The Alderney Literary Festival 2018

The Alderney Literary Festival of Historical Literature 2018 was a huge success, but sadly it's now over. However, you can take a look at the programme and the speakers that we enjoyed and, as soon as we have details of the 2019 programme, we will post the information here. 

To be kept up to date with speakers and events, please go to our contacts page and sign up for our newsletter.

Alderney Literary Festival Programme for 2018

Friday 23rd March

13.45 - 14.00


Join us for a glass of fizz to mark the opening of our 4th Alderney Literary Festival.

14.00 - 15.00

On Historifying Myths and Mythologising History - Simon Scarrow, Keith Lowe, and Anthony Riches

Once upon a time, historians believed that, in the process of human development, man would abandon a world ruled by myth for one ruled by reasoning. History, in its modern sense, would have a clear timeline and be based on an assessment of available evidence. Yet myths continue to thrive and take on shapes and forms that look historical, while many historical experiences become the stuff of legend.

Simon Scarrow and his panel discuss this phenomena and attempt to explain the reason behind this interplay between myth and history.

Sponsored by 


Murder, Mystery and Gentlemen Behaving Badly - Antonia Hodgson in conversation with Rachel Abbott

Award-winning author Antonia Hodgson discusses her bestselling Thomas Hawkins novels with Rachel Abbott and reveals why the early eighteenth-century is the perfect setting for a historical crime series. This is the age of Gin Lane, debtors' prisons and highwaymen... before the British discovered their stiff upper lip!

Sponsored by Tickled Pink.

17.00 - 18.00

Raiding the Past: historical and autobiographical elements in 'Cody, The Medicine Man and Me' - Alan Wilkinson

When Alan Wilkinson started to write his novel he was motivated by a desire to celebrate his lifelong interest in the American West. And he wanted to posit that, although its history is blurred by myth and falsehood, there is still something heroic, even noble, to be salvaged. The story came in fits and starts, a jigsaw of barely related events, set in a series of scattered locations populated by no more than a couple of barely formed characters. So how did he put together a coherent narrative? Where did his characters come from? His settings? How did the plot evolve?  And why did it take him 23 years to complete the book?

Sponsored by Ray Parkin.

18.30 - 19.30

PTSD in the Ancient World - Fact or Fiction? - Anthony Riches

Anthony Riches discusses the evidence for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Roman sources and attempts to come to a conclusion as to whether it existed or not.

Sponsored by Jane & Paul Durston.

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Saturday 24th March


Three Renaissance Lives: the genius, the scoundrel and the courtesan - Victoria Blake

Join Victoria Blake as she explores the lives and times of three fascinating Venetians - Titian (genius), Pietro Aretino (scoundrel) and Veronica Franco (courtesan) - against the background of Renaissance Venice and the setting for her book, 'The Return of the Courtesan' (formerly titled 'Titian's Boatman').

Sponsored by Sabrina Wishart.


The End of the First World War and the Remaking of the World - Gary Sheffield

To this day, the question of how and why did the First World War came to an end is highly controversial, as is the extent to which the war reshaped the world. In this talk military historian Professor Gary Sheffield assesses the factors on and off the battlefields that allowed the Allies, after four years of bitter fighting, finally to defeat Germany and its allies, and argues that the war largely created the  world in which we live today.

Sponsored by Sue and Robert McDowall.


Festival Book Club (FREE) - 'The Horseman' with Tim Pears

Join Tim Pears for morning coffee at The Georgian House to discuss his beautifully written coming-of-age book, 'The Horseman', set in rural Edwardian Devon in 1911-1912.

You can read more about the book here 

This is a FREE EVENT but booking is required.


Miss Hayman and the Abandoned Princess - Martin Thomas Lord Thomas of Gresford

This intimate account into insights and intrigues at the Court of Caroline of Brunswick comes mainly from the letters, mostly unpublished hitherto, which passed between these three women of different generations: Caroline, feisty, likeable and determined, Charlotte young and headstrong, and Anne Hayman, sound, concerned and sensible.  It is set in the context of the deranged King, George III, and his repressed family, a dissolute Prince Regent and war with France, with the triumphs and defeats of Napoleon Bonaparte and the ultimate victory of Wellington and his allies.

Sponsored by Sue & Les Stewart.




The Woolgrower’s Companion - Joy Rhoades in conversation with Simon Scarrow

Festival Chairman Simon Scarrow chats with Joy Rhoades about her stunning debut novel. Inspired by the era of Joy’s grandmother and set in 1945 on a drought-stricken sheep farm in the rural Australian outback, it captures a panorama evocative of the author’s childhood. Joy's grandmother, a fifth generation grazier in Northern NSW, spent much of her life on her family’s sheep property, including throughout the Second World War, when Italian prisoners of war were assigned there. Her recollections of life on the land, the impact of the War and drought on the district, and the strict social codes in place during her girlhood, conjured a sometimes wonderful, sometimes terrible place. 

Sponsored by Celine Findlay Associates Ltd.


How Winston Churchill facilitated a Communist revolution in Europe: the British involvement in Yugoslavia in WW2 - Tim Pears

Tim Pears discusses his novel set in 1944 war-torn former-Yugoslavia. Churchill plays a double game, supporting both anti-communist Chetnik royalists and communist partisans, against the Germans. This is the little-known story of how Britain's duplicity resulted in the Communist takeover of Yugoslavia after WW2.

Sponsored by Julie & Richard Corkill.


Blood on the Page: adventures in Renaissance Europe - Robyn Young in Conversation with Anthony Riches

Join Robyn Young, bestselling author of the Brethren & Insurrection trilogies, in conversation with Anthony Riches as she talks about the challenges of writing and researching her latest epic series, New World Rising; through the bloody chaos of the Wars of the Roses and the mystery of the Princes in the Tower to the power & pageantry of the Medici court, the Catholic Monarchs' conquest of the Moors in Spain and the voyages of Christopher Columbus.

Sponsored by Sue & Bill Abel.

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Sunday 25th March


The Mythology of World War II - Keith Lowe

The memory of the Second World War looms large in our culture, but it is a very selective memory. In this talk, Keith Lowe will explore the various mythologies that different nations around the world have built up around the war, and how this mythology has been exploited for purely political purposes.  The objective study of the war, he argues, is now under greater threat than ever.

Sponsored by Anne & Michael Doury.


In Others' Words: Letters as Source Material - Gary Sheffield, Martin Thomas, & Alan Wilkinson

Letters have always been a complex information source, allowing us to construct the social relationships and possible evolution of thoughts that is often missing from the historical account. Historian Gary Sheffield, who himself uses personal diaries and letters in his histories, leads this discussion with Alan Wilkinson and Martin Thomas.

Alan Wilkinson had just completed the history of a Hull food manufacturer and retail chain when the Chairman handed him a suitcase. Inside were 700 letters sent to his grandmother by his grandfather during his three-and-a-half years in the Flanders trenches, 1915-18.  Alan's contribution to the discussion will centre on the tone and content of this correspondence, the ways in which he edited it, and how the material was supplemented through researches in Battalion Diaries.

Martin spent 17 years in libraries and archives in Britain and the United States discovering all about the woman whose name “was the name on the original 1804 deeds of my home at Glasfryn” in the village of Gresford in North Wales. He will talk about how he went about about discovering, deciphering, and editing the fascinating collection of letters, examining the voluminous evidence of life in the Court of George III with the experienced eye of a leading QC.

Sponsored by Sally & Dick Haines.




The Channel Islands and the Great War - Liz Walton

The Channel Islands' special relationship with the Crown and their dual French/English heritage led to World War I impacting differently on Islanders compared to the UK. Liz Walton, Guernsey historian from the Channel Islands Great War Study Group, looks at the Channel Island experience of the Great War, including the role of local women, and how, as a result, life changed forever.

Sponsored by Rotary Club of Alderney


The End of History - Simon Scarrow

Simon Scarrow looks at the ways people in the past have believed ‘The End of History’ to be, and reflects on how Post-Modernism and the rejection of objective notions of reason pose a huge threat to the discipline of recording historical and objective truths.

Join us for this fascinating talk by the outgoing Festival Chairman.

Sponsored by Diana & Stephen Mellor.



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