Leading writers, artists and media personalities at Charleston Festival

Michael Morpurgo. Picture by Sharon Lucey
Michael Morpurgo. Picture by Sharon Lucey

The Astronomer Royal, the founder of the Web and a visionary female architect, plus some of the world’s leading writers, artists and media personalities, are among the line-up for this year’s Charleston Festival.

It is a hundred years since artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell arrived to make Charleston their Sussex home, and the centenary is celebrated with one of the most eclectic programmes of the festival’s twenty-seven years.

Diana Reich, artistic director of Charleston Festival, said: “During Charleston at 100, we take the opportunity to celebrate some of Charleston’s enduring themes: the fusion of art and life; intellectual and philosophical debate; embracing radical ideas; a love of imaginative literature. Not forgetting a sense of fun and the famous Charleston conviviality.”

Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees discusses the world’s precarious existence; architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman to be awarded the RIBA’s Gold Medal, talks about her work, and there will be a lecture by the man who founded the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, winner of this year’s Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize.

There are 39 events over ten days, with some of the world’s leading writers taking part, including Michael Morpurgo, Rose Tremain, Ian McEwan, Joan Bakewell and Graham Swift.

The 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare is marked by events featuring Jeanette Winterson, Eileen Atkins, James Shapiro and Nicholas Hytner.

Melvyn Bragg, Caroline Moorhead and Thomas Harding discuss their latest books and the impact of the past on the present.

Leading scholars Claire Harman and John Mullan debate the merits of Jane Austin and Charlotte Bronte and Tony Blair’s legacy is dissected by journalist Tom Bower, former Cabinet Minister Roy Hattersley and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

The full festival programme is online at www.charleston.org.uk. Priory booking for Friends of Charleston runs from February 15 to 19.

Tickets go on general sale from Monday, February 22, from the Brighton Dome ticket office (01273 707709).

A shuttle bus service runs throughout the festival from Lewes Railway Station.

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