2020 Alderney Literary Festival Programme
Friday 20th March

14.00 - 15.00

'On Reflection' - Does Literature Shape or Reflect History? - with Anthony Riches, Clare Mulley & Mark Oldfield

Understanding history is important to us: it not only tells us where we've come from,  but also, more importantly, where we are going. But how much of history is what the authors of the time present themselves as? Do we have to view historical literature as a prism of the society in which it is set?  Festival Chairman Anthony Riches, historian Clare Mulley and novelist Mark Oldfield address the 2019 Festival Theme History: On Reflection in this opening panel of the 2019 Festival.

Sponsored by Andrew Muter & Catherine Staite


Everyone knows of Julius Caesar and the emperors, of gladiators and the legions, or of the Olympic Games, the Parthenon and the Battle of Thermopylae. Few are aware, however, of the pivotal clash between Rome and Greece in the late third century BC, a war that lasted just three years. Ben will shine a spotlight on the little-known events of 200-197 BC, and the fascinating characters who lived through them.

Sponsored by Sally & Dick Haines

Please reload

Saturday 21st March

09.30 - 10.30

In 1956, there were simultaneous crises in Suez – where Britain and France invaded Egypt under false pretences of peacekeeping – and Hungary – where the Soviet Union invaded to quell an uprising against communist rule. Tracing the story through the experience of the British prime minister Anthony Eden, Alex von Tunzelmann shows how the two crises pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.

Sponsored by Bill & Sue Abel

11.00 - 12.00

In AD68, the reign of the Julio-Claudians that had spanned almost a hundred years and five emperors staggered to an untidy end with the suicide of Nero. What was to follow over the next 12 months would bring the empire to its knees - but from the ashes of a continent spanning civil war would arise the makings of a refreshed model of imperial governance that would last another century, and make possible a golden age of Roman dominance.

Sponsored by Sue & Robert McDowall

12.30 - 13.30

Abir Mukherjee, the child of immigrants from India, was brought up in the West of Scotland. He started writing “to explore that shared history between Britain and India which… has made such a great impact on the country we live in and the values we share.” In A Rising Man he introduces ex-Scotland Yard detective Captain Sam Wyndham and ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee. Set in Calcutta in 1919, it was inspired by Mukherjee’s desire to learn more about a crucial, but often overlooked period in Anglo-Indian history.

Sponsored by Anne & Michael Doury

13.30 - 14.30


14.30 - 15.30

A question I am often asked is: why didn’t the ‘comfort women’ come forward sooner? The answer is multifaceted and deeply rooted in historical Korean culture, society, economics, politics, and personal trauma. In modern times, we often have no concept of the inequality women endured in patriarchal societies—especially one that valued women’s purity over their survival. Women’s experiences of war are often silenced because to come forward would mean to endure the shame their society casts upon victims of war rape. To admit to being ‘impure’ would devalue a woman’s moral standing within her community and diminish the weight of her testimony about her lived experience. When she is devalued, she becomes less, and her voice can be silenced. Today, the Japanese government still wants the world to believe the ‘comfort women’ chose to be military prostitutes. After nearly twenty-eight years of advocating for justice for their violated human rights against military war rape, no one has been held accountable for the atrocities committed against the ‘comfort women’. They told their stories, yet nothing has changed. 

Sponsored by Charlotte Newton

16.00 - 17.00

“How do you imagine your way into a city when nothing is left of it except some gravestones and a ring of iron railings?  Francis Spufford’s award-winning 2016 novel Golden Hill was set in the Manhattan of 1746, a little frontier town whose streets gave way to farmland at around the point where the Brooklyn Bridge on-ramp comes ashore today.  Now the glass towers of the financial district stand there.  As the author explains, to write the book he had to peel back the skyscrapers and unwind two and a half centuries of frantic change.  Join him on the journey back to a time when Broadway was ’the Broad Way’, the tallest buildings were church spires, and New Yorkers were loudly loyal to King George II.  But a time, too, when the modern world was coming to life for the first time: a mirror, far away, in which we can recognise ourselves.”  

Sponsored by Geraldine & John Whittaker

Please reload

Sunday 22nd March

09.30 - 10.30

History According to the Movies - with Alex von Tunzelmann, Kate Williams & Jason Monaghan

From ancient Egypt to the Tudors to the Nazis, the film industry has often defined how we think of the past. But how much of what you see on the screen is true? And does it really matter if filmmakers just make it all up? Alex von Tunzelmann and her panel takes a comic look at the history of the world as told through the movies - the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly.

Sponsored by Diana & Stephen Mellor

11.00 - 12.00

Heroes, Villains and Despots: writing crime fiction set in a Dictatorship - with Mark Oldfield

The 31st March 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil war. But its shadow continues to haunt Spain today. Mark Oldfield examines the criminal legacy of Franco's rule following the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 and talks about some of the darkest aspects that have found their way into his trilogy.

Sponsored by Linda & Leslie Gray

12.00 - 13.00


13.00 - 14.00

The remarkable true story of the only two women to served the Nazi regime as test pilots, but who ended their lives on opposite sides of history.

Sponsored by Celine Findlay & Associates

14.30 - 15.30

Based on interviews with over a hundred islanders who lived through it, Duncan Barrett  provides true-life recollections from Channel Islanders who were the only British subjects to live under Nazi rule in WWII. 

Sponsored by Sue & Les Stewart



Please reload

States of Alderney
Guernsey Arts Commission

Follow us:

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon

©2019 The Alderney LIterary Trust

Registered charity No.CH452