LOADING...

Mihir Bose-Silver: The Spy Who Fooled The Nazis£6

If you like twilight worlds inhabited by spies, then former BBC sports editor and Telegraph journalist Mihir will captivate you with his tale of the only quintuple spy of the Second World War. A Hindu from the North-West Frontier province of India, Bhagat Ram Talwar (codename: Silver) spied for the Italians, Germans, Japanese, Soviets and the British – where his secret services handler was Peter Fleming. The Germans awarded him the Iron Cross, but Silver deceived the Nazis on behalf of the Soviets and the British.
Sponsored by Head Partnership Solicitors

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Monday October 02 - 10:30 am
Town Hall

Paula Byrne: The Genius of Jane Austen£8

There is no better person to look back at the life of Jane Austen 200 years after her death than Paula. With a focus on Austen’s love of farce and comic theatre – and, in turn, the fascination her works still hold for film, theatre and TV in the present day – Paula’s account is a fitting tribute to a writer who remains one of the world’s most popular authors. Enjoy listening to a highly respected expert as she takes us through Jane’s life, which ended when she was just 41 years-old and which included a brief spell at school in Reading.

Monday October 02 - 12:30 pm
Town Hall

Peter Snow and Ann Macmillan: War Stories£12.50

BBC and ITV news presenter turned respected historian, Peter has previously appeared at Henley alongside his son Dan. This year, he is joined by his wife – longtime CBC correspondent Ann – to talk about War Stories:their moving account of 34 ordinary men and women, swept up in war, who pushed the boundaries of love, bravery and suffering. Their tales span four centuries, from Edward Seagar who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade and Magdalene de Lancey who tenderly nursed her dying husband at Waterloo to Second World War spy Krystyna Skarbe.
Sponsored by James Cowper Kreston

Monday October 02 - 12:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

A N Wilson: Charles Darwin£12.50

After taking on figures as varied as Jesus, Tolstoy and the Queen, a popular Festival author returns to cast his expert eye on Charles Darwin. He is both sympathetic and critical about Darwin – a naturalist of genius, a patient and precise collector who greatly expanded our knowledge of the world. But was his 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed? Wilson brings us closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and his place in the Victorian age.

Monday October 02 - 02:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Melvyn Bragg: The Most Dangerous Man in England£12.50

William Tyndale was known as the most dangerous man in Tudor England. He was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English, with a legacy still felt today. Melvyn, respected writer, broadcaster and regular Henley guest, tells the dramatic story of his mission to make the Bible, in English rather Latin, available to every man and woman, knowing he could faced a death sentence – and asks what inspired him?
Sponsored by Phyllis Court Club

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Monday October 02 - 04:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Peter Conradi: Who Lost Russia?£8

During Peter’s six years as foreign correspondent in Moscow, he saw at first-hand the collapse of the USSR in 1991. But instead of the hoped-for peace and co-operation a new Cold War threatens to turn hot once again, with the country making headlines on a daily basis. The Sunday Times foreign editor – whose book The King’s Speech inspired the Oscar-winning film – addresses the failures of understanding on both sides over the past 25 years, and how he hopes we can get relations back on track before it’s too late.
Sponsored by HW Fisher

Monday October 02 - 04:30 pm
Town Hall

Sophy Ridge: The Women Who Shaped Politics£10

We have our second female Prime Minister but the road to power for women as politicians has been long and fraught. The presenter of Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday tells the story of those who put their lives on the line for equal rights and those who were the first to set foot inside Westminster. With exclusive interviews with Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Betty Boothroyd, Theresa May and more, she asks: what is it like to be a woman in politics today?
Sponsored by Phyllis Court Club

Monday October 02 - 06:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Patrick Bishop: The History of the RAF£8

The Royal Air Force celebrates its centenary next year and Air Force Blue sees one of our most respected writers on the armed forces explores the lives and wartime experience of thousands of men and women. Patrick, author of Fighter Boys and Bomber Boy , creates a compelling picture of the wartime RAF, whether wheeling over Kent in a Spitfire, rumbling towards the Ruhr in a Halifax or looking down from the cockpit of a Liberator at the grey waters of the North Atlantic.

Monday October 02 - 08:30 pm
Town Hall

Peter Stothard: Four Men and Margaret Thatcher£8

A year after the death of Margaret Thatcher, a young historian arrived to ask Peter – former editor of The Times – some sharp questions about his memories of her tenure at Number Ten. It prompted a literary journey for Peter, back to four prominent men of the day – property developer David Hart, Spectator editor Frank Johnson, ‘The lady’s not for turning’ speechwriter Ronnie Miller and Woodrow Wyatt – named ‘The Senecans’. Let Peter explain his critically admired personal picture of our recent history.

Tuesday October 03 - 10:30 am
Town Hall

Charles Spencer: To Catch a King£12.50

Earl Spencer returns to talk about his latest book – a sequel to Killers of the King which he discussed at a sell-out Henley event in 2014 – which traces the story of Charles II from his father’s execution in 1649 to his becoming King of England in 1660. It is an extraordinary tale of twists and turns where the future king survives against all odds to succeed to the throne. A longtime correspondent for NBC, Earl Spencer has also presented on the History Channel.

Tuesday October 03 - 12:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Rebecca Fraser: The Mayflower on the Thames£10

Cruise down the Thames listening to historian and broadcaster Rebecca recount the epic journey of the Mayflower and how the family of Edward Winslow, an apprentice printer from Worcestershire, set off for a life of religious freedom and opportunity. It was a new life – but not without its struggles and dangers before, eventually, survival.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Tuesday October 03 - 02:30 pm
The Hibernia

Richard Ingrams£12.50

The Private Eye founder and former Oldie editor returns to Henley to discuss his long career and his acclaimed Ludo and the Power of the Book. Richard first met Ludovic Kennedy in 1963 and they soon became friends, with a shared delight in exposing the fallible nature of the British justice system. The journalist and broadcaster had a lifelong obsession with miscarriages of justice, re-examined the murder convictions of Timothy Evans and Derek Bentley among others, and was hugely influential in the abolition of the death penalty.

Tuesday October 03 - 02:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Simon Thurley: Houses of Power£10

What was it like to live as a royal Tudor? Why were their residences built as they were and what went on inside their walls? Who slept where – and with who? Who chose the furnishings? And what were their passions? Who better to answer these questions than former Historic Royal Palaces curator, English Heritage chief executive and architectural historian Simon as he looks at the great homes of Tudor England with Houses of Power.

Tuesday October 03 - 04:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Richard Dannatt£12.50

The 70 years between the German surrender in 1945 and British troops leaving their garrison on Lüneberg Heath in 2015 was a period of remarkable change in the army. Lord Dannatt, who headed the British Army as Chief of the General Staff and went on to advise David Cameron on defence, charts the changes from 1945 when Britain was a leading military nation with some two million troops to now, with fewer than 82,000.
Sponsored by Simmons & Sons

Tuesday October 03 - 06:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Tom Fort: The Village News£8

Before towns and cities and suburbs spring up, there were villages – and for 6,000 years, they have been at the very heart of English life. Modernity may creep up to the boundaries of many, while others can be as quiet as the graveyard as their housing is bought up by city ‘weekenders’. Included is the bustling village of Sonning Common, where Tom lives himself. He has cycled the length and breadth of England to discover the essence of village life. His tales are by turn funny, poignant and informative.

Tuesday October 03 - 08:30 pm
Town Hall

Chris Skidmore: Richard III£10

Richard III only reigned for two tumultuous years before treachery led to his death at the Battle of Bosworth. Chris – an acclaimed historian as well as Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office and Conservative MP for Kingswood – goes behind the legend to discover every facet of the personality of one of the most significant figures in medieval history. The brutality and power struggles of a bloody age are brought to life.

Wednesday October 04 - 12:30 pm
Phyllis Court

Anita Anand: The World’s Most Infamous Diamond£10

The stories surrounding the celebrated Kohinoor diamond are the stuff of legend. BBC radio and TV presenter Anita reveals the true story of the diamond – also known as The Mountain of Light – as it moved from the Mughal court to Persia to Afghanistan, to Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s durbar in Punjab. Handed over in 1849 to Queen Victoria, the ‘official’ history of the diamond set in the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and displayed among the Crown Jewels is not all it appears to be…

Wednesday October 04 - 02:30 pm
Phyllis Court

Roy Hattersley£12.50

A long and distinguished political career has given way to a life dominated by writing for the former deputy leader of the Labour Party. Now, Lord Hattersley turns his attention to the Catholic Church in Britain. The book traces its history from the Reformation, focusing on the lives of Catholics who faced prosecution and persecution but helped the church to survive because of their refusal to compromise. Hear from one of our greatest speakers.

Wednesday October 04 - 04:30 pm
Phyllis Court

Jamie Blackett£6

Michael Kidson was the Mr Chips of Eton. He had it all: a passion for history, a brilliant didactic style, a silly walk, a smelly spaniel, breath-taking rudeness, eccentric mannerisms and, above all, a deep empathy, loyalty and dedication towards his boys. Solidier-turned farmer Jamie was one of them, as was David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Matthew Pinsent, Dominic West and Festival speaker Charles Spencer, to name but a few…Join him as he discusses The Enigma of Kidson.
We are holding this event in memory of Festival supporter, Pam Beggin

Wednesday October 04 - 06:30 pm
Town Hall

Anne De Courcy: The Husband Hunters£12.50

After the success of The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj, Anne returns to talk about the invasion of American women to England during the 1870s to the early 1900s, in search of husbands of wealth, privilege, influence and breeding. Dozens of American heiresses married into the British peerage bringing their own wealth, glamour and sophistication to provide a rich seam of tales of romance and power. Sponsored by Handelsbanken

Thursday October 05 - 04:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Francelle Bradford White£6

Francelle was six when she first learned about her mother’s exploits in World War II. Now, the proud daughter tells the story of the mother whose bravery earned her the the Medaille de la Resistance, the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d’Honneur. Andrée Griotteray was only 19 years-old when the Germans invaded France but, during the four years of Occupation, she constantly risked her life to help the Resistance.

Friday October 06 - 10:30 am
Town Hall

Janet Todd: The Secret Life of Aphra Behn£6

Aphra Behn was the first woman to earn her living as a professional writer. But surprisingly little is known of the remarkable and intriguing background of the woman whose tomb lies in Westminster Abbey. An internationally renowned scholar of early woman writers, Janet now tells Aphra’s story: that of a playwright, poet, novelist and spy for Charles II. Lauded by Virginia Woolf, her 48 years were lived to the full.

Friday October 06 - 12:30 pm
Town Hall

Peter Stanford: Martin Luther£8

500 years ago, Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses to the door of his local church in Wittenberg, calling for the Catholic Church to reform itself; over time, his bold action provoked religious and political upheaval across Europe. With his keen journalistic eye, biographer Peter looks back on the life and impact of this extraordinary churchman from within his Catholic context.

Friday October 06 - 12:30 pm
Town Hall

Jerry Brotton: This Orient Isle£6

When Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope in 1570, it was the beginning of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world not experienced again until the modern day. Respected historian Jerry shows that our relations with the Muslim world were previously far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have ever appreciated.

Friday October 06 - 02:30 pm
Town Hall

AC Grayling£12.50

One of our foremost philosophers looks at why the institutions of democracy seem unable to sustain themselves against the forces they were designed to manage. Prompted by recent events in Britain and around the world, in Democracy and Its Crisis he looks at five moments in history in which the challenges we face today were first encountered, how they were overcome – or not – and with what consequences.
Sponsored by HW Fisher

THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Friday October 06 - 02:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Nick Lloyd: Passchendaele£8

It was one of the worst battles in history. Between July and November 1917, more than 500,000 men were killed or maimed among the splintered trees, water-filled craters and muddy shell-holes of the rural Belgian village of Passchendaele. Nick – reader in Defence Studies at King’s College London – looks at how, even though the offensive was called off, the Allies were nearer to a major turning point in the war than we have ever imagined.

Friday October 06 - 04:30 pm
Town Hall

Philippe Sands: In Conversation With John Howell£6

Please note the new date for this event, changed from Thursday October 5 as in the printed programme

An invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukraine set international human rights lawyer Philippe on the trail of his family’s secret history – one that eventually led him halfway across the world, into the Nuremberg trials and incredible acts of wartime bravery. A very personal story, East West Street won the prestigious Baillie Gifford Prize for the best non-fiction writing in the English language. Here, Philippe is joined in conversation with Henley’s MP, John Howell.

Friday October 06 - 04:30 pm
Town Hall

Simon Heffer£8

The well-known journalist, author and political commentator returns to talk about his latest historical book taking us from 1880, four years into the reign of Queen Victoria and the election of Gladstone’s second government, though to the start of the First World War. It was a fascinating era rightly seen as an age of decadence but one that was to change Britain irrevocably.
Sponsored by HW Fisher

Friday October 06 - 08:30 pm
Town Hall

The Countess of Carnarvon: At home at Highclere£12.50

Downton Abbey made us all envious of Highclere Castle, where Lady Carnarvon has the good fortune to live. Her love of Highclere’s history has inspired her to tell the story four real-life weekends between 1866 and 1936, when the great and the good gathered at Highclere with dramatic results. An insight into a very different world, and a chance to hear how she entertains ‘At Home’ today.
Sponsored by Hotel du Vin

Saturday October 07 - 01:00 pm
Phyllis Court

John Higgs: Watling Street£6

To explore iconic Watling Street is to explore our history. Stretching from Dover to Anglesey, it dates back to the Dark Ages – to when our island was called Albion – and on its way traces a colourful and eerie history through Chaucer, Dickens and James Bond. Pass where Boudicca met her end, codes were broken at Bletchley Park and the Battle of Bosworth was fought. Described as “a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives, hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, which can change the way we see the world”, we can have no better guide than John.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Saturday October 07 - 01:00 pm
Town Hall

Shrabani Basu: Victoria and Abdul£8

The upcoming film, Victoria and Abdul – which stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria – is based on Shrabani’s poignant story of a young Indian muslim who comes to England to wait on tables at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. He becomes an unlikely confidant to a Victoria devastated by the death of John Brown. Discover a moving, unlikely-but-true story uncovered by journalist Shrabani.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Saturday October 07 - 03:00 pm
Town Hall

Fergal Keane – Wounds: A Memoir of Love and War£8

As an award-winning BBC News correspondent Fergal has reported on war and tragedy around the world, including in Northern Ireland, South Africa and the Balkans. Now, he tells a family story of a murder, blood and betrayal that tore an Irish town apart. The killing of a British soldier happened outside his grandmother’s house. How do you relate the kindly men and women of your childhood with the deeds made public long years after they died?

Saturday October 07 - 05:00 pm
Town Hall

A N Wilson: Charles Darwin£12.50

After taking on figures as varied as Jesus, Tolstoy and the Queen, a popular Festival author returns to cast his expert eye on Charles Darwin. He is both sympathetic and critical about Darwin – a naturalist of genius, a patient and precise collector who greatly expanded our knowledge of the world. But was his 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed? Wilson brings us closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and his place in the Victorian age.

Monday October 02 - 10/02/2017 02:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Melvyn Bragg: The Most Dangerous Man in England£12.50

William Tyndale was known as the most dangerous man in Tudor England. He was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English, with a legacy still felt today. Melvyn, respected writer, broadcaster and regular Henley guest, tells the dramatic story of his mission to make the Bible, in English rather Latin, available to every man and woman, knowing he could faced a death sentence – and asks what inspired him?
Sponsored by Phyllis Court Club

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Monday October 02 - 10/02/2017 04:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Richard Dannatt£12.50

The 70 years between the German surrender in 1945 and British troops leaving their garrison on Lüneberg Heath in 2015 was a period of remarkable change in the army. Lord Dannatt, who headed the British Army as Chief of the General Staff and went on to advise David Cameron on defence, charts the changes from 1945 when Britain was a leading military nation with some two million troops to now, with fewer than 82,000.
Sponsored by Simmons & Sons

Tuesday October 03 - 10/03/2017 06:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Simon Thurley: Houses of Power£10

What was it like to live as a royal Tudor? Why were their residences built as they were and what went on inside their walls? Who slept where – and with who? Who chose the furnishings? And what were their passions? Who better to answer these questions than former Historic Royal Palaces curator, English Heritage chief executive and architectural historian Simon as he looks at the great homes of Tudor England with Houses of Power.

Tuesday October 03 - 10/03/2017 04:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

AC Grayling£12.50

One of our foremost philosophers looks at why the institutions of democracy seem unable to sustain themselves against the forces they were designed to manage. Prompted by recent events in Britain and around the world, in Democracy and Its Crisis he looks at five moments in history in which the challenges we face today were first encountered, how they were overcome – or not – and with what consequences.
Sponsored by HW Fisher

THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Friday October 06 - 10/06/2017 02:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Anne De Courcy: The Husband Hunters£12.50

After the success of The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj, Anne returns to talk about the invasion of American women to England during the 1870s to the early 1900s, in search of husbands of wealth, privilege, influence and breeding. Dozens of American heiresses married into the British peerage bringing their own wealth, glamour and sophistication to provide a rich seam of tales of romance and power. Sponsored by Handelsbanken

Thursday October 05 - 10/05/2017 04:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Richard Ingrams£12.50

The Private Eye founder and former Oldie editor returns to Henley to discuss his long career and his acclaimed Ludo and the Power of the Book. Richard first met Ludovic Kennedy in 1963 and they soon became friends, with a shared delight in exposing the fallible nature of the British justice system. The journalist and broadcaster had a lifelong obsession with miscarriages of justice, re-examined the murder convictions of Timothy Evans and Derek Bentley among others, and was hugely influential in the abolition of the death penalty.

Tuesday October 03 - 10/03/2017 02:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Charles Spencer: To Catch a King£12.50

Earl Spencer returns to talk about his latest book – a sequel to Killers of the King which he discussed at a sell-out Henley event in 2014 – which traces the story of Charles II from his father’s execution in 1649 to his becoming King of England in 1660. It is an extraordinary tale of twists and turns where the future king survives against all odds to succeed to the throne. A longtime correspondent for NBC, Earl Spencer has also presented on the History Channel.

Tuesday October 03 - 10/03/2017 12:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Peter Snow and Ann Macmillan: War Stories£12.50

BBC and ITV news presenter turned respected historian, Peter has previously appeared at Henley alongside his son Dan. This year, he is joined by his wife – longtime CBC correspondent Ann – to talk about War Stories:their moving account of 34 ordinary men and women, swept up in war, who pushed the boundaries of love, bravery and suffering. Their tales span four centuries, from Edward Seagar who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade and Magdalene de Lancey who tenderly nursed her dying husband at Waterloo to Second World War spy Krystyna Skarbe.
Sponsored by James Cowper Kreston

Monday October 02 - 10/02/2017 12:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

Sophy Ridge: The Women Who Shaped Politics£10

We have our second female Prime Minister but the road to power for women as politicians has been long and fraught. The presenter of Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday tells the story of those who put their lives on the line for equal rights and those who were the first to set foot inside Westminster. With exclusive interviews with Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Betty Boothroyd, Theresa May and more, she asks: what is it like to be a woman in politics today?
Sponsored by Phyllis Court Club

Monday October 02 - 10/02/2017 06:30 pm
Kenton Theatre

The Countess of Carnarvon: At home at Highclere£12.50

Downton Abbey made us all envious of Highclere Castle, where Lady Carnarvon has the good fortune to live. Her love of Highclere’s history has inspired her to tell the story four real-life weekends between 1866 and 1936, when the great and the good gathered at Highclere with dramatic results. An insight into a very different world, and a chance to hear how she entertains ‘At Home’ today.
Sponsored by Hotel du Vin

Saturday October 07 - 10/07/2017 01:00 pm
Phyllis Court

Anita Anand: The World’s Most Infamous Diamond£10

The stories surrounding the celebrated Kohinoor diamond are the stuff of legend. BBC radio and TV presenter Anita reveals the true story of the diamond – also known as The Mountain of Light – as it moved from the Mughal court to Persia to Afghanistan, to Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s durbar in Punjab. Handed over in 1849 to Queen Victoria, the ‘official’ history of the diamond set in the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and displayed among the Crown Jewels is not all it appears to be…

Wednesday October 04 - 10/04/2017 02:30 pm
Phyllis Court

Chris Skidmore: Richard III£10

Richard III only reigned for two tumultuous years before treachery led to his death at the Battle of Bosworth. Chris – an acclaimed historian as well as Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office and Conservative MP for Kingswood – goes behind the legend to discover every facet of the personality of one of the most significant figures in medieval history. The brutality and power struggles of a bloody age are brought to life.

Wednesday October 04 - 10/04/2017 12:30 pm
Phyllis Court

Roy Hattersley£12.50

A long and distinguished political career has given way to a life dominated by writing for the former deputy leader of the Labour Party. Now, Lord Hattersley turns his attention to the Catholic Church in Britain. The book traces its history from the Reformation, focusing on the lives of Catholics who faced prosecution and persecution but helped the church to survive because of their refusal to compromise. Hear from one of our greatest speakers.

Wednesday October 04 - 10/04/2017 04:30 pm
Phyllis Court

Rebecca Fraser: The Mayflower on the Thames£10

Cruise down the Thames listening to historian and broadcaster Rebecca recount the epic journey of the Mayflower and how the family of Edward Winslow, an apprentice printer from Worcestershire, set off for a life of religious freedom and opportunity. It was a new life – but not without its struggles and dangers before, eventually, survival.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Tuesday October 03 - 10/03/2017 02:30 pm
The Hibernia

Patrick Bishop: The History of the RAF£8

The Royal Air Force celebrates its centenary next year and Air Force Blue sees one of our most respected writers on the armed forces explores the lives and wartime experience of thousands of men and women. Patrick, author of Fighter Boys and Bomber Boy , creates a compelling picture of the wartime RAF, whether wheeling over Kent in a Spitfire, rumbling towards the Ruhr in a Halifax or looking down from the cockpit of a Liberator at the grey waters of the North Atlantic.

Monday October 02 - 10/02/2017 08:30 pm
Town Hall

Francelle Bradford White£6

Francelle was six when she first learned about her mother’s exploits in World War II. Now, the proud daughter tells the story of the mother whose bravery earned her the the Medaille de la Resistance, the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d’Honneur. Andrée Griotteray was only 19 years-old when the Germans invaded France but, during the four years of Occupation, she constantly risked her life to help the Resistance.

Friday October 06 - 10/06/2017 10:30 am
Town Hall

Nick Lloyd: Passchendaele£8

It was one of the worst battles in history. Between July and November 1917, more than 500,000 men were killed or maimed among the splintered trees, water-filled craters and muddy shell-holes of the rural Belgian village of Passchendaele. Nick – reader in Defence Studies at King’s College London – looks at how, even though the offensive was called off, the Allies were nearer to a major turning point in the war than we have ever imagined.

Friday October 06 - 10/06/2017 04:30 pm
Town Hall

Jamie Blackett£6

Michael Kidson was the Mr Chips of Eton. He had it all: a passion for history, a brilliant didactic style, a silly walk, a smelly spaniel, breath-taking rudeness, eccentric mannerisms and, above all, a deep empathy, loyalty and dedication towards his boys. Solidier-turned farmer Jamie was one of them, as was David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Matthew Pinsent, Dominic West and Festival speaker Charles Spencer, to name but a few…Join him as he discusses The Enigma of Kidson.
We are holding this event in memory of Festival supporter, Pam Beggin

Wednesday October 04 - 10/04/2017 06:30 pm
Town Hall

Jerry Brotton: This Orient Isle£6

When Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope in 1570, it was the beginning of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world not experienced again until the modern day. Respected historian Jerry shows that our relations with the Muslim world were previously far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have ever appreciated.

Friday October 06 - 10/06/2017 02:30 pm
Town Hall

Peter Conradi: Who Lost Russia?£8

During Peter’s six years as foreign correspondent in Moscow, he saw at first-hand the collapse of the USSR in 1991. But instead of the hoped-for peace and co-operation a new Cold War threatens to turn hot once again, with the country making headlines on a daily basis. The Sunday Times foreign editor – whose book The King’s Speech inspired the Oscar-winning film – addresses the failures of understanding on both sides over the past 25 years, and how he hopes we can get relations back on track before it’s too late.
Sponsored by HW Fisher

Monday October 02 - 10/02/2017 04:30 pm
Town Hall

Janet Todd: The Secret Life of Aphra Behn£6

Aphra Behn was the first woman to earn her living as a professional writer. But surprisingly little is known of the remarkable and intriguing background of the woman whose tomb lies in Westminster Abbey. An internationally renowned scholar of early woman writers, Janet now tells Aphra’s story: that of a playwright, poet, novelist and spy for Charles II. Lauded by Virginia Woolf, her 48 years were lived to the full.

Friday October 06 - 10/06/2017 12:30 pm
Town Hall

Paula Byrne: The Genius of Jane Austen£8

There is no better person to look back at the life of Jane Austen 200 years after her death than Paula. With a focus on Austen’s love of farce and comic theatre – and, in turn, the fascination her works still hold for film, theatre and TV in the present day – Paula’s account is a fitting tribute to a writer who remains one of the world’s most popular authors. Enjoy listening to a highly respected expert as she takes us through Jane’s life, which ended when she was just 41 years-old and which included a brief spell at school in Reading.

Monday October 02 - 10/02/2017 12:30 pm
Town Hall

Shrabani Basu: Victoria and Abdul£8

The upcoming film, Victoria and Abdul – which stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria – is based on Shrabani’s poignant story of a young Indian muslim who comes to England to wait on tables at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. He becomes an unlikely confidant to a Victoria devastated by the death of John Brown. Discover a moving, unlikely-but-true story uncovered by journalist Shrabani.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Saturday October 07 - 10/07/2017 03:00 pm
Town Hall

Fergal Keane – Wounds: A Memoir of Love and War£8

As an award-winning BBC News correspondent Fergal has reported on war and tragedy around the world, including in Northern Ireland, South Africa and the Balkans. Now, he tells a family story of a murder, blood and betrayal that tore an Irish town apart. The killing of a British soldier happened outside his grandmother’s house. How do you relate the kindly men and women of your childhood with the deeds made public long years after they died?

Saturday October 07 - 10/07/2017 05:00 pm
Town Hall

Simon Heffer£8

The well-known journalist, author and political commentator returns to talk about his latest historical book taking us from 1880, four years into the reign of Queen Victoria and the election of Gladstone’s second government, though to the start of the First World War. It was a fascinating era rightly seen as an age of decadence but one that was to change Britain irrevocably.
Sponsored by HW Fisher

Friday October 06 - 10/06/2017 08:30 pm
Town Hall

Peter Stanford: Martin Luther£8

500 years ago, Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses to the door of his local church in Wittenberg, calling for the Catholic Church to reform itself; over time, his bold action provoked religious and political upheaval across Europe. With his keen journalistic eye, biographer Peter looks back on the life and impact of this extraordinary churchman from within his Catholic context.

Friday October 06 - 10/06/2017 12:30 pm
Town Hall

Philippe Sands: In Conversation With John Howell£6

Please note the new date for this event, changed from Thursday October 5 as in the printed programme

An invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukraine set international human rights lawyer Philippe on the trail of his family’s secret history – one that eventually led him halfway across the world, into the Nuremberg trials and incredible acts of wartime bravery. A very personal story, East West Street won the prestigious Baillie Gifford Prize for the best non-fiction writing in the English language. Here, Philippe is joined in conversation with Henley’s MP, John Howell.

Friday October 06 - 10/06/2017 04:30 pm
Town Hall

Mihir Bose-Silver: The Spy Who Fooled The Nazis£6

If you like twilight worlds inhabited by spies, then former BBC sports editor and Telegraph journalist Mihir will captivate you with his tale of the only quintuple spy of the Second World War. A Hindu from the North-West Frontier province of India, Bhagat Ram Talwar (codename: Silver) spied for the Italians, Germans, Japanese, Soviets and the British – where his secret services handler was Peter Fleming. The Germans awarded him the Iron Cross, but Silver deceived the Nazis on behalf of the Soviets and the British.
Sponsored by Head Partnership Solicitors

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Monday October 02 - 10/02/2017 10:30 am
Town Hall

John Higgs: Watling Street£6

To explore iconic Watling Street is to explore our history. Stretching from Dover to Anglesey, it dates back to the Dark Ages – to when our island was called Albion – and on its way traces a colourful and eerie history through Chaucer, Dickens and James Bond. Pass where Boudicca met her end, codes were broken at Bletchley Park and the Battle of Bosworth was fought. Described as “a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives, hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, which can change the way we see the world”, we can have no better guide than John.

UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE IF YOU WISH TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST.

Saturday October 07 - 10/07/2017 01:00 pm
Town Hall

Tom Fort: The Village News£8

Before towns and cities and suburbs spring up, there were villages – and for 6,000 years, they have been at the very heart of English life. Modernity may creep up to the boundaries of many, while others can be as quiet as the graveyard as their housing is bought up by city ‘weekenders’. Included is the bustling village of Sonning Common, where Tom lives himself. He has cycled the length and breadth of England to discover the essence of village life. His tales are by turn funny, poignant and informative.

Tuesday October 03 - 10/03/2017 08:30 pm
Town Hall

Peter Stothard: Four Men and Margaret Thatcher£8

A year after the death of Margaret Thatcher, a young historian arrived to ask Peter – former editor of The Times – some sharp questions about his memories of her tenure at Number Ten. It prompted a literary journey for Peter, back to four prominent men of the day – property developer David Hart, Spectator editor Frank Johnson, ‘The lady’s not for turning’ speechwriter Ronnie Miller and Woodrow Wyatt – named ‘The Senecans’. Let Peter explain his critically admired personal picture of our recent history.

Tuesday October 03 - 10/03/2017 10:30 am
Town Hall