine Connelly uncovers the story of one of Britain’s most famous radicals visiting the ‘Land of the Free’ through Sylvia’s own memoirs and writings from her visits to North America in 1911-12.

Unlike the standard suffragette tours which focused on courting progressive members of America’s social elite for money, Pankhurst got her hands dirty, meeting striking laundry workers in New York, visiting female prisoners in Philadelphia and Chicago and grappling with horrific racism in Nashville, Tennessee.

Pankhurst was shocked by the dark side of American society. Bringing her own experiences of imprisonment and misogyny from her political work in Britain, she found many parallels between the two countries. These never-before published writings mark an important stage in the development of the suffragette’s thought, which she brought back to Britain to inform the burgeoning working-class suffrage campaign there.

Saturday 9 March 10:00
Tickets £10 (Carers and Essential Companion £5)
 

Peter Bently: Family Storytelling

Get the family together for a story-telling session with children’s author Peter Bently. After spending part of his childhood growing up in Lichfield, Peter is excited to return to meet our young Festivalgoers and their families. There will be opportunities to hear Peter read some of his stories, ask questions about his work and have books signed.

Saturday 9 March 10:30
Tickets Child £5 (1 free adult attends with each child. Additional adults can be booked for £3 each)

Puma: The Lost Novel of Anthony Burgess

Puma - disentangled from the three-part structure of The End of the World News and published here for the first time in its intended format - is Anthony Burgess' lost science fiction novel. Set some way into the future, the story details the crushing of the planet Earth by a heavyweight intruder from a distant galaxy - the dreaded Puma.

Members of The Anthony Burgess Foundation join us to discuss the work behind bringing this lost novel to publication as well as taking a broader view of Burgess’ life and work, and the lasting impact he has on new generations of science fiction fans around the world.

Saturday 9 March 11:45
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)

Dermot Turing: X Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken

Drawing on recently declassified archives, the nephew of Alan Turing tells the real story of how Enigma was broken and celebrates the early work of the Polish codebreakers which lead to the joint efforts of international secret services during WWII.

X, Y & Z is the story of how French, British and Polish secret services came together to unravel the Enigma machine. It tells of how, under the very noses of the Germans, Enigma codebreaking continued in Vichy France and how code-breakers from Poland continued their work, watching the USSR’s first steps of the Cold War.

The people of X, Y and Z were eccentric, colourful and caught up in world of events that they could watch not control. This is their story…

Dermot Turing is the author of Prof, the acclaimed biography of Alan Turing. He is a trustee of Bletchley Park, has extensive knowledge of World War II code-breaking and is a regular presenter at major cryptology events, most recently presenting at the US National Security Agency’s Center for Cryptologic History.

Saturday 9 March 13:30
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)

Barbara Erskine: The Ghost Tree

Barbara Erskine is the author of many bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus three collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty-six languages. Her first novel, Lady of Hay, has sold over three million copies worldwide.

The inspiration for The Ghost Tree lies in Barbara Erskine’s own personal history branching back to the days of Thomas Erskine, her great grandfather, five times removed. Once again, the Sunday Times bestselling author brings the past to life in vivid, spellbinding colour and we are very excited to welcome her to Lichfield Literature.

Sorting through her late father’s possessions Ruth discovers a hidden diary from the eighteenth century. As she sifts through the ancient pages of the past, Ruth opens a door to the past that she can’t close, and meets a ghost in her family tree who wasn’t invited. She will have to draw upon new friends and old in what will become a battle for her very survival.

Saturday 9 March 15:00
Tickets £11 (Carer and Essential Companion £5.50)

Alison Weir: Ghastly Tales From The Tower

Given all the bloody deeds, violent death and intrigues that the Tower of London has witnessed in its 900-year history, there is little wonder that it has the reputation of being one of the most haunted places in Britain. Royal and high-ranking prisoners have been beheaded on Tower Green, there have been hundreds of executions on Tower Hill, and many parts of the fortress have served as prisons, places of misery and suffering for those who fell foul of the law. If any place could lay claim to a host of tortured souls and ghosts, it would be the Tower. Following her sell-out events in 2018, Alison Weir returns to Lichfield to talk about some of the grim events in the Tower’s history, and the ghosts that reputedly haunt it.

Saturday 9 March 16:45
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)

Lainy Malkani: Sugar, Sugar: Bitter-sweet Tales of Indian Migrant Workers

Lainy Malkani’s critically acclaimed two-part series for BBC Radio 4, Sugar, Saris and Green Bananas, inspired her to create this collection of short stories. She is fascinated by the lives of unsung heroes in our society. In 2012 she set up the Social History Hub to bring their stories to life. Lainy is a writer, broadcaster and presenter of the Social History Hub podcast. She has written for the British Library, the Commonwealth and the BBC.

Sugar Sugar: Bitter-sweet Tales of Indian Migrant Workers is a contemporary collection of short stories based on facts which reveals a rich and culturally diverse history behind India’s migrant workers and one of the most abundant and controversial commodities in the world. Inspired by historical documents between 1838 and 1917, and the living memories of the descendants of indentured workers, Sugar Sugar spans five continents, travelling through time uncovering inspiring
tales of courage and resilience.

Sunday 10 March 10:00
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)

Rainbow Rhyme: The Tiger Who Came To Tea

A fun-filled session especially for our youngest Festivalgoers!

Join the Rainbow Rhyme team for songs and musical activities based on the classic story of The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

Rainbow Rhyme hosts local music sessions for under 5s, performing with a selection of wind and string instruments each time

Sunday 10 March 10:00
Tickets Child £4.50 (accompanying adults go free)

Alison Weir: Writing Historical Fiction

Author and Historian Alison Weir offers an insight into the techniques of turning facts into gripping historic novels. The perfect starting point for anyone looking to write their own novel and an opportunity to learn from one of the most prolific and acclaimed authors of the genre.

Sunday 10 March 11:45
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)

Lynne Murphy: The Prodigal Tongue

British and American English may seem similar, but their differences abound. Contentious cultural wars are waged daily, on both sides of the Atlantic. As an American linguist based in Britain, Lynne Murphy brings a wry fish-out-of-water wit and a keen eye to this great divide. Some Americans suffer from a verbal inferiority complex, while on this side of the pond Brits are gripped by a delusional paranoia that their English is under attack. Murphy puts the mythologies of British and American English to the test, sharing surprising revelations about how our language really works.

Lynne Murphy is a professor in linguistics at the University of Sussex. Born and raised in New York state, she studied linguistics at the Universities of Massachusetts and Illinois and worked at universities in Texas and South Africa before moving to England. Married to a Londoner and mother to an eight-year-old who says bahth and zeb-bra, Lynne spends much of her life immersed in British English but visits the US for about a month each year, keeping touch with her changing mother tongue.

Sunday 10 March 13:30
Tickets £10 (Carer and Essential Companion £5)

Emma Pass: Workshop: Creating Fictional Worlds

Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and dog in the North East Midlands.

She is the author of two novels for Young Adults published by Penguin Books – Acid and The Fearless.

In this creative writing workshop, Emma will look at the key points for creating fantasy worlds and characters, The workshop is suitable for young writers (recommended for ages 13+) and those interested in writing for the YA genre.

Under 16s must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Sunday 10 March 14:30
Tickets £8 (Carer and Essential Companion £4)
 

Iona Grey: Festival Book Club: Letters to the Lost

Winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year 2016

1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…He promised to love her forever.

Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an
American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.

Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late? Now forever is finally running out.

Festival Book Club Deal (15 available)
Purchase one of our Festival Book Club packages and receive a ticket to the event, an advanced copy of Letters To The Lost plus a VIP Tea with the Author event (directly after the talk, in The George Hotel) on Sunday 10th March. Tea will include a selection of sandwiches, cakes and a hot drink.

Sunday 10 March 15:00
Tickets £10 standard (Carer and Essential Companion £5), £23 Festival Book Club Deal