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Lent Lectures

Lent Lectures - ‘Challenges to Modern Life: Opportunities or Threats?’
19:30 in College Hall

Wednesday 4 March – ‘Inequality’
Paul Weller, Cert Ed, MA, MPhil, PhD, Dlitt.  Research Fellow in Religion and Society and Associate Director (UK) Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture, Regent's Park College; and Associate Member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford.  

Wednesday 11 March – ‘Terrorism’
Dr Al McFadyen MBE, Senior lecturer in Systematic Theology, school of philosophy, Religion and History of science, University of Leeds

Wednesday 18 March - ‘God, Technology and AI’
Michael Burdett,  Assistant Professor of Christian Theology.  Dept. of Theology and Religious Studies. University of Nottingham

Wednesday 25 March – 'The Challenge of Building Peace'
The Revd Dr. Liz Carmichael,  Emeritus Research Fellow in Theology and Convener of Oxford Network of Peace Studies

Wednesday 1 April – ‘Climate Change’
Dr Jeremy Kidwell,  Senior Lecturer in Theological Ethics.  Theology & Religion Impact Lead. Director, Undergraduate Programmes. University of Birmingham.

Tickets issued to reserve your space. There will be a charge of £7.00 per session, payable on the evening.

Dave Hamilton: Wild Ruins

Thursday 26 March | 9:45am

Join Dave Hamilton as he brings Britain's extraordinary history and prehistory alive through its most beautiful hidden sites and 'Wild Ruins'.
Discover crag-top castles, ivy-encrusted relics of industry, lost tombs, standing stones and sacred places long since overgrown. Hear how the author pieced together and gained access to over 550 wild or lesser-known places for his two books, with opportunity for questions to David and the chance to buy signed copies of his books. This event is perfect for anyone looking to create their own adventures, as well as those with an interest in photography, walking, history or families looking for new places to explore.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Anna Levin: Incandescent

Thursday 26 March | 11:30am

We need to talk about Light…

Light is changing, dramatically. Our world is getting brighter. You can see it from space. But is brighter always better?

When Anna Levin began suffering adverse reactions to new forms of lighting, she found herself stumbling into a labyrinth of unanswered questions about how and why light is changing – for the worse – in the modern world…

Artificial light is voracious and spreading. Vanquishing precious darkness across the planet, when we are supposed to be using less energy. The quality of light has altered as well. Technology and legislation have crushed warm incandescent lighting in favour of harsher, often glaring alternatives.

Find out why light is fundamental and understand its real impact on nature, our built environment, health and psychological well-being. She asks the critical question: just how bright is our future?

Anna Levin is a journalist and writer with a special interest in people's connection with the natural world. She aims to make this complex scientific subject interesting and accessible to all at this appearance at Lichfield Literature Festival 2020. 

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Nathen Amin: The House of Beaufort

Thursday 26 March | 1:30pm

The Wars of the Roses were a tumultuous period in English history, with family fighting family over the throne of England. But what gave the eventual victor of these brutal and complex wars, Henry Tudor, the right to claim the crown? What made his Beaufort mother the great heiress of medieval England, and how exactly did an illegitimate line come to challenge the English monarchy?

Hear from author and historical researcher Nathen Amin as he explores his full-length biography 'The House of Beaufort: The Bastard Line that Captured the Crown'. Uncover the rise of the Beauforts from bastard stock of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, to esteemed companions of their cousin Henry V. The House of Tudor would eventually rise from a teenage widow named Margaret Beaufort and her young son Henry. Many books have been written about individual members of the dynasty, but never has the whole family been explored as one.  

With the chance to meet Nathen and buy a signed copy, this event is ideal for those with a keen interest in history and also those studying the time period.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Kate Swindlehurst: The Tango Effect - Parkinson's & The Healing Power of Dance

Thursday 26 March | 3:30pm

How do you deal with a diagnosis of Parkinson's? Dancing is probably the last thing on your mind… Parkinson's and the Healing  Power of Dance is the story of an incredible year in the life of a woman with Parkinson’s. It began with a tango lesson and grew into an exploration of the healing potential of the dance. Ideal for those with an interest in dance or those affected by Parkinson's, this is also a book for the ordinary reader. Listen to Kate's inspirational story of learning to accept herself as she is, but also of refusing to be defined by Parkinson’s.                                                                                                                                      

Part of the Lichfield Festival Wellness Hour Series. In conversation with Liz Leyshon, Lichfield Library.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Susannah Stapleton: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective

Thursday 26 March | 6:30pm

Susannah Stapleton is a historical researcher with over twenty years' experience unravelling mysteries for museums, organisations and private individuals. The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective is Susannah's first book. 

Maud West ran her detective agency in London for more than thirty years, having started sleuthing on behalf of society’s finest in 1905. Her exploits grabbed headlines throughout the world but, beneath the public persona, she was forced to hide vital aspects of her own identity in order to thrive in a class-obsessed and male-dominated world. And – as Susannah Stapleton reveals – she was a most unreliable witness to her own life.
Who was Maud? And what was the reality of being a female private detective in the Golden Age of Crime?

Find out as Susannah talks to festival programmer Helen Emery.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Rose and Cloud: Poetry Slam

Thursday 26 March | 8:30pm

As part of our 2020 programming, we are delighted to bring to you a festival first - the inaugural Lichfield Literature Poetry Slam!  Watch in awe, as a selected band of poets battle with wit and wordsmithery for the prestigious honour of Slam Champion 2020.   

With musical interludes by poetry duo Rose&Cloud, and a wealth of poetic talent taking the stage, we invite you to join us for a lively evening of Spoken Word - with a competitive edge!

This is a ‘Pay What You Want’ event - the ticket price is up to you to decide!                                      

Sponsored by BeatBox Studios 

Please book your ticket in advance then 'Pay What You Want' on the night.

Ali Sanders: When the Bough Breaks

Friday 27 March | 10:00am

Ali Sanders was happily married to her university sweetheart, and they had everything they could hope for. The next step for them was to become parents but this wasn't as easy as it seemed. Following fertility issues, and a long journey down the route to adoption, Ali discovered that she was pregnant. 

When the Bough Breaks: The Pursuit of Motherhood tells the heart-wrenching story of Ali's desperate attempts to become a mother, as she'd always dreamt, and describes how she had to learn to love her son. It is the inspirational tale of her recovery from heartbreak, postnatal depression and OCD in order to live a fulfilling family life. 

Tickets £9
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Beth Lynch: Where the Hornbeam Grows

Friday 27 March | 11:45am

What do you do when you find yourself living as a stranger? When Beth Lynch moved to Switzerland, she quickly realised that the sheer will to connect with people would not guarantee a happy relocation.

Out of place and lonely, Beth knows that she needs to get her hands dirty if she is to put down roots. And so she sets about making herself at home in the way she knows best - by tending a garden, growing things. The search for a garden takes her across the country, through meadows and on mountain paths where familiar garden plants run wild, to the rugged hills of the Swiss Jura. In this remote and unfamiliar place of glow worms and dormice and singing toads she learns to garden in a new way, taking her cue from the natural world. 

This is a memoir about carrying a garden inwardly through loss, dislocation and relocation, about finding a sense of wellbeing in a green place of your own, and about the limits of paradise in a peopled world. 

Beth Lynch will be in conversation with Sue Ball, Staffordshire Libraries.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Mark Bostridge: Florence Nightingale: The Woman & Her Legend

Friday 27 March | 1:30pm

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale by hearing Mark Bostridge share his masterful and effortlessly enjoyable biography of this iconic figure.

Whether honoured and admired or criticized and ridiculed, Florence Nightingale has invariably been misrepresented and misunderstood. As the Lady with the Lamp, ministering to the wounded and dying of the Crimean War, she offers an enduring image of sentimental appeal and one that is permanently lodged in our national consciousness. But the awesome scale of her achievements over the course of her 90 years is infinitely more troubling - and inspiring - than this mythical simplification.

From her tireless campaigning and staggering intellectual abilities to her tortured relationship with her sister and her distressing medical condition, this vivid and immensely readable biography draws on a wealth of unpublished material and previously unseen family papers, disentangling the myth from the reality and reinvigorating with new life one of the most iconic figures in modern British history.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Raffi Berg: Red Sea Spies

Friday 27 March | 4:30pm

The true story that inspired the Netflix film The Red Sea Diving Resort

In the early 1980s on a remote part of the Sudanese coast, a new luxury holiday resort opened for business. Catering for divers, it attracted guests from around the world. Little did the holidaymakers know that the staff were undercover spies, working for the Mossad – the Israeli secret service. 

Providing a front for covert night-time activities, the holiday village allowed the agents to carry out an operation unlike any seen before. What began with one cryptic message pleading for help, turned into the secret evacuation of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had been languishing in refugee camps, and the spiriting of them to Israel.  

Written in collaboration with operatives involved in the mission, endorsed as the definitive account and including an afterword from the commander who went on to become the head of the Mossad, this is the complete, never-before-heard, gripping tale of a top-secret and often hazardous operation.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Laura Wood: Crossover Fiction - why YA is not just for teens

Thursday 27 March | 6:00pm

In grey, 1930s England, Bea has grown up kicking against the conventions of the time but she longs for so much more - for adventure, excitement, travel, and maybe even romance. 

When she gets the chance to spend the summer in Italy with her bohemian uncle and his fiancee, a whole world is opened up to Bea - a world that includes Ben, a cocky young artist who just happens to be infuriatingly handsome too. 

A long, hot summer of kisses and mischief unfolds - but storm clouds are gathering across Europe, and home is calling. Every summer has to end - but for Bea, this might be just the beginning.

Lichfield born and bred, Dr Laura Wood is an academic and writer. She is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children's Writing and the author of the ‘Poppy Pym’ series. Her first Young Adult novel ‘A Sky Painted Gold’ was shortlisted for the YA book Prize 2019. Come and hear why the YA genre is not just for teens!

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Noelle Holten & Mel Sherratt: Killer Women

Friday 27 March | 7:00pm

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering cases of domestic violence and abuse. Dead Inside is her debut novel and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Mel Sherratt's thirteen novels are police procedurals, psychological thrillers and fiction with a punch. Having sold over 1.5 million copies she was shortlisted for the prestigious CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in Library Award 2014. Her inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes.

Come along for an evening of gripping crime fiction and grab a novel guaranteed to keep you turning the pages late into the night.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Henry Hitchings - Why Samuel Johnson Still Matters

Saturday 28 March | 10:00

On a return visit to Lichfield Literature Festival, hear author and critic Henry Hitchings tell us why Samuel Johnson still matters in the 21st century. 
His latest book is The World in Thirty-Eight Chapters, or Dr Johnson's Guide to Life. Part portrait of Britain’s greatest man of letters, part collection of contemplative essays and part alternative self-help manual, this is a witty and erudite re-evaluation of Dr Johnson’s enduring importance and relevance.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear an acclaimed speaker talk on the grandfather of Lichfield’s heritage! 

Henry Hitching’s talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Phil Cartwright: Red Mist: Football's most shocking moments

Saturday 28 March | 12:00pm

Red Cards, Dirty Tackles, Headbutts, Pitch Invaders and More with Wayne Trevor Townsend.

There's more than one way to attain football immortality, and sports journalist, Phil Cartwright, turns a witty and revealing eye over the mavericks, pioneers, anti-heros and iconic legends that have defined football history and changed the game forever.

Meet Phil and designer Wayne Trevor Townsend as they discuss everything from Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt to Eric Cantona's king-fu kick and hear about iconic game-changing moments that broke the hearts of nations and spawned instant legacies.

A must for sports fans of all ages. Why not grab a half time pie from our refreshment stand while you are here. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets Adults £10, under 18 £5
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Craig Glenday: The Guinness Book of World Records

Saturday 28 March | 3:00pm

Undoubtedly the most popular children's non-fiction book of all time, The Guinness Book of World Records never fails to fascinate readers worldwide. Join Editor Craig Glenday as he introduces us to some real life record breakers live on stage, including the world’s loudest burper! Find out what record was set on your birthday. Get a sense of how big some of the biggest record holders such as the tallest man, the largest space station and even the largest pizza really are. Why not join us onstage and have a go at becoming a record breaker yourself! 

Tickets Adult £10, under 18 £5
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Amanda Owen: Yorkshire Shepherdess

Saturday 28 March | 19:30

Lichfield Literature is very proud to present Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, sharing heart-warming tales and honest anecdotes from her remarkable farming, family life in North Yorkshire. It's a life that has almost gone in today's modern world, one ruled by animals and the four seasons.

Hear about her journey from urban Huddersfield teenager to shepherdess, best-selling author and TV star. Inspired by James Herriot’s books to leave her town life behind and head to the countryside, after working as a freelance dairy milker and alpaca shearer, she eventually settled down as a shepherdess at Ravenseat, one of the highest and most remote places in England, where she’s raised a flock of 1000 sheep and a family of 9 children with husband Clive. 

Tales of her life at Ravenseat in the Yorkshire Dales are guaranteed to entertain.

Tickets £16
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Mel Wardle Woodend: Fairy Tales Re-imagined - Creative Writing Workshop

Sunday 29 March | 10:30am
For 7-11 Year olds

Creative writing workshop with Staffordshire Poet Laureate Mel Wardle Woodend.

Come along to hear some fairytales - with a twist - including ‘The Four Little Pigs’, ‘Red Riding Hood and the No Nonsense Grandma’, and ‘Snow White With Her Wits About Her’ and enjoy imagining and writing your own versions. Mel’s workshop uses dyslexia friendly prompts and resources, making it accessible for all aspiring young writers.

Mel is an author and poet - with several dyslexia friendly books published. She is a member of the National Association of Writers in Education and regularly facilitates dyslexia friendly creative writing and poetry workshops in schools and libraries around the West Midlands.  


Tickets £5 for 7-11 year olds
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Ashley Hickson-Lovence: The 392

Sunday 29 March | 11:00

Set entirely on a London bus travelling from Hoxton to Highbury and taking place over just 36 minutes, the events of The 392 unfold through a cast of charismatic characters coming from very different worlds -  but tied together through a shared suspicion as the threat of terrorism looms.

Told in the first person, Ashley's debut novel powerfully places the reader in the shoes of each character. The 392 is a journey through gentrified London and the experiences and feelings that gentrification creates along the way, but ultimately, it’s the story of people, places and perceptions. 

Listen to 28-year-old Ashley Hickson-Lovence talk about his life, his work going from secondary school teacher to debut novelist, capturing the incessantly changing cultural landscape of urban Britain.

In conversation with Kate Romano.

Tickets £10
For wheelchair users and carers/essential companions (carers receive 50% discount), please book directly on 01543 306150. 

The Word Poetry Competition - Winners' Showcase

Sunday 29 March | 1:00pm

In the beginning was the Word… creative writers of all ages have put pen to paper and made these words echo in their work. Poetry can help us understand the world around us, shine new light in dark corners, and express ourselves in fresh ways.

Compered by the new Staffordshire Poet Laureate Mel Wardle Woodend, The Word Winner’s Showcase features new poems inspired by the awe and wonder of the anniversary of the Moon landing and that one small step for humanity, to reflect on the origins of the universe and the vastness of space, light and time, and to explore our fragile earth through the themes of creation and cosmology, space travel and astronomical discovery. 

Come and hear the winners of all 3 categories for the 2019 competition.

Please book tickets in advance and 'Pay What You Can' on the day.
For wheelchair users, please book directly on 01543 306150. 

Lucy Diamond: Festival Afternoon Tea

Sunday 29 March | 3:00pm

Indulge in Afternoon Tea in the Ballroom at Swinfen Hall with Sunday Times bestseller Lucy Diamond.

Her fifteenth novel ‘An Almost Perfect Holiday’ is a warm and witty story of friendship, family and hope. The idea for this particular book came to her when she was lying by a swimming pool in France, shamelessly eavesdropping on the family who were holidaying next door. She apologizes if that was you but is very grateful for all the juicy material she overheard. In fact, she couldn’t have written this one without you….

Why not book a table of 8 for your book club or group of friends? 

Tickets £30
The Literature Festival team will contact you to confirm seating arrangements and dietary requirements.

Hidden Heights

Following the need for conservation work on the central spire, we are pleased to introduce an alternative to our popular tower tour.

The new Hidden Heights tour will explore walkways through medieval beams and rooftop parapets which are not normally open to the public, where you can enjoy views over Lichfield and the surrounding countryside.

Tours last approximately one hour.

Please note the terms and conditions.

Tours are subject to cancellation in adverse weather conditions.
The tour is open only to adults and children 8 years old and over.
Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
The visit is unsuitable for anyone who suffers from heart or respiratory disorders or any medical or other condition (including pregnancy) which could be adversely affected by the climb.
Everyone taking part in the visit must have both hands free for the climb of 90 spiral steps to the roof.
All baggage must be left at ground level.
Sensible, sturdy footwear must be worn. No flip-flops, high heels, slippers, etc. For your own safety, you will not be allowed to climb if you are wearing inappropriate footwear.

Dates from April to October
Tickets Adult £8.00, Child (over 8 only)  £5.00

Library Tour

Dates throughout the year 
The Library, situated on the upper floor of our unique two-story Chapter House, is one of the Cathedral’s best-loved treasures. It houses a magnificent collection of early printed books and hand-copied manuscripts.

Climb 35 spiral steps to the historic library, experience this wonderful 13th century space and view some of our best books and manuscripts.

Tickets £18
You must be able to climb 35 spiral steps to take part in this tour.

Lecture by Nicholas Orme ‘Pilgrimage in Medieval England: faith, fun, or folly?’

Wednesday 13 May | 19:30 (doors open 18:45)

In 2020 all cathedrals are celebrating their links with pilgrimage. Nicholas Orme's lecture will look at its history during the Middle Ages, in England generally and at Lichfield with its renowned shrine of St Chad. Pilgrimage was an act of faith, fun, and (some people thought) folly. Faith meant travelling to an image or shrine to venerate Christ or a saint, and often carried the hope of answer to prayer for illness or other troubles. Fun came in because a pilgrimage was also a way of leaving home and having a holiday. Folly was the view of stricter Christians who preferred people to serve God at home in their daily tasks and give charity to the poor. When the Reformation arrived, these views came to triumph, and pilgrimage was forbidden by Henry VIII in 1538.

Nicholas Orme is emeritus professor of history at Exeter University and an emeritus lay canon of Truro Cathedral. He is the author of thirty books including Medieval Children, Medieval Pilgrimage, and The History of England's Cathedrals.

Tickets £10

George Eliot: A Monologue by Lesley Smith

Tuesday 26 May | 19:30 at Lichfield Cathedral

Mary Ann Evans was a woman ahead of her time; highly intelligent and a freethinker, she wrote 8 novels under her pen name, George Eliot, including her most famous, “Middlemarch”. Her private life was considered scandalous, living with a married man for 24 years and being shunned by her family and society as a result.

Lesley Smith is curator at Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire. This portrayal was commissioned by the George Eliot Fellowship to mark her 200th birthday in 2019. Now is the chance to meet George Eliot and find out more about this extraordinary woman who had links with Lichfield.

Tickets are £11 (including a glass of wine).

Not suitable for children under 16.