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Festival Panel Discussions

Journeys as a motif in literature
Friday, 22 March

Opening Panel Discussion on the Festival theme
“Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ‘journey’ is a common motif used in literature to represent a character’s adventures to help them achieve a purpose, their final destination. The journey itself can be the entirety of the plot, a physical journey where the character moves from one place to another, or the journey is invisible in the background alongside the plot. In both cases, what matters is not the literal journey but the symbolic significance of that journey. Led by Festival Chairman, Tony Riches, the panel will explore the use of 'journesy' as a motif in literature and why they resonate so strongly with readers.

The conflict between history and memory
Saturday, 23 March 16.30-17.30

Panel Discussion in memory of historian, Arno Meyer

The American historian Arno J Meyer died in December 2023 at the age of 97. His legacy was to help transform the writing of history and, with it, our understanding of the modern world by looking at the past as the association between social cultures, class conflicts,  connecting ideologies, and other forms of domination. But not all historians subscribed to his way of thinking, accusing him of historical revisionism. The panel will discuss how this conflict between history and memory contributes to today's cultural divides.

Historians: can they be amateurs?
Sunday, 24 March 11.30-12.30

Closing Panel Discussion


This discussion arises out of a letter in the BBC History Magazine titled "No place for amateurs", which read:

"The December 2023 issue devoted four pages to an amateur historian, David Mitchell (Books Interview). This is not what I subscribe to the magazine for. I want research, analysis and commentary from historians and scholars."

On Twitter, this letter provoked a storm. @History with Rosie  posted an image of the letter, commenting “History is not a stuffy topic for the elite – it should be allowed to be enjoyed judgement free by anyone. If you haven’t got the academic qualifications you shouldn’t have to feel like you don’t belong studying, reading or even writing history. If you love history you should feel comfortable pursuing it without judgement.”

This closing panel promises to be a lively one!


Opening panel discussion
Conflict between history and memory
Closing Panel Discussion
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