The 2022 Edward Thomas Literary Festival took place between 6 and 9 October with a range of events and activities that will be of interest to everyone, both in-person and digitally, and was once again be based at Petersfield Museum.
The programme was as follows and links to recordings are available here.
If you have enjoyed listening to the recordings and would like to make a donation to the Fellowship for this programme or one of our others, you may do so by clicking on the following PayPal ‘Donate’ button.
Thursday 6 October 2022
7.00 pm – Introduction to the 2022 Edward Thomas Literary Festival
An introduction from Jeremy Mitchell, Chair of The Edward Thomas Fellowship, to this year’s Festival and to Edward Thomas’s The Woodland Life. A book of essays, taken from diary notes written from his walking and observing nature on the fringes of late-nineteenth century London and in Wiltshire.
Jeremy will be joined by pre-eminent Edward Thomas scholar and former Emeritus Professor at Queens University, Belfast, Edna Longley for this brief introduction to Thomas’s first book, written and published when he was only nineteen years old.
The book was published in October 1897 making this October the 125th anniversary of its publication – which is ripe for re-discovery at this time of what many consider to be a time of climate catastrophe.
7.30 pm The Other Man
Mark the opening of the 2022 Edward Thomas Literary Festival and enjoy an intimate evening of theatre with this rehearsed reading of ‘The Other Man’ by former Edward Thomas Fellowship Member Gwilym Scourfield.
Before meeting neither Edward Thomas or Robert Frost had published a single piece of poetry. Four years later Frost’s reputation was growing either side of the Atlantic and Thomas had written 142 poems! ‘The Other Man’ explores the conversations and relationship that could have taken place between the two men to inspire such creativity.
This radio play will be performed in our unique Victorian Courthouse setting as if being recorded for the airwaves, including live sound effects!
Gwilym says about his play “I am delighted that there is a group likely to read my radio play “The Other Man” which was given its professional debut at the Thame Literary Festival in 2015.
Sadly I had to retire from the Fellowship a few years ago, though there were many members who were incredibly kind and supportive to me (Especially Richard Emeny). I would never have been able to complete the play without their support. It is a very special group to belong to and I thank you all.
I still believe Edward and Robert Frost both believed in the mystical doppelgänger (“Other Man”) and that curiously they mutually affected each other’s entire lives. I have no doubt that the resulting contribution changed the course of both American and British poetry. But I am no scholar and have to admit to being a mere admirer of Edward Thomas’s wonderful body of work.
I hope the group will have fun with the script and wish them an enjoyable production for your festival.”
Friday 7 October 2022
7.30 pm Out of the Woods of Thoughts – open-mic & music
Enjoy a relaxed evening of live poetry and music at Petersfield Museum’s first ever Open Mic night!
Framed around a beautiful rendition of Steve Marshalls ‘Out of the Wood of Thoughts’ for narration and recorder orchestra, conducted by Chris Burgess, this evening will celebrate creativity in a truly unique way.
Additional readings will be given by poets Kathryn Bevis, Jessica Mookherjee, Yvonne Reddick and Ellora Sutton.
Saturday 8 October 2022
9.00 am Translating Thomas
“Translating Thomas into Spanish… was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far as a poet. I think of him often as I write’’.
Join poet and translator Ben Clark and host Jeremy Mitchell for this fascinating look into the translation of Edward Thomas’s work into Spanish and discussion around Thomas’s popularity in Spain today.
The work of Edward Thomas is enjoyed by readers around the globe in multiple different languages. As always, we kick off this year’s Edward Thomas Literary Festival with a talk that explores the process behind translating his work into another language and his popularity in other parts of the globe.
With readings and discussions this is a fascinating look into language, poetry and the motivations to translate Thomas’s work.
This event was held digitally over Zoom.
10.00 am A Brunch of Poets
Grab a piece of cake and a cup of coffee and enjoy the relaxed company of some of today’s top award-winning poets.
Whether you have a keen interest in poetry or just want to find out what it is all about this informal morning of poetry and chat is for you.
Poets include, Michael Longley, Jess Mookerjee, Daljit Nagra, Kathryn Bevis, Yvonne Reddick and our former Creative Resident, Ellora Sutton.
Your event ticket includes entrance to the Museum on Saturday 8th October 2022 to enjoy our day of poetry fun.
The event will also be available via live streaming.
2.00 pm Edward Thomas – Simple Life
By focusing on a remarkable section in Thomas’s book The Icknield Way (1913), this lecture from Professor Guy Cuthbertson will explore the problems, tragedies and enemies of ‘the simple life’. With Thomas as our guide, we will visit an old barn and a Neolithic barrow, and while we’re there we can think about Thomas’s life, and about possessions, pain, regeneration and ‘the pure joy of free, active life’. At the heart of the lecture there is a local story, the tragic story of the Mundays, one that involves not only East Meon but also the court and police station at Petersfield.
This event will also be available via live streaming.
3.30 pm Two poets; one conversation
Join former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion and award-winning poet, playwright and translator, Sasha Dugdale for an intimate and open conversation. Using their shared love of Edward Thomas as a springboard the two poets will have an open platform to discuss all things Thomas and poetry, where we go from there….. who knows!
This event will be hosted by Jeremy Mitchell with Andrew Motion joining us digitally from Baltimore and Sasha physically from Petersfield Museum’s Victorian Courthouse.
The event will also be streamed so you can enjoy it from anywhere in the world!
6.00 pm Friends from across the pond
‘I never had, I never shall have another such year of friendship’ (Edward Thomas).
Immerse yourself in the intimate friendship of Edward Thomas and Robert Frost in this evening of friendly discourse between members of the Edward Thomas Fellowship and the Robert Frost Society. This evening of discussion will start with looking at Edward’s pros work The Woodland Life and then using this as a rough guideline we shall see where the evening takes us!
With participants including Tom Durham, Edna Longley, Guy Cuthbertson, Robert Hass, Virginia Smith, Donald Sheehy and Jeremy Mitchell, this is an evening of insightful discussion not to be missed.
Sunday 9 October 2022
10.00 am Literary Walk, departing from Bedales School. Details to follow
We would like to thank Arts Council England and players of the National Lottery, without whose support we would not have been able to bring you such a stellar line up of participants.
The Edward Thomas Study Centrewas open on the 6th, 7th and 8th between 10 am and 3.30 pm. Here, not only can you immerse yourself in the wonderful collection of books (the Tim Wilton-Steer collection) we have, but there are also opportunities to buy new and ‘used’ books which we have on display. All proceeds from the sale of books in the Study Centre support the costs of running the Study Centre and caring for the collection.